Les Miles and Gene Chizik have enjoyed going nocturnal at their current schools. LSU is a ridiculous 55-5 when the lights are on since 2005, while Chizik’s Auburn squad is 15-5 at night since 2009.
How good a football game will it end up being? Can Auburn make it close? Or will LSU make a case it’s the best team in the country in its toughest test yet?
(Note: I’m switching up the style here just a tad. X-factors on Friday, game picks on Saturday. Just to spread it out.)
Five X-Factors when LSU has the ball
#86 Kadron Boone, 6-0, 207, jr., WR, LSU. Four catches, 95 yards, three touchdowns. Better watch him when he legs it out deep.
#3 Odell Beckham, 6-0, 187, so., PR and #42 Michael Ford, 5-10, 216, jr., KR, LSU. Field position has been one of the strengths of Auburn’s game so far, but LSU can quickly flip that around with its explosive returning game. As Gene Chizik said Tuesday: “They have several guys that can return punts and kickoffs that are very potent, but we feel like our coverage units are very good. We think it’s a very good matchup.”
#95 Dee Ford, 6-2, 246, jr., DE, Auburn. I have a thing for seeing how guys back up their tough talk during the week. Before ULM, it was T’Sharvan Bell sounding off. Tuesday, it was Ford. More so than Bell, Ford as a pass-rusher and rhythm-disrupter can have a lot of impact over how loud “the jungle” that is Jordan-Hare rises tomorrow night.
#5 Jake Holland, 6-1, 241, jr., LB, Auburn. Surely, fans are getting restless with Holland’s inconsistency. Cassanova McKinzy is now breathing down his neck to get mike linebacker reps. Holland could really use a big game, and he’s the one who said he welcomes the physical challenge that is Kenny Hilliard.
Five X-Factors when Auburn has the ball
#10 Kiehl Frazier, 6-2, 226, so., QB, Auburn. Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it’s not true. It’s go time for Frazier. If we’re grasping for straws here, you could argue his best game so far was in prime time, against Clemson. If Frazier’s GPS is recalibrated, Emory Blake’s the guy to help him make a big ply.
#35 Jay Prosch, 6-0, 260, jr., FB, Auburn. LSU’s defense is going to come full speed ahead into that backfield. It’s on Prosch to keep the Bayou Bengals off Frazier, or Onterio McCalebb, or Tre Mason, when blitzers aren’t picked up by Auburn’s still-growing offensive line.
#1 Eric Reid, 6-2, 212, jr., FS, LSU. The words “heat-seeking missile” come to mind.
#99 Sam Montgomery, 6-5, 260, jr., DE, LSU. Now I can’t say I’ve ever been hit by an oncoming 6-foot-5, 260-pound man before. But I’m going to guess that it hurts. It’s really not fair that LSU has two ends on every national award watch list (along with Barkevious Mingo). Good luck, Auburn freshmen – whichever two of you are in at tackle (Greg Robinson, Avery Young, Patrick Miller). This is LSU’s greatest mismatch of the evening.
#73 Greg Robinson, 6-5, 311, fr., LT, Auburn. See above paragraph. And see this Robinson quote this week: “Gotta keep them off Kiehl, because they really could cause bad things. Gotta stay focused and locked in the whole game.”
Three players you should watch since I can’t be at every game Saturday
#31 Cory Henry, 6-3, 238, jr., DE, Florida Atlantic. Hey, the guy says Alabama isn’t invincible! “They ain’t what people think. They’re good and everything but they can be beat, too. They just execute well. They just execute and beat you.” In Henry’s defense, he didn’t specify whether Bama could be beaten by FAU – which, the Palm Beach Post reported, is 1-16 vs. its last 17 FBS opponents – or by another team in Florida. Say, the Jacksonville Jaguars or Miami Dolphins. Wait … bad example.
#23 Johnathan Franklin, 5-11, 195, RB, UCLA. Your FBS rushing leader at 180 yards a game. Only adding to the growing list of ways to spell ‘Jonathan’, Franklin is the Bruins’ best back since Maurice Jones-Drew.
#95 Bjoern Werner, 6-4, 255, jr., DE, Florida State. He’s big, he’s German, he’s leading the nation with 6.5 sacks. The Seminoles’ defense is filthy. Great, great matchup between that unit and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and Andre Ellington.
That’s our game of the week … pick for Clemson-Florida State, and more, on WarEagleExtra.com Saturday morning.