Every game in the SEC is meaningful. This matchup between Auburn and LSU will be one of the most meaningful games all season — both in terms of standings and the future of these programs. Both teams have struggled on offense while fielding a dynamite defense. Here are five important questions that will need answers Saturday.
5. Will quarterbacks be able to settle into the game?
Yes and no. LSU seems to have found its leader in Danny Etling. The junior threw for 215 yards (one touchdown) and helped push his team past Mississippi State last weekend. On the other hand, Gus Malzahn hasn’t been entirely convincing in terms of quarterback selection. Malzahn discussed options this week, and that’s what he’ll exercise Saturday night if Auburn gets desperate for an impact.
4. Who will throw the first pick?
Etling. Auburn’s defense has come close to getting turnovers in the last couple of games. After last year’s embarrassing result, it will be even more fired up and ready to go. Etling will have Auburn players coming after him early and often, and he’ll cave first.
3. What damage will Leonard Fournette do?
Auburn’s defense will be out for revenge after Leonard Fournette embarrassed the Tigers with 228 yards, 3 TDs and a 12.0 yards per carry (that including carrying multiple Auburn players) in last season’s game. The junior amassed almost 150 yards last week, but also had some uncharacteristic turnovers. Fournette will aim for another dominant game in the battle of the Tigers.
2. Will Tray Matthews have another rough day?
Last season wasn’t easy for Tray Matthews. Earlier in fall camp, the defensive back admitted to struggling with shoulder injuries the last time these two teams met. The junior might have a hard Saturday, but it won’t be nearly as embarrassing as this game was for him last year.
1. Who wins?
LSU will win the game by a touchdown, but to do so they’ll have to limit mistakes. Protecting the football and limiting self-inflicted errors will be key. The defensive pressure will be relentless from both sides throughout the entire game and the offenses will likely be sloppy. The visiting Tigers are better suited for a victory, if they can stay mentally sharp.