Death Valley has long been a hostile environment for opponents, but the month of September has proven to be every bit as difficult. No. 7 Louisiana State, which hosts Auburn in a battle of two 3-0 SEC teams, is 26-1 over its last 27 home games - but has rolled off a FBS-best 28 consecutive victories in September since a 2006 setback against Saturday's foe. LSU has blended its usual stout defense with a resurgent offense led by first-year offensive coordinator and former NFL coach Cam Cameron.
While LSU has adjusted to Cameron as well as a host of personnel changes on defense, Auburn has already matched its win total from 2012 under offensive-minded first-year coach Gus Malzahn. Auburn is coming off last Saturday's dramatic 24-20 home victory over Mississippi State, which snapped its 10-game losing streak within the conference. Auburn will have its hands full in its first game away from home as it tries to end its seven-game road losing streak in a venue in which it has not won since 1999.
TV: 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: LSU -17.5.
ABOUT AUBURN (3-0, 1-0 SEC): Malzahn's impact has already been felt after one conference game as Auburn compiled 459 yards of total offense against Mississippi State after not posting more than 335 in any contest during its conference losing streak. Quarterback Nick Marshall's 339 passing yards in the same game were the most by an Auburn quarterback in his SEC debut. Auburn has yielded only 16 second-half points and is one of only six teams nationally that has not been scored upon in the fourth quarter.
ABOUT LSU (3-0, 0-0 SEC): Quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who threw for only 12 touchdowns in 2012 despite starting every game, already has nine - the most by any LSU quarterback through three games. LSU rushed for 307 yards and passed for 264 more in last Saturday's 45-13 win over Kent State, marking only the eighth time in school history the team has eclipsed 300 rushing yards and 250 passing yards in the same game. Odell Beckham Jr., who has a team-high 330 receiving yards, also leads FBS with 602 all-purpose yards.
1. The home team has won 11 of the last 13 games in this series, with the winner moving on to represent the SEC Western Division in the conference championship game seven times.
2. Auburn has won 16 of its last 17 SEC road openers.
3. LSU is 15-for-16 on red-zone possessions and has scored 11 touchdowns while Auburn is 10-for-10 with six touchdowns inside the 20.
PREDICTION: LSU 34, Auburn 20