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Alabama continues to have a stranglehold on the No. 1 position in the poll, with the Oregon Ducks taking the No. 2 spot formerly held by the Tigers. Despite the drop in the poll, LSU still garnered one first-place vote. Florida State and Georgia round out the Top 5 this week.
Three new undefeated teams jumped into the AP Poll this week: Oregon State at No. 18, Rutgers at No. 23, and Baylor at No. 25.
The Texas A&M Aggies, easy 70-14 winners over South Carolina State on Saturday, find themselves in the "Others Receiving Votes" category, with 11 votes.
For more on LSU football, check out And The Valley Shook. Don't forget to see what's up at our SEC blog, Team Speed Kills, and for all your latest news and notes, visit SB Nation's college football hub.
LSU fans are breathing a sigh of relief after the No. 2 Bayou Bengals escaped Saturday night's game against Auburn with a 12-10 win. SB Nation LSU blog And the Valley Shook is pleased with the win, but called the performance "probably the worst regular season game LSU has played in at least two years." ATVS cited the offensive playcalling as a particular weakness:
Early on, it appeared as though LSU would be able to do as they pleased on offense, but when things started getting shaky, you could kind of see the coaches a bit unsure. On the one hand, the running game was never so epically bad as to be abandoned, but it was spotty enough that you could see them trying to lean on the passing game more. And to their credit, they tried a lot of short, high-percentage throws to keep Mettenberger in rhythm, only to watch the wideouts struggle.
They also saw parallels to the 2011 season and the team's near-loss to Mississippi State:
Last year a tough, hard-fought win over Mississippi State ultimately exposed a weakness in the 2011 LSU squad that we never really saw exploited until January. This was the first time the 2012 team really faced any adversity, and while you can't exactly feel great about how they responded, you can feel good that they never panicked, knuckled-down and found a way to win.
LSU should have plenty of opportunities to work out any kinks when they host Towson next week.
After Auburn came back from a 9-0 deficit to take a one-point lead at halftime, LSU took advantage of a Quan Bray dropped punt return near midfield. After moving deeper into Auburn territory, consecutive Kenny Hilliard rushes left LSU a yard short of a first down. Les Miles opted to kick a field goal, and Drew Alleman knocked home the 31-yarder. That gave the Bayou Bengals the final 12-10 lead.
The decisive safety took place after LSU drove 56 yards in 11 plays on its first offensive possession, but gave up the ball when quarterback Zach Mettenberger fumbled on the two-yard line. But Auburn committed a false start penalty and was pushed back against its own goal line, Auburn was tackled inside its own endzone when Tre Mason couldn't find a way out.
LSU then went up 9-0 on the next possession on a one-yard Michael Ford touchdown run due to the short field from the safety.
Box Score Hero: RB Spencer Ware, LSU. In an offensive struggle, Ware rushed for 5.6 yards per game, finishing with 90 rushing yards on the night.
Rankings Ramifications: Winning by two points against a 1-3 team whose only win came in overtime against a Sun Belt foe might not sit well with some voters. LSU's No. 2 ranking might be in jeopardy.
But Did They Cover? LSU was favored by 18 points and did not cover.
Next Week's Schedule: Auburn has a bye week, while LSU plays its final non-conference game by hosting Towson.
This article was originally published on SB Nation.com.
Auburn's Quan Bray dropped a punt return near midfield and LSU was able to move the ball into Auburn territory. But consecutive Kenny Hilliard rushes left LSU a yard short of a first down and Les Miles opted to kick a field goal. Drew Alleman knocked home the 30-yarder and the second-ranked Bayou Bengals reclaimed the lead at 12-10.
After moving Auburn to midfield on its next possession, quarterback Kiehl Frazier threw a jump ball floater intended for tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, but it was intercepted by LSU's Luke Muncie. Despite the mishaps, however, LSU only managed the three points in the quarter.
LSU running back Spencer Ware currently has 80 rushing yards on 12 carries, while Auburn has managed just 137 total yards.
Both teams traded time-eating drives that ended in punts, until Auburn took the ball with just over six minutes to go in the half. Its drive was keyed by a big third-down conversion, when a Kiehl Frazier 22-yard pass to Emory Blake set Auburn up at LSU's 29-yard line. Four plays later, Parkey put the field goal through for the halftime lead.
LSU looked to threaten before the half ended when Spencer Ware ripped off a 30-yard run across midfield with one minute left. But on the next play, quarterback Zach Mettenberger was sacked for a ten-yard loss.
Auburn used a short field due to a fumble from Mettenberger in the first quarter to get back in the game after falling behind 9-0.
Ware has been the biggest performer of the game so far, rushing seven times for 70 yards. Auburn quarterback Frazier is 8-of-11 for 61 yards.
LSU drove 56 yards in 11 plays on its first offensive possession, but gave up the ball when quarterback Zach Mettenberger fumbled on the two-yard line. Unfortunately for Auburn, it committed a false start penalty. Backed up on its own goal line, Auburn was tackled inside its own endzone when Tre Mason couldn't find a way out.
The ensuing free kick gave LSU a short field, and the Tigers took advantage. A drive that included 35 rushing yards was capped off when Michael Ford beat Auburn defenders to the corner of the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run, giving LSU a 9-0 lead.
But Mettenberger would cough up the ball again, this time giving Auburn the ball at LSU's 26-yard line. After Mason ripped off a big run, Onterio McCalebb punched in a four-yard touchdown run as time expired on the quarter.
