LSU Football: Can LSU Still Win Without Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon?

John BainCorrespondent IIOctober 20, 2011

Tyrann Mathieu celebrates during the Tigers big win over Tennessee a week ago
Tyrann Mathieu celebrates during the Tigers big win over Tennessee a week agoKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This week’s matchup between the LSU Tigers and Auburn Tigers just got a whole lot more interesting.

With the reports that the Tigers from LSU have suspended superstar cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, defensive back Tharold Simon, and running back Spencer Ware from its game lineup due to failing the teams drug policy, the Auburn Tigers now have a real shot at making this game close.

LSU's defensive and team leader in Tyrann Mathieu is now gone for the game, and Tharold Simon has put up solid numbers in the defensive backfield all season. The loss of these two players is a huge shot to the nations No. 7 defense.

With Mathieu out of the lineup it is expected that Ron Brooks will replace him. Brooks, a senior out of Irving, Texas, has seen limited game action all season.

For Auburn quarterback Clint Moseley, who is making his first ever start, this could be a huge blessing. Gone is the threat of every ball thrown in Mathieu's direction getting knocked down, popped out, or turned over, as Brooks will be in the corner all game.

Auburn's passing game has every opportunity to take advantage of the loss of Mathieu and heavily-used reserve DB Tharold Simon on Saturday, but the talent on Auburn's side may not be there.

The LSU Tigers' sixth-ranked rush defense will be put to the test when Auburn preseason Heisman-hopeful running back Michael Dyer takes a lot of touches from scrimmage on Saturday. LSU's defense allows just 75 yards on the ground a game, but Dyer brings 750 total yards and eight touchdowns to Auburn's arsenal. It will be a good test for LSU prior to their game against Alabama and Trent Richardson in a couple of weeks.

The LSU defense shouldn't struggle too much as their depth has everyone involved in almost every game and asides from the hole created by Mathieu, they have players that can chip in and help out.

Let's not forget the likes of Morris Claiborne, Eric Reid, Michael Brockers and all of the other defensive standouts on LSU's roster. Les Miles and John Chavis' defense should do just fine in limiting Auburn's offense, and if they struggle, the LSU offense shouldn't have too much trouble with the nations 60th ranked scoring defense at this point in the season.