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September 15, 2006
Game of the Week: No. 6 LSU at No. 3 Auburn
Week 3 Viewer's Guide
The College Football Wire
Get the inside scoop on your favorite team:
Merchants on the Alabama plains probably couldn't keep Charmin on store shelves this week. No doubt, too many crazed football fans have been stockpiling in anticipation of a big celebration.
Auburn's tradition of converging on the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue Toomer's Corner to heave rolls of toilet tissue into giant oak trees is reserved for only the most significant victories. If the third-ranked Tigers manage a win over sixth-ranked LSU on Saturday afternoon at Jordan-Hare Stadium it would certainly qualify.
The winner of this game has represented the West Division in the Southeastern Conference championship game five of the last six years. Although nine games will remain after this week's matchup, there is every reason to expect that would again be the case.
Auburn has steamrolled Washington State and Mississippi State by a combined total of 74-14. LSU has posted consecutive 45-3 victories over Louisiana-Lafayette and Arizona.
"We know the size of this game," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. "They are always great football games and we look forward to the challenge. After last week's games, we've made some improvements from the first week, and we are still not as good as we possibility can be."
That quote alone should get the toilet paper rolling.
After all, Auburn running back Kenny Irons, who rushed for 218 yards against LSU last season, has picked up where he left off and again leads the SEC in rushing.
The Auburn defense hasn't allowed a point in five quarters.
Kicker John Vaughn, who missed five field goal attempts in last season's 20-17 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge, has connected on five of six this year, including long-range shots from 52 and 55 yards.
"I've made a lot of kicks since then, and I've missed some," Vaughn said. "I'm kicking the ball (well) right now. I'm just trying to keep it going."
Auburn will also try to keep alive a streak in which the home team has won the last six games in the series.
All indicators seem to be pointing to a big party on Toomer's Corner.
Except that LSU doesn't intend to cooperate.
Quarterback JaMarcus Russell ranks third nationally in passing efficiency and he has a stable of big, explosive receivers led by Dwayne Bowe. Also, running back Alley Broussard - who is coming back from a knee injury and has been brought along slowly - appears fully recovered and figures to get more carries against Auburn.
Meanwhile, the LSU defense - which ranked third nationally last season - hasn't showed any decline after losing defensive linemen Claude Wroten, Kyle Williams and Melvin Oliver to the NFL Draft.
"Everybody wants to compare this year's defense to last year's, and I think we're just about there," second-year LSU coach Les Miles said. "But the best way to test our defense is to go against the best offenses. So, I think what we do against Auburn will say a lot."
LSU defensive players are already saying a lot.
"The thought of Kenny Irons getting 200 yards on us last year personally motivates everyone on this defense," Daniels said. "We have too much pride in ourselves to let that happen again. We're going to stop him and make Auburn a one-dimensional team."
That would also probably put a stop to any party plans and spawn a weekend of depression on the Alabama plains.
But, hey, Charmin can be used to dry eyes, too.