LSU goes into the Alabama game which is ranked # 5 with a 7-1 overall mark and a 4-1 league record. The Tigers are ranked No. 12 in the BCS Standings.
Other SEC games slated for television next weekend include: Florida at Vanderbilt at 11:21 on the SEC Network; Arkansas at South Carolina at 6 p.m. on ESPN; Louisiana-Lafayette at Ole Miss at 6 p.m. on ESPNU and Tennessee at Memphis at 7 p.m. on CBS College Sports.
It marks LSU’s third appearance on CBS this year and the fourth straight season that the Tigers and the Crimson Tide will appear on the network.
A nearly unstoppable effort by quarterback Cam Newton carried No. 5 Auburn past No. 6 LSU on Saturday at Auburn.
Auburn (8-0, 5-0 SEC) took over the SEC West and will likely move up to No. 1 in the BCS Standings. The Tigers (7-1, 4-1 SEC) tied the game early in the fourth quarter with a 39-yard pass from halfback Spencer Ware to wide receiver Rueben Randle, but it wasn't enough to stop the potent Auburn rushing attack nor get its offense in rhythm with alternating two quarterbacks, both below average signal-callers. With an above-average quarterback, LSU would be a contender for the BCS Championship game.
Newton, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound transfer from Florida, ran 28 times for 217 yards with two touchdowns. He also completed 10-of-16 passes for 86 yards. He didn't have to throw more against a Tigers defense that gave up 440 rushing yards against a John Chavis defense that entered the game ranked No. 1 in the SEC and No. 3 in the nation.
Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley was a handful for LSU's offensive line, collecting six tactkes including 2.5 sacks and four behind the line. Fairley may be the most dominating defensive player in college football. He single-handed undermined LSU's power rushing attack, breaking through double-teams and forcing fullback Stevan Ridley to make evasive maneuvers behind the line of scrimmage.
Ridley, the SEC's second-leading rusher behind Newton, finished with 37 yards and 12 carries.
Newton's performance pushed his season rushing total to 1,077 yards. No quarterback in SEC history has rushed for more. Newton likely is a cinch to win the Heisman Trophy. He left Florida after he was caught with a stolen laptop and when Tim Tebow decided to return for his senior season.
LSU needs to make a decision about its offensive identity with SEC games against Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas coming up. LSU played well enough to win on Saturday in many ways, but offensive confusion was a common theme.
Jordan Jefferson is the starter and an excellent runner, Jarrett Lee is the backup and a good passer. Coach Les Miles likes to platoon both players, but the offense operates so differently depending on which guy is playing. It's a disruptive situation. The only remedy is to make a firm decision at quarterback and it's clear Miles doesn't want to make that decision. His team's season hangs in the balance.
Jefferson was 7-of-14 passing for 46 yards and a first-half interception. Many of his tosses were off target or dropped. But he took 16 rushing attempts for 74 yards including a two-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 10-10 just before halftime. Lee was 8-of-14 for 43 yards.
Ridley had two rushing touchdowns: a 2-yard run in the first quarter and a 10-yard run in the second quarter. He now has six rushing TDs for the season and 9 for his career.
John Jasper kicked a 48-yard field goal into the wind in the first quarter.
The SEC race is now defined. Auburn is now 5-0 in conference games and has emerged as the team to beat.
LSU has an open date on Oct. 30 and returns to action on Nov. 6 in Tiger Stadium against Alabama (6-1. 3-1 SEC).
LSU post-game quotes...
Coach Les Miles (Opening statement) "We definitely had some opportunities in this game. Our defense gave some great effort (allowing 400 yards rushing?), but we missed two many tackles. Any time you miss tackles against a team like this they're going to get a lot of yards and that's what we did. I would've liked to play better, I would've like to have taken that final touchdown drive for a touchdown to tie it up. Our team is humbled. I liked our effort, they busted their tails. That's how I saw it."
(On LSU's dropped passes) "We had a couple of drops. On the first drop, if he closes his hands it's not an interception and the feel of the game is completely different."
(On difficulty stopping Cam Newton) "We just tackled him high. We worked in practice at low tackling him and wrapping him up. There's a want in every football player to take someone on and that's what we did. Sometimes when that person is 250, it can be a little much"
(On handling Auburn's upbeat tempo/LSU's HB pass) "I wish it was something we would've taken care of earlier. That had nothing to do with us pulling out all our tricks, I felt it was a play that was timely, it was something that we wanted."
(On Auburn's defensive line) "Late in the game, Nick Fairley broke loose. He had made about three plays in the backfield of the game that were pretty significant."
(On not being able to take advantage of Auburn's poor field position) "We kept getting them out. Every time Cam Newton dropped back he'd end up scrambling and he can run with a lot of power. The passing game is not what beat us today, it was Cam Newton's ability to run."
(On LSU moving forward from this loss) "It's still early in the backend of the season. We have a lot of good football teams to play and we're looking forward to it. This will certainly not be a fun plane ride home. We have too many quality men, character and want for them to do anything but play hard and improve. From what I saw, i saw great effort and fight, I saw some imperfect support and somethings that were not right offensively."
By Ed Staton
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