Cox: No. 7 Auburn vs No. 12 LSU always hot, sweaty, bloody
By JOHN ZENOR
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Chandler Cox expects this Auburn-LSU game to be bloody and intense, like usual.
The H-back for No. 7 Auburn figures that's standard for the rivalry with No. 12 LSU and sees no reason Saturday's confrontation will be any different.
"It's always hot. It's always sweaty. Always bloody," Cox said. "It's one of those games that's a bloodbath. It's going to come down to the wire. We've got to expect that."
The winner of the first big SEC West clash could emerge as the most likely challenger to No. 1 Alabama in a division with four Top 25 teams and two others receiving votes.
Both Auburn (2-0, 0-0 Southeastern Conference) and LSU (2-0, 0-0) already have wins over teams ranked in the Top 10 at the time. LSU beat then-No. 8 Miami and Auburn topped then-No. 6 Washington, followed by predictable routs of overmatched opponents.
For Auburn, memories are fresh from last season's blown 20-0 lead. LSU won that game 27-23 , and guard Garrett Brumfield gave his team a reminder of what's ahead shortly after a win over Southeastern Louisiana.
"He told us how big a game the Auburn game is," safety Grant Delpit said. "He said that we can't take it for granted that we'll win this game just because we have won the first two games. He told us that we have to come out punching because we stole one from them last year."
These games might be bloody, but they are rarely boring. LSU's last visit to Jordan-Hare Stadium ended with an apparent winning touchdown that didn't count because time ran out before the snap. A day later, LSU fired coach Les Mile s and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
Auburn is a 10-point favorite in this one.
"This is a better football team than Miami. We know that," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. "It's a big rivalry for the LSU Tigers. It's SEC play. It's physical football. It's going to take our best to beat them."
Here are some things to know about the LSU-Auburn game:
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean initially signed with Ohio State in 2015. Burrow is a graduate transfer while Dean left after he was medically disqualified from playing because of knee injuries.
"I'm pretty sure, if he felt like how I felt, he'll probably have a chip on his shoulder and he probably wants to prove to Ohio State why he should have been there playing," Dean said.
LSU is one of just six teams nationally without a turnover, a streak that has stretched to 15 quarters. Auburn's defense has recorded a league-high four interceptions while Stidham hasn't thrown one. Auburn lost four fumbles against Alabama State, mostly by reserves.
LSU, Auburn and Vanderbilt are tied for the SEC lead with nine sacks. Eight Auburn defenders have recorded at least one. Auburn's Big Kat Bryant and LSU's Delpit both have a pair of sacks.
HOME SWEET HOME
The home team has won 16 of the last 18 meetings. Auburn has been much better at Jordan-Hare, nursing a 13-game home winning streak that included victories over then-No. 1s Georgia and Alabama last season.
"I feel like it will give us a home-field advantage because when we play at Jordan-Hare, we have the mindset that we don't lose at home," Dean said.
LSU running back Nick Brossette backed up Leonard Fournette, Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams during the past three years before finally getting his chance to start as a senior this season. His response? Two 100-plus-yard rushing games. But this week looks to be a tougher test. Auburn is allowing less than 100 yards per game on the ground through its opening games.
AP Sports Writer Brett Martel contributed to this reporter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25
Updated September 15, 2018