Game analysis: No. 6 LSU 35, Auburn 21
by Joe Medley
jmedley@annistonstar.com
Sep 21, 2013 | 2193 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham (3) pulls in a pass in front of Auburn defensive back Jonathon Mincy (6). (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham (3) pulls in a pass in front of Auburn defensive back Jonathon Mincy (6). (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
slideshow
Offense

Auburn had a promising start, running the ball up the middle and driving into LSU territory on the game’s first possession, but that opening drive ended in a bad hand-off exchange on fourth down.

Quarterback Nick Marshall later added his second turnover of the half with an overthrown ball into coverage and threw another interception in the fourth quarter. He had better moments in between, but his performance was a step back.

Running back Tre Mason was a bright spot with 132 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns.

Defense

Auburn got off to a rugged start, being gashed up the middle by LSU running back Jeremy Hill. He broke a touchdown run of 49 yards on LSU’s third play from scrimmage then went up the middle untouched for LSU’s second score, which came after a turnover.

Auburn’s defense briefly settled down, coming up with a Ryan White fumble recovery to stop one LSU scoring threat in the first quarter and opening the second half with a Jermaine Whitehead interception to set up Auburn’s first points of the night.

But Auburn let LSU answer second-half touchdowns with touchdowns of its own on drives of 75 and 81 yards.

Special teams

Auburn’s punt team got in on the Tigers’ awful start when punter Steven Clark dropped a snap after the Tigers’ second possession. LSU recovered on the Auburn 10 and scored on the next play. A driving rain no doubt played a role in Clark mishandling the snap.

Quan Bray muffed a punt in the fourth quarter, but Auburn recovered.

Coaching

Auburn’s coaching staff had a good plan to start running up the middle and work out from there against LSU’s athleticism, and it worked to produce openings in the passing game early. Marshall was just off the mark in the first half.

Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson made adjustments after LSU got off to a blazing start, but there had to be a better initial plan against a power-running LSU team. LSU just gashed Auburn up the middle.

Overall

Auburn came a long way in its first three games, but Saturday’s game in Tiger Stadium was a reminder of how far Auburn has to go after last year’s 3-9 meltdown.

One of the hallmarks of Auburn’s decline in 2011 and 2012 was clearly inferior showings against the best teams on the schedule. No. 6 LSU is the best team on Auburn’s schedule to date, and the Auburn didn’t have nearly enough for LSU.
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