5 things to know for the Auburn-LSU matchup - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

5 things to know for the Auburn-LSU matchup

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Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall will look to lead the Tigers to an upset of No. 6 LSU Saturday in Baton Rouge, La. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall will look to lead the Tigers to an upset of No. 6 LSU Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.

Here are five things to know about the Auburn-LSU matchup:

FLYING TIGERS:

Zach Mettenberger is on an early pace to have one of the best seasons ever by an LSU quarterback. He is the first in school history to pass for nine TDS in the first three games while eclipsing the 250-yard mark in each game. His top targets have been Odell Beckham (330 yards, four TDs) and Jarvis Landry (246 yards, five TDs).

FINISHING STRONG:

Malzahn placed emphasis on toughness and conditioning in the offseason, and it seems to have paid off. Auburn has outscored opponents 20-0 in the fourth quarter so far this season.

"Our guys have worked extremely hard in the weight room and conditioning," Malzahn said. "The way we practice I think has a lot to do with that. It is a tribute to our guys making adjustments as the game goes on."

FULLBACK FANCY:

Miles is finding ways turn fullbacks J.C. Copeland and Connor Neighbors into not just blockers, but playmakers. Last week, Neighbors turned a short pass into a 52-yard gain.

"When that full back cannot only block but receive it out of the back field or hit a seam very quickly from a closer alignment to the line of scrimmage, the pressure is significant on defenses," Miles said.

ROAD TEST:

Malzahn figures the noise in Death Valley, where Auburn hasn't won since 1999, will make for as tough a first road test as an offense with a new quarterback can have.

"We have a big challenge this week," Malzahn said. "This is the best defense that we have played against, on the road in a hostile environment. We have to deal with the elements and the noise."

FRONT RUNNERS:

LSU has started fast in victories over TCU, UAB and Kent State, scoring first and never trailing. LSU has outscored opponents 48-3 in the first quarter.

AP Sports Writer John Zenor contributed to this report from Auburn, Ala.

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