Can Auburn football stop No. 22 LSU’s elite offense? Here are the keys.

With an extra week to prepare, what Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze saw on film was an LSU offense that resembled arguably the best collegiate group of all time — one that wore the exact same yellow helmets Freeze will see this weekend.
“I think their offense is the most explosive that I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Freeze said Monday. “I wasn’t coaching when they had their run with Joe Burrow and them. But this quarterback, if he’s not in the Heisman discussion, there’s a problem. But he’s playing at an incredibly high level with dynamic receivers, and there’s not a weakness on that offense. It’s impressive to watch.”
He’s talking about Jayden Daniels, LSU’s superstar at quarterback. He leads the SEC in just about every passing stat.
Daniels is first in the SEC in passing efficiency, passing yards, passing yards per attempt, passing yards per game, passing touchdowns, points responsible for, points responsible for per game and total offense. He’s top three in the nation in each of those categories, too.
Take an exhale. It’s a lot.
He’s piloting an LSU group that is the third-best total offense in the nation as a team and first in the SEC.
The numbers are clear. This LSU offense is elite.
And for as good as Auburn’s defense has been this season — a top 25 total defense in its own right and top 40 against the pass — it all begs the question of just how to go about stopping LSU. It’s the best offense Auburn has faced this year.
Freeze isn’t sure stopping LSU is actually an option.
“I don’t think you stop him,” Freeze said of Daniels. “There’s too many weapons around him, and he’s too good. The keys of this game is: Can we hold them to field goals? Truthfully. Just no one has stopped him, and he plays so effortless. Literally, he runs 40-yard touchdowns and looks like he’s jogging, yet no one’s catching him. And his balls are so accurate to those talented receivers. I just think it’s a hard, hard task. Again, I think to this point — and I haven’t watched the future opponents, so somebody will use it for bulletin board material — but to this point, it’s the best offensive personnel I’ve seen in this league, to this point.”
Defensive lineman Marcus Harris — who has been one of Auburn’s best disruptors up front this season with two sacks and five tackles for loss — said facing Daniels isn’t as simple as blindly pressuring him. He said Auburn will have to rush him as a group, largely because Daniels can escape the pocket.
“It’s going to be really the first running quarterback that’s this elusive and this fast that we’ve faced this season,” Harris said.
Safety Zion Puckett said facing an athletic quarterback in Robby Ashford at practice can help prepare to face Daniels.
“We can pick and choose and use them,” Puckett said. “We can really practice what we scheme up against certain players. That’s what we’re going to do this week: Just trying to be connected with the whole defense and just figure out what we need to do to stop the offense.”
Puckett will be paired per usual on the back end of Jaylin Simpson, assuming he is healthy enough to play in the game Saturday. They’ll be a crucial component of stopping the passing attack.
Simpson laid out a game plan similar to what Harris described. The defensive line has to keep Daniels in the pocket, but when he is able to get out the secondary has to react quickly.
Though Simpson added while Daniels’ running ability is known, it’s the passing that has taken a large leap forward this season. Last year in a win against Auburn, Daniels completed eight of 20 passes for 80 yards.
“I think he’s got a better connection with his receivers, honestly,” Simpson said. “They seem to always be on the same page, like all the time. I think he’s just got that chemistry and charisma together. But I think he’s just playing his game. He’s playing good football right now.”
What allowed Auburn’s defense to compete with a roster like Georgia’s that on paper overpowers Auburn was largely the ability to get an early turnover — Simpson’s interception of Carson Beck. Plays like that provide confidence. Freeze said Monday he knows LSU has the better roster, so Auburn needs another fast start or big moment early in the game against an offense that Freeze isn’t sure his team can stop.
The players didn’t go that far. More so, they are excited for a challenge.
“There’s not a lot of quarterbacks that I have played that are of his caliber,” linebacker Larry Nixon said of playing Daniels. “I’m going to give him his credit, but I’m looking forward to playing him.”

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