Photos: LSU holds on to defeat Mississippi State 21-19 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU quarterback Brandon Harris (6) pitches out to running back Leonard Fournette (7) during the first half of the game Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 in Starkville.

THREE AND OUT

1. Defending Johnson Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson had people talking him up as a Heisman candidate this summer. It’s hard to see what the fuss was about. Johnson has thrown five interceptions in two games, tied for most in the FBS. LSU’s task will be to tempt him into bad decisions and keep Duke Williams (five catches, 62 yards) from going off.

2 Running them down If there’s one thing LSU’s offense can usually do reliably, it’s run the ball. Stopping the run isn’t something Auburn has shown it’s good at yet. Auburn has been gashed for 199.5 yards per game rushing in its first two games, while LSU piled up 266 yards in ground gains in its season opener last Saturday at Mississippi State.

3. The good Brandon LSU QBs have won 11 straight career home openers. It’s Brandon Harris’ turn. He was only 9 of 14 for 71 yards at State, but also had a 37-yard TD pass to Travin Dural wiped out by a penalty. Harris’ 64.2 completion percentage is the bright spot, a far cry from his 3 of 14 night at Auburn in 2014. Can he progress even more?

4. Confidence game LSU bolted to a big lead at Mississippi State and hung on to win. Auburn had to rally to beat Jacksonville State in OT. Both teams have reason to doubt the quality of their wins last week, making a quick strike to take a lead Saturday critical for both teams. A double-digit lead by either team could put the opposition in panic mode.

GAME STATUS

LSU

DOUBTFUL: DE Isaiah Washington (hand)

OUT: DB Jalen Mills (ankle)

Auburn

PROBABLE: RB Jovon Robinson (leg), LB Justin Garrett (quad), OL Avery Young (unspecified)

QUESTIONABLE: DE Carl Lawson (hip), S Tray Matthews (elbow), OL Jordan Diamond (back)

DOUBTFUL: CB T.J. Davis (knee)

OUT: CB Josh Holsey (knee), DL Prince Tega Wanogho Jr. (leg), DL Jauntavius Johnson (knee), QB Tyler Queen (shoulder)

STATS WORTH KNOWING

7 -- LSU’s home winning streak vs. Auburn since 2001

-3 -- Auburn’s turnover margin. LSU had no turnovers at Mississippi State.

22-6 -- LSU in Tiger Stadium day games since 2000

PREDICTIONS

Ross Dellenger: LSU 27, Auburn 17

Auburn seems to be somewhat of a mess. The Tigers from Alabama have suffered a host of defensive injuries. They nearly lost to FCS foe Jacksonville State, and they almost blew a huge lead against Louisville. Their quarterback, Jeremy Johnson, has thrown five interceptions through the first two games. LSU is no well-oiled machine, but the Tigers and their talented, speedy D do enough to make this one a sleeper by the fourth.

Sheldon Mickles: LSU 27, Auburn 19

You have to believe LSU’s narrow SEC win at Mississippi State did more for them than Auburn’s feels-like-a-loss win against Jacksonville State. With that in mind, LSU will be more ready on both sides of the ball — especially on defense. Based on what they did to Dak Prescott for 3½ quarters, they could give a struggling Jeremy Johnson fits. Also, look for Brandon Harris to bounce back from that horrid first start last year on the Plains.

Scott Rabalais: LSU 23, Auburn 20

LSU was hanging on for dear life by the end of last week’s game at Miss. State. Auburn barely showed it had a pulse against Jacksonville State. LSU wins if it keeps the pressure hot on Jeremy Johnson and tempts him into making some dangerous throws against LSU’s talented secondary. Expect the offense to pound with the run at an Auburn defense that’s shown little ability to stop it. Expect a sloppy, dramatic glorious SEC struggle.