Gus Malzahn was asked this week what makes LSU such a tough place to play.
It’s certainly been tough for Auburn, which hasn’t won there since 1999.
“They are usually one of the more talented teams in our league,” Malzahn began. “They have a good home-field advantage. We have to solve all of that.
“It is a new year,” he continued. “They’ve got a new team and we have a new team. That is the fact.”
No. 10 Auburn hopes to party like it’s 1999 with a victory at Death Valley at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS.
After outscoring its previous two opponents 125-3, top-ranked Alabama’s 8-point victory at College Station had the Crimson Tide taking a look in the mirror.
“Even though Texas A&M played a good game and really played hard, and showed a lot of heart, we played a pretty ordinary game for us,” coach Nick Saban said. “I don’t think we really executed the way we’d like to.”
That self-analysis is part of Alabama’s preparation for its 6:15 p.m. game against Arkansas on ESPN.
“I think you can sit here and talk about what they have not done as a team or you can say they should have beaten Texas A&M,” Saban said of the Razorbacks. “They’re very capable of scoring a lot of points and being a very good team. I think their defense is a very sound and solid group that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. This is going to be a challenging game for us and it’s always been.”
UAB hopes to build on the energy of its last-second homecoming victory over Louisiana Tech as it welcomes Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders have long had a strong offense, and even if their starting quarterback Brent Stockstill is sidelined by injury, Blazers coach Bill Clark warns everyone to expect no drop-off.
“This guy they’ve got playing now (sophomore John Urzua) is just as good,” he said. “I guess Brent’s a hair better, but this guy has had four games in the system now. They run it. They throw it. It’s like PlayStation, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Speaking of running, the Blue Raiders’ ground attack is led by Brad Anderson, a freshman from Huntsville’s Bob Jones High who last year tied the state high school record with a pair of 99-yard touchdown runs in one game. He leads Middle Tennessee with 6.2 yards per carry.
The Blazers celebrate Parents Weekend and recognize their Hall of Fame inductees on Saturday. Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m.
In other college action:
Troy: The Trojans’ four-game winning streak – which included their win at LSU – was snapped in the Battle for the Belt. Next up for Troy (4-2) is a 1 p.m. trip to Georgia State on Oct. 21.
Samford: The Bulldogs, 18th in this week’s FCS Coaches poll and 19th in the STATS FCS poll, are idle this weekend. Chris Hatcher’s 4-2 squad travels to Wofford on Oct. 21.
Alabama State at Texas Southern: The Brian Jenkins era ended with last week’s loss to Alcorn State. The Hornets (0-5) go into battle for the first time behind interim coach Donald Hill-Eley at 2 p.m. in Houston, Texas.
Mississippi Valley State at Alabama A&M: The Bulldogs (2-4) saw their two-game winning streak end last week. They’ll try to start a new one at 2 p.m. at Louis Crews Stadium against the Delta Devils, who notched their first win in five games last week.
Kentucky State at Miles: The Golden Bears (3-3) aim to climb over .500 in their homecoming at 2 p.m.
Eastern Kentucky at Jacksonville State: The Gamecocks (4-1, 2-0 Ohio Valley Conference) moved up one spot to No. 3 in the FCS Coaches Poll and the STATS FCS Top 25. They welcome the Colonels at 3 p.m. for Family Day.
North Alabama at Shorter: The Lions (2-3) hit the 30-point mark for the second time this season and each time came in a win. Is that their formula for success at noon in Rome, Ga.?
West Georgia at West Alabama: The Tigers (5-1 overall and 4-0 in the Gulf South Conference) outlasted Delta State last week on the road by 3 points. They’ll attempt to keep the good times rolling with a 4 p.m. home game.
Tuskegee vs. Jackson State (5th Quarter Classic): The 4-2 Golden Tigers alternated wins and losses before getting their second win in a row last week. The aim this week is to get No. 3 in a row at 6 p.m. at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile.
Sewanee at Birmingham-Southern: It’s homecoming week for the Panthers (1-4). Kickoff is at 2 p.m.
Maryville (Tennessee) at Huntingdon: The Hawks (5-1) stretched their winning streak to five games last week. The Scots are next in line at 1 p.m. Saturday.
7A: Thompson, again ranked No. 3 in the latest Alabama Sports Writers Association poll, welcomes No. 8 Spain Park.
6A: No. 6 Homewood hosts Ramsay.
5A: Moody is at No. 6 Wenonah.
4A: Deshler, which dropped to No. 10, hosts No. 5 Wilson.
3A: No. 7 Fultondale hosts Susan Moore.
2A: No. 10 Thorsby travels to No. 7 Aliceville.
1A: No. 3 Sweet Water visits McIntosh.
AISA: No. 8 Fort Dale Academy travels to No. 3 Monroe Academy.