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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Running pre-game Auburn-LSU blog post

You're looking live at Jordan-Hare Stadium, site of today's matchup between No. 4 Auburn and no. 6 LSU. There's still a little under three hours until kickoff, but this will serve as a running blog post leading up to the game.

Gorgeous day for football. Nary a cloud in the sky. Slight breeze. Warm enough but not hot. Just perfect. We were talking about this today in the press box: this is the complete opposite of last year, when it rained the first month and was freezing for games against Kentucky and Ole Miss (so much so that they shut the press box windows, a rarity on the Plains). Let's hope the good weather continues.

Miss today's game advance? Much like Les Miles, you're in luck. Click here to read it.

Also, Auburn's going all out with its Cam Newton Heisman push. The website doesn't explicitly so as much, but you can read between the lines. Check it out here.

I'll be posting pertinent information here, but you can also follow the blog on Twitter for immediate updates and musings. I'll be posting through the game.

Where's the pre-game minutia, you ask? Well, it's right here. Glad you asked:
  • Auburn is 7-0 for the first time since 2004, LSU for the first time since 1973.
  • LSU leads the series 23-19-1. The Bengal Tigers have a three-game winning streak in the series, their first since winning three straight in 1972-73 and 1980.
  • This is the first matchup of top-10 teams at Jordan-Hare Stadium since No. 10 LSU beat No. 6 Auburn 26-21 in 2008.
  • Auburn has won nine of its last 16 games against teams in the top 10. It has 15 wins against top-10 teams since 2001.
  • Auburn hasn’t beaten a top-10 opponent at home since 2006, when it toppled No. 2 Florida 27-17.
  • It’s strength-on-strength when Auburn’s top-ranked SEC rushing offense goes up against LSU’s top-ranked SEC rushing defense. Auburn is averaging 283.7 yards per game and has gained more than 300 rushing yards in three straight SEC games. LSU has allowed 83.6 rushing yards per game and a mere 2.4 yards per carry.
  • On the flip side, LSU has the 113th-ranked passing offense nationally. Auburn has the 108th ranked passing defense. Something's got to give there.
  • It’s a grand stage for Newton to make a Heisman Trophy-worthy statement. He leads the SEC in rushing (862 yards) and passing efficiency (180.5), but he hasn’t face a defense like this.
  • Newton is the only player in Auburn history other than Bo Jackson in 1985 to have four games of 170 or more rushing yards in the same season.
  • Newton has also accounted for 25 touchdowns (13 passing, 12 rushing).
  • Auburn has a +8 turnover margin in its last four games (12 takeaways, 4 giveaways). Eight of its turnovers have been forced in the fourth quarter.
  • Record watch: PK Wes Byrum needs four points to break John Vaughn's school record for points.
  • LSU CB/PR extraordinaire Patrick Peterson has the ability to shut down half the field in the passing game and can score a touchdown on any punt return. He already has two returns for touchdowns this year.
  • LSU is 34-0 under head coach Miles when it rushes for 100 yards and holds an opponent to less than 100 rushing yards.
  • What does Vegas say? Auburn by 5 to 5.5. It used to be 6. Looks like there's been some late money on LSU.
UPDATE, 1:31 p.m.: I've been posting the program cover shots the last couple weeks. Here's the latest. It's a linebacker front:UPDATE, 1:34 p.m.: WR DeAngelo Benton (ankle) is standing on sideline in street clothes with his jersey on. No crutches this week, but it doesn't look like he'll dress out.

UPDATE, 1:54 p.m.: CB T'Sharvan Bell is not out with the team during pre-game stretching. He was a gametime decision.

LB Eltoro Freeman (various injuries) is out there and a dressed. Then again, he was last week and did not play.

One roster note: DB Ryan White will wear No. 19 instead of No. 9 today, probably to get him on the same special teams unit as another No. 9, Quindarius Carr.

UPDATE, 2:22 p.m.: Forgot to mention this earlier, but Mario Fannin is going to start in place of Mike Dyer. Not too much of a surprise, considering the condition of Dyer's right knee.

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