for this game

LSU visits Auburn in SEC opener

Sep 20, 2008 - 10:08 AM No. 6 LSU (2-0) at No. 9 Auburn (3-0), 7:45 pm EDT

AUBURN, Alabama (Ticker) -- Sixth-ranked Louisiana State has been barely tested in first two games this season. But that figures to change this week.

The defending national champions, who have outscored their first two opponents by a combined margin of 82-16, open Southeastern Conference play Saturday when they visit ninth-ranked Auburn.

If recent history is any indication, Saturday's contest could go a long way toward determining the SEC West champion. In five of the last seven years, the winner of the Auburn-LSU contest has gone on to win the division.

LSU (2-0, 0-0 SEC West) has dropped a pair of defensive struggles in its last two visits in Auburn, 7-3 in 2006 and 10-9 in 2004.

"Since I've been at LSU, we've come up short twice against Auburn," Tigers defensive tackle Charles Alexander said. "It's one of my big goals this season - to win (at Auburn) for the state of Louisiana."

Last week, LSU coasted to a 41-3 win over North Texas in its first game since opening defense of its national championship with a 41-13 victory over Appalachian State on August 30.

LSU's previous game against Troy was postponed until November 15 after Tiger Stadium was damaged by the affects of Hurricane Gustav.

Charles Scott rushed for 102 yards against North Texas, including touchdown runs of 39 and 43 yards. But with a pair of inexperienced quarterbacks in Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee, LSU has struggled to generate a strong passing game.

Now, LSU is facing a rugged defense, as Auburn defeated Mississippi State by the unlikely score of 3-2 in its conference opener last week. Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC West) surrendered only 116 yards and got the only points it needed on Wes Byrum's 36-yard field goal in the second quarter.

However, Auburn committed three turnovers - giving the Tigers seven in the last two games - and missed two field goals as its spread offense remains a work in progress. Chris Todd completed 14-of-26 passes for 154 yards, while Ben Tate rushed for 92 yards on 20 carries.

Auburn will be looking to avenge a crushing 30-24 loss in Baton Rouge last season when it came within seconds of ending LSU's national championship hopes.

Matt Flynn found Demetrius Byrd in the back of end zone for a 22-yard touchdown pass with one second remaining as LSU rallied from a 17-7 halftime deficit.