Marlon Davidson

Let's be honest. If Auburn wants to walk out of Red Stick on Saturday with a win over No. 2 LSU, the Tigers will have to play a near flawless game in all three phases.

This isn't your LSU teams of ole that featured an elite defense and a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense that would fit in better with offenses fielded prior to 1906, when the Rules Committee legalized the forward pass.

Led by a potent passing attack that's averaging a gaudy 386 yards a game through the air, which is almost double Auburn's per-game average, the Bengal Tigers boast the SEC's top-ranked offense and rank third nationally, churning out 540 yards a game. 

Quarterback Joe Burrow is the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, and the Tigers feature two wideouts, Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase, who average more than 100 yards a contest, good for a top-10 ranking nationally. 

The Tigers' high-powered passing attack often comes through with big plays, too — LSU has 98 passing plays of 10 or more yards and a gaudy 41 that have gone for 20 or more yards this season.

That could prove problematic for an Auburn defense that gives up 225 passing yards a game and has allowed six plays through the air that have gone for 40 or more yards. 

The pressure will be on the Auburn secondary to play its best game of the year, as well as on the Tigers' front seven, which will be relied upon to create as much pressure of their own on Burrow, who often thrives even when facing blitzes into his backfield. 

Auburn ranks toward the top of the league in sacks with 20, 12 of which have come in the Tigers' four conference games. While Derrick Brown has been effective clogging up the line of scrimmage and collapsing the pocket, it's fellow senior Marlon Davidson who has found the most success getting to the quarterback with 5.5 sacks so far. 

Both will need to be in top form on Saturday, as will buck end Nick Coe, who didn't see the field last week against Arkansas and has struggled to replicate last season's breakout campaign, when he led the team in sacks. To date this season, he has none. 

If the Auburn front seven can't get to Burrow and make him uncomfortable, it could be a long day for the Tigers' defensive backs. 

Offensively, the Tigers are going to have to find a way to generate some explosive plays of their own. 

The best opportunity might come in the passing game, especially with Boobee Whitlow out due to injury. 

Auburn coaches seemed to hit upon a novel idea last weekend at Arkansas — put your two best receivers on the field at the same time. And it worked, as both Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz had solid days, with the latter pulling in six passes for 73 yards and a score and Williams adding four catches for 90 yards and two scores. The Tigers should have both on the field together as often as possible going forward against an LSU defense that allows 226 passing yards a game and has given up 22 passing plays of 20 or more yards this season.

Quarterback Bo Nix will face another hostile crowd in Baton Rouge after struggling in the loud environment at Florida. How he fares under pressure will play a large part in whether the Tigers can break its winning drought on the road against LSU. 

With LSU hitting on all cylinders, it's tough to see how Auburn pulls out the upset. 

LSU 31, Auburn 23

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