LSU vs. Auburn: Keys Players to Watch in SEC Clash

Benjamin J. BlockCorrespondent IISeptember 21, 2012

LSU vs. Auburn: Keys Players to Watch in SEC Clash

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    The 3-0 LSU Tigers roll into Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday night to take on the 1-2 Auburn Tigers, and there will be a few players to keep an eye on in this SEC grudge match.  

    Anytime these two schools meet, it's a big deal.  With LSU coming in undefeated and Auburn struggling, their is a little extra edge to this one.

    Lets take a closer look at some of the storylines and key players to watch for in this game. 

J.C. Copeland

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    Junior fullback J.C. Copeland is a big player to watch Saturday night, literally and figuratively.

    In spite of his meager success running the ball this season, Copeland may have unknowingly given the Auburn tigers all the motivation they need to win on Saturday and turn their season around.

    You man remember his comments after last season's 45-10 drubbing LSU gave Auburn. Via The Montgomery Advertiser:

    “After the first couple of hits, everybody (on Auburn’s defense) was just backing up. They didn’t want to hit at all. (…) Before I got to them, they just fell down and just laid on the ground,” Copeland said. “I actually said, ‘C’mon man, you’re better than that. C’mon, hit me.’ That was like the only game I went home and had no nicks and bruises at all.”

    Copeland's words from last year could prove to be costly on Saturday night, especially since Auburn is struggling and looking for a spark.  

Kiehl Frazier

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    The sophomore quarterback for Auburn is starting to come into his own, and a lot of people will be expecting him to come up big against the SEC rival Tigers.

    Frazier has his Tigers ranked at No. 95 in the nation with 1,008 yards of total offense in three games.

    LSU is ranked No. 25 with 1,417 total yards through their three dominant wins.

    Even more glaring, Frazier has led Auburn to a measly 60 total points coming into Saturday, and that doesn't hold a candle to LSU's 145 total points.

    Frazier will have to step up and take calculated risks all night long because we all know that LSU is going to put up points in this game.

    Ultimately, Auburn will go as far as Frazier takes them.

Onterio McCalebb and Tre Mason

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    Keep a close eye on the production that running backs Onterio McCalebb and Tre Mason give Auburn.

    The Tigers continue to use their running-back-by-committee method.

    Last week, Auburn needed every inch of McCalebb's 128 yards and Mason's 90 yards to escape Louisiana-Monroe with a win.

    Louisiana-Monroe is no LSU, so McCalebb and Mason better lace up their running shoes for Saturday night.

    These two young men are a paramount piece in Auburn's offense, and they need to play the game of their lives in order for the home Tigers to win.

Kenny Hilliard

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    Backup running back Kenny Hilliard for LSU is a no-brainer player to watch in this game.

    With Alfred Blue out Saturday, Hilliard isn't worried and LSU Fans shouldn't be either.

    Hilliard is averaging an astonishing 8.2 yards per rush with 303 yards total, and six touchdowns to boot.

    With an Auburn defense allowing an average of 27.3 points per game, Hilliard should be able to exploit them and find the open field often.

Zach Mettenberger

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    Zach Mettenberger is at the helm of an LSU offense that has just dominated in it's first three games this year.

    His completion percentage has been above 65 percent in all three victories, and he's made some good decisions. 

    Having such a balanced running game has aided him in finding open targets.

    Auburn however, is a totally different animal than North Texas, Washington and Idaho.

    It will interesting to see how Mettenberger does against an SEC rival and a raucous Jordan-Hare crowd on Saturday. 

Tharold Simon

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    Someone who is not being talked about, but who needs to play big is Tharold Simon.

    After Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the team, and Morris Claiborne left for the NFL, junior cornerback Simon is now the veteran of an inexperienced LSU secondary.

    Simon flew around making four solo tackles against Idaho last week, and he will have to continue to have that kind of aggression against Auburn.

    A lot of responsibility falls on Simon to communicate with the LSU secondary, and to keep Auburn and its capacity crowd out of the game.