AUBURN, Ala. — It would be hard to get more motivation out of a past result than what Auburn has with LSU, its upcoming opponent.
Last year, LSU running back Leonard Fournette took over the Heisman Trophy discussion with a 228-yard, 3-touchdown romp over the Auburn defense. Auburn’s offense was shut out in the first half and inconsistent throughout the 45-21 loss in Baton Rouge.
Auburn players on both sides of the ball should presumably be fired up for revenge against LSU this Saturday evening. But Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn is trying to temper that talk as his team prepares for a visit from Les Miles’ Tigers.
“Last year, they got the best of us, there’s no doubt about it,” Malzahn said Wednesday on the SEC coaches teleconference. “But it’s a different year. It’s a big game … each year is different.”
Malzahn said he would rather Auburn players look back at last year’s lopsided loss inside Tiger Stadium for teachable moments more than extra motivation.
“Every game that you play, if you play a conference opponent, there’s times that you’ll reflect back to years before and things like that you can learn from,” Malzahn said. “But usually it’s from a learning standpoint.”
While some Auburn players said they had this matchup with LSU circled ahead of time after what happened in 2015, the message of looking back for correction is resonating throughout the roster.
“The thing I really remember is the feeling [from the game],” senior defensive tackle Montravius Adams said Sunday. “I don’t remember the score, but I know that it was a bad score. I just remember the feeling, really … Just the feeling of going back and watching the film and it’s just like, we could’ve done better. Like, we just didn’t perform to the best of our ability.”
Last year, LSU put up a total of 411 rushing yards on the Tigers last season, surrendering more than 8.5 yards per carry. Auburn generated only 260 yards of total offense against LSU in that game, turned the ball over twice and had six different drives of five plays or fewer.
Both of those areas stick out to Malzahn as key areas of correction heading into the Saturday evening rematch inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“We’re going to have to tackle well. We’re going to have to gang tackle,” Malzahn said. “Offensively, we’re going to have to score points.”