The LSU Tigers are an 18.5-point favorite over the Auburn Tigers on Saturday afternoon, but even though they are expected to win, they still need to do a few extra things to ensure they do not falter and get upset.
One of the keys to getting a win over Auburn is to get to dual-threat quarterback Kiehl Frazier. While Frazier is an athletic quarterback, new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler has installed a pro-style set which has not been all that successful so far. LSU should take advantage of that and try to make Frazier uneasy in the pocket:
He started from scratch with a new pro style offense and a new offensive coordinator and the progress has been slow.
It's likely LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis will unleash some of his unused blitz combinations to catch Frazier off guard. The Auburn running attack hasn't been particularly helpful at taking the heat off of him, although they did put up 255 yards against Louisiana-Monroe. The best way to keep the Auburn offense out of rhythm is to rattle the quarterback.
The LSU defense is good enough to take away nearly any teams weapons on offense and they should be able to slow down, and even stop Auburn's offense. The best way to stop that is to make Frazier ineffective.
The LSU Tigers will play Auburn this weekend without second-leading rusher Alfred Blue, reports WAFB Channel 9 out of Baton Rouge, La. Blue injured his knee in the second half of the win against Idaho.
Blue has been impressive in 2012 so far, racking up 270 yards and a 6.8 yards-per-carry average through three games in helping LSU to a 3-0 start. He trails only Kenny Hilliard on the team in yards.
LSU head coach Les Miles has said he doesn't know how severe the injury is or how long the team will be without Blue:
I don't know if this week is realistic. I think that in a couple of weeks (Blue) will have more opportunity.
After enrolling in LSU as a five-star recruit in January 2011, DT Anthony Johnson is starting to emerge as a key contributor on the Tigers defensive line as a true sophomore.
In his first collegiate start against Idaho, Johnson had 5 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, while dominating the interior of the line of scrimmage.
He credits his emergence to weight loss, as he dropped 30 pounds over the off-season:
"Actually I think it was (my best game). Since the Mississippi State game I haven't felt that good on my feet. I think I played well for my team," Johnson told reporters on Wednesday. "[My mother] said, 'Boy, you look cheesy in your uniform'. She told me I had Dunlap Disease; she said my stomach had done lapped over my belt. I had to slim up. I had to look good for my family and for the fans. I'm healthier now."
After playing at 320 as a freshman, Johnson is now reportedly at 6'4 and 290-pounds, allowing him to display the combination of quickness and power that made him such a highly-touted recruit.
Under Les Miles, LSU has reliably churned out defensive lineman into the NFL. Johnson has the chance to be the next great one.
Auburn Tigers defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said the Tigers would be playing significantly more out of their base 4-3 set against the LSU Tigers than they have so far this season. The switch is due to Auburn primarily playing nickel defense against their first three opponents, who all ran some variation of the spread offenses. LSU prefers a power rushing attack. However, the switch in scheme means that more underclassmen will see significant time, including sophomore and freshman linebackers Justin Garrett and Cassanova McKinzy.
VanGorder wasn't overly concerned with such young players seeing significant time against an opponent as strong as LSU:
I think you'll see Cassanova play quite a bit. He's big and strong, so it makes since the way LSU runs the ball, he's more comfortable against that kind of offense.
After the first couple of hits, everybody (on AU's defense) was just backing up. They didn't want to hit at all. Before I got to them, they just fell down and just laid on the ground.
Auburn is using Copeland's comments as fuel ahead of Saturday, when Auburn hosts LSU. When asked, safety Demetruce McNeal and defensive end Corey Lemonier tried to downplay the comments, but clearly took issue with them. According to McNeal:
We wouldn't be in the SEC if we had guys jumping out of the way. Everybody can look on tape and see for theirselves. Let me know just one person that jumped out of the way of a guy who was running the ball last year.
Lemonier had some more choice words regarding Copeland's comments.
It's a huge disrespect to us and what we stand for. We're just going to use that as momentum, put fire in, and just use it as motivation for us.
The LSU Tigers returned to practice on Tuesday after missing practice on Monday due to a bomb threat called into campus. Thankfully, no explosives were found, but it marks the second time this year that LSU has missed a practice, the first being for Hurricane Isaac.
The team was able to meet and review film ahead of its upcoming SEC opener at Auburn, but the lack of practice time understandably irked Miles, who told the Associated Press:
There were some tense moments around here today. It was a moral issue. You couldn't have the players come to the (football) building.
LSU will be without starting running back Alfred Blue, who injured his knee against Idaho last week. It's still unclear how long Blue will be out, but Spencer Ware and Jeremy Hill should see their opportunities increase in Blue's absence.
The LSU Tigers have yet to face a real challenge yet this season, as they've outscored their first three opponents 145-31. However, head coach Les Miles still has some concerns about his team, namely quarterback Zach Mettenberger's interceptions.
According to The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.), Miles wants Mettenberger to take care of the ball, even though he only has two interceptions this year. However, both of them have come with the Tigers just yards away from their opponents' goal line. Said Miles:
He'll understand it. He's just taking steps. He can't get too excited to score that he forces one in there. He'll understand that it's a quality quarterback's want to throw a touchdown. Now we've got to temper that with the wisdom of when you throw it away because we have three (downs).
When specifically asked about Mettenberger's ability to make risky throws into tight spaces, Miles simply said:
We don’t take those risks.
The LSU Tigers will look for their first SEC victory of the season when they face reeling Auburn on Saturday.
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