BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As sixth-ranked LSU prepares for it Southeastern Conference opener, it hardly seems to matter that its opponent, Auburn, was one of the worst teams in the conference last year.
Both Auburn and LSU are unbeaten heading into Saturday night's clash in Death Valley.
Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC) has a new head coach in former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, and is gaining confidence in new quarterback Nick Marshall after he led a late game-winning drive against Mississippi State last weekend.
Auburn tight end T.J. Uzomah calls his team's first road game of the season at LSU (3-0, 0-0) "a huge measuring stick."
LSU receiver Odell Beckham Jr. says Auburn will come in fired up, and that LSU needs to "get on top of them early and just never slow down."
Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC) at No.6 LSU (3-0, 0-0), 7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: LSU by 17 1/2.
Series record: LSU 26-20-1
WHAT'S AT STAKE
LSU aims to keep moving up the rankings while opening its tough league slate with a victory, while Auburn looks to extend its surprising unbeaten start under new head coach Gus Malzahn and break into the Top 25 with a road victory that would make a major statement for a rebuilding program.
Auburn's improving first-year starting quarterback Nick Marshall against LSU's talented but inexperienced defense. Marshall, a dual threat who began his college career as a cornerback at Georgia, passed for 339 yards in a 24-20 victory over Mississippi State last week. He capped the performance with a game-winning touchdown pass with 10 seconds left. LSU's defense has fielded eight freshmen so far, but ranks third in the SEC in total defense, allowing 267.7 yards per game, and only 157 yards through the air.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Auburn: RB Tre Mason, an effective receiver out of the backfield who also returns kicks, is averaging 135.7 all-purpose yards per game.
LSU: QB Zach Mettenberger is on an early pace to have one of the best seasons ever by an LSU quarterback. He is the first in school history to pass for nine TDS in the first three games while eclipsing the 250-yard mark in each game.
FACTS & FIGURES
When these two teams — both called the Tigers — have played in Baton Rouge, LSU leads the series 15-5-1. .... LSU has won each of its first three games by double digits and has not trailed. ... Auburn has won 16 of its last 17 SEC road openers. ... LSU has lost only two Saturday night home games since coach Les Miles took over in 2005. Both losses came against No. 1 teams: Florida in 2009 and Alabama in 2012. ... LSU has appeared in 68 straight AP Top 25 polls, the second longest streak nationally, behind only Auburn's archrival, Alabama. ... Auburn has not allowed any opponents to score in the fourth quarter this season. ... LSU has not lost to Auburn at home since 1999.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Tre Mason rushed for 304 yards and four touchdowns, leading No. 3 Auburn to a wild 59-42 victory over No. 5 Missouri in the Southeastern Conference championship game Saturday.
Wildlife officials are ceasing efforts to rescue a pod of whales that was stranded in the Everglades after losing sight of the marine mammals. The National Park Service says aerial and boat survey teams could not locate the whales Saturday, a potentially encouraging sign that they have moved farther offshore.
WASHINGTON (AP) — As you decorate your home for Christmas, the Consumer Product Safety commission has several tips to help you avoid accidents.
Nearly seven years ago, an Orange Beach man was tortured and robbed in his own home. As of Friday night, Shaun Cassidy, 65, is behind bars for a number of charges involving minors.
According to authorities, deputies and investigators with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home on South Bay Grove Drive in Freeport around 3:30 p.m. after a 4-year-old was shot in the chest with a BB gun.
A double dose of Tigers invade Atlanta for the 2013 SEC Championship.