No Mercy for Tigers in “Death Valley”

All you can do is hope when you come into “Death Valley” (Tiger Stadium) in LSU as the Bayou Bengals generally have no mercy for any team that enters, the same was true for the Auburn Tigers who haven’t won in “Death Valley” since 1999.  Considering the way Auburn beat up on LSU in 2014 to the tune of 41-7 by pounding the football rushing 49 times for 298 yards.  But a different quarterback and not the same weapons on offense LSU would makes sure the result end up a little differently.

LSU Head Coach Les Miles said at the start of the game that if they just play their game and don’t make too many mistakes they have a chance to leave with a win.  Little did he know that not only would his team play flawlessly, but their dominance up front and in the running game would lead to a route on the scoreboard.

The game was broken open by the man of the hour in Leonard Fournette,  a 71 yard run to get the ball in Auburn territory on the first play of the game. He got pushed out at the Auburn 4-yard line leading to a Brandon Harris 2 yard touchdown run.  The run by Fournette was just a start of a highlight reel that he would put on throughout the first half.  If he wasn’t running defenders over f97693502a06efd7be2d89e8894eca50_crop_north or running through arm tackles, he was flicking them off his shoulders like flies.

Some players don’t need a lot of motivation to get them started, but sometimes the littlest thing can ignite a fire.  Auburn safety Jonathan Ford ignited that fire in Fournette.  In an interview, Ford mentioned that Fournette would not pose a problem for the Auburn defense.  It’s one thing to talk the talk, but at least back it up with the requisite play on the field. Ford got a first-hand look at Fournette’s power and agility leaving Auburn Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp scratching his head and the defense bewildered.  Fournette ran through the Auburn defense mounting up 228 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.  When Fournette wasn’t on the field, Miles called on Darrius Guice and Darrel Williams to gash Auburn defense.

LSU quarterback Brandon Harris did what he was supposed to do which was play efficiently and not make any mental mistakes.  Harris was 12-17 for 74 yards and a touchdown, adding another touchdown on the ground.  The same can’t be said regarding his counterpart in Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson, who has struggled in his previous two games against Louisville and Jacksonville State.

His numbers will appear very misleading going 11-19 for 100 and two touchdowns, but both touchdown passes came when the game was pretty much out of reach. One at the end of the third to Marcus Ray and at the end of the game where he finally got Duke Williams involved in the game.  Johnson showed life only in the running game and that’s where he appeared to be the most effective, especially when he ripped off a 65 yard designed QB run for a touchdown.

The fact is that Auburn had no answer for the LSU run game and inability of Jeremy Johnson to have a good offensive game has hurt them mightily. The Auburn Tigers have a lot of questions going forward, the biggest is how they are going to use Johnson in this offense? It’s clear that this isnt’ the same offense that was run by Nick Marshall the last two seasons.

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