Auburn Football 2010: A Deeper Look Into the LSU Game

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Auburn Football 2010: A Deeper Look Into the LSU Game
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Every fan knows LSU is playing Auburn this week; they also know that Auburn has a very good offense and a bad defense, while LSU has a very bad offense and excellent defense.

As with every game, statistics are only as good as the interpretation.

Here is a comparison of where each team is ranked on the surface:

Statistic

Auburn National Rank

LSU National Rank

Total Offense

9

92

Total Defense

63

3

Scoring Offense

6

70

Scoring Defense

63

11

 

While this all looks exactly like the pundits have been preaching, there is a lot more to this tale. One would wonder if the bad ranking of the LSU offense had anything to do with the defenses they have faced so far.

How comparable are the schedules the two teams have faced so far?

National Ranking for LSU Opponents 2010 Season

Opponent

Rushing Defense

Passing Defense

Rushing Offense

Passing  Offense

North Carolina

69

22

86

35

Vanderbilt

97

31

60

101

Mississippi State

30

66

21

88

West Virginia

4

11

66

57

Tennessee

67

81

94

71

Florida

42

16

75

84

McNeese State

33*

89*

81*

46*

Average Rank

48

45

69

68

* FCS Opponent

National Ranking for Auburn Opponents 2010 Season

Opponent

Rushing Defense

Passing Defense

Rushing Offense

Passing  Offense

Arkansas State

112

105

81

26

Mississippi State

30

66

21

88

Clemson

55

67

47

89

South Carolina

14

110

69

40

La. Monroe

71

90

105

56

Kentucky

87

29

51

25

Arkansas

83

12

96

2

Average

65

68

67

47

 

Auburn has faced much more formidable passing offenses and their average opponent is ranked 20 slots higher in passing offense.

The two teams have faced similar schedules in rushing offense.

LSU has faced a much more formidable defensive schedule than Auburn, with their average opponent averaging 20 slots higher than Auburn.

These factors would certainly need to be figured into the equation when considering Auburn’s poor pass defense and LSU’s poor offensive performance.

To break down the analysis to an even higher degree, we need to look at the toughest opponents faced.

LSU’s Toughest Competition (Top Three Opponents in Each Category)

Rushing Defense

Pass Defense

Rushing Offense

Passing Offense

4

11

21

35

30

16

60

57

42

22

66

68

Average

Average

Average

Average

25

16

49

53

Auburn 

Auburn 

Auburn 

Auburn 

15

108

6

76

 

Auburn will be much tougher competition on rushing defense than LSU is accustomed to facing. They have faced one opponent that is ranked higher in this category and rushed for 150 yards.

Auburn will not be as difficult to pass on as LSU is accustomed to. It is very likely they will pass more in this game.

The best rushing offense the Bengal Tigers have faced so far put up 152 yards rushing; Auburn is much better at rushing than any opponent LSU has faced.

The rushing quarterback in that game averaged 6.6 yards per carry.

The Auburn passing offense is about as productive as LSU is accustomed to; this will be, by far, the highest rated offense in pass efficiency that LSU has faced.

LSU has eight interceptions on the year, but most of them were accumulated in one game where they had five interceptions; they have also gained eight fumbles on the season.

Auburn has given up five fumbles and five interceptions in seven games.

Auburn’s Toughest Competition (Top Three Opponents in Each Category)

Rushing Defense

Pass Defense

Rushing Offense

Passing Offense

30

29

21

26

14

12

47

25

55

66

51

2

Average

Average

Average

Average

33

36

40

18

LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

6

8

33

113

 

LSU will be much tougher in rushing defense than Auburn is accustomed to facing. They will be the highest ranked rushing defense Auburn has faced this year.

Auburn put up 334 yards of rushing on the highest-ranked rushing defense they have faced.

LSU is some better at passing defense than Auburn is accustomed to facing. They were 10-of-15 for 140 yards against the next highest ranked opponent.

LSU has given up nine fumbles and eight interceptions this year. Auburn has forced eight fumbles and five interceptions.

What To Expect

LSU has a very good, physical front seven on defense. They are good at stopping the inside and perimeter rushing attack, but have been vulnerable to a rushing quarterback. It is unlikely this will change in this game.

Auburn has been soft on short pass coverage and LSU will take advantage of this in this game. The Auburn front seven will likely shut down the LSU rushing offense inside and on the perimeter.

Auburn has not been vulnerable to rushing quarterbacks.

LSU will likely use the short passing attack with screens and slants to attempt to take advantage of the soft pass coverage of Auburn. This will be somewhat effective, but have limited success.

LSU has not proved to be consistent in the execution of these plays. They will move the football, but will also likely face several three and outs in the game.

LSU converts on third down about 40 percent of the time. They will have about 10 possessions in this game and will likely score on between two and five possessions.

Auburn’s offense will be quite difficult for LSU to adjust to. It is likely they will have some success on the ground and in the air with the short passing game; LSU has also been caught cheating up in the defensive backfield on occasion and their blitz packages make them vulnerable to the big play at times.

Auburn is quite good at exploiting blitz packages for big plays. Do not expect LSU to blitz as much in this game. They will play patient, position-oriented defense on Auburn and try to force the pass.

Auburn converts on 46 percent of their third downs. They will have about 10 possessions in this game. Auburn will score between three and five possessions in this game.

Unless there are some scores from special teams or defensive turnovers, Auburn should win this game.

Auburn has orchestrated 34 scoring drives this year while LSU has only 19.

LSU also has a higher incidence of coming away with just a field goal from long range.

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