AUBURN | The second year of the Bryan Harsin era begins with a few warm-up games before a Big Ten opponent kicks off three crucial home games. Four of the last seven games are on the road, including trips to Georgia and Alabama.
Today we continue to take a look at Auburn’s 2022 schedule with a key SEC rival and fifth straight home games to open the season.
WHO: LSU (6-7 last season, 3-5 SEC)
WHEN: Oct. 1, to be determined
WHERE: Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)
SERIES: LSU leads 31-24-1
WHAT’S UP: First-year coach Brian Kelly, who was hired from Notre Dame, recruited an almost entirely new staff, retaining only offensive line coach Brad Davis from the previous group. The new staff have added a number of transfers that should help immediately, many of them as starters, including Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels, Penn State running back Noah Cain, ‘ETSU Tre’Mond Shorts, FIU offensive guard Miles Frazier, Missouri Mekhi defensive tackle. Wingo, Oklahoma State cornerback Jarrick Bernard-Converse, ULL cornerback Mekhi Garner, Ohio State Seven Banks cornerback and Arkansas nickel Greg Brooks. LSU signed the No. 15 class in the nation in 2022, including 5-star defensive end Quency Wiggins and 5-star quarterback Walker Howard.
WHO TO MONITOR, VIOLATION: LSU is again loaded at wide receiver led by All-American Kayshon Boutte. The Iberia, Louisiana junior had 38 receptions for 509 yards and nine touchdowns last season despite missing the last seven games with an ankle injury. Against Auburn last year, Boutte caught six passes for 127 yards and a touchdown.
WHO TO WATCH, DEFENSE: BJ Ojulari, a former Auburn recruiting target in Marietta, Georgia, has become one of the SEC’s top passers. As a sophomore last fall, Ojulari had a team-leading 55 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks. He added nine quarterback rushes and one pass breakup.
OUTLOOK: The key for LSU will be finding the right quarterback and Daniels could be the answer after throwing for over 6,000 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushing for nearly 1,300 with another 13 touchdowns in three years at ASU. It’s not a slam dunk, however, with the return of sixth-year veteran Myles Brennan, redshirt rookie Garrett Nussmeier having a good spring and the addition of Howard. The offensive line is also a big question mark with two transfers set to begin and a group not as talented as LSU’s previous O lines. There’s no proven tight end return, but LSU is getting running back John Emery back from academic issues and Cain is an important transfer. In addition to Boutte, Jack Bech, Brian Thomas and Jaray Jenkins are all playmakers at receiver. On the other side of the ball, LSU has one of the best defensive lines in the SEC and fires two starting linebackers. The secondary is a huge question mark with a bunch of transfers expected to compete for starting positions and depth. LSU also needs to find a new kicker and punter.
Auburn beat LSU 24-19 for the first win at Baton Rouge in 22 years last season. Two years ago, AU stomped LSU 48-11 at Jordan-Hare. It’s a big game for both teams this season. If AU can beat Penn State and Missouri at home the previous two weeks, they can enter the game undefeated. Ditto for LSU if it can take care of FSU in the Superdome on opening weekend and Mississippi State at home in week three. SEC West is wide open behind Alabama, and this game will go a long way to determine the order.
September 3 Mercer
September 10 San Jose State
September 17 Penn State
September 24, Missouri