lsuflorida.100817 HS 560.JPG

Florida running back Malik Davis (20) is sandwiched by LSU linebacker Arden Key (49), LSU safety Grant Delpit (9) and LSU linebacker Devin White (40), Saturday, October 7, 2017, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK


Football is still a simple game at its core, and Saturday's game simply comes down to this: If LSU can’t slow down Auburn’s rushing attack, it won’t win. Auburn and Kerryon Johnson have averaged 5.8 yards per carry the past three games, while LSU has allowed 4.9 yards per attempt the past four. Having DE Frank Herron return to the LSU rotation will be a huge help, but it will take more than that.


LSU and Auburn average 3.33 and 2.5 sacks per game, respectively, second and third in the SEC. LSU has allowed only eight sacks in 5 games despite injuries forcing freshmen into key roles. Auburn, meanwhile, has allowed 19 sacks in six games, last in the SEC (3.17 per game). Putting QB Jarrett Stidham on the ground, and creating negative plays in general, is another must for LSU. Can the real Arden Key come out and play?


The run-pass option, or RPO, is all the rage in college football and a staple of Auburn’s offense. LSU, we assume, will continue to employ the full array of Matt Canada’s misdirection and shifts. It won’t work every time against Auburn’s excellent defense. But if LSU can be patient and turn Auburn’s defensive aggressiveness into busts and breakdowns as it did at Florida, that would go a long way to springing an upset.


No, this isn’t a call for LSU players to hit their Auburn counterparts below the belt. But LSU needs this to be a messy game, and that means turnovers. LSU didn’t have or cause any turnovers in its win at Florida, and for the season it is plus-1 in turnover margin (six gained, five lost). Auburn is at minus-1 (nine turnovers gained, 10 lost). Getting the visiting Tigers to cough up multiple turnovers is key.

Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.​