Auburn and LSU renew their rivalry Saturday night in Tiger Stadium, giving Gus Malzahn a chance to pick up his first signature win and Les Miles a shot at his first SEC victory of the season.
After winning three games during the entire 2012 season, the orange-and-blue Tigers enter the contest with a glimmering 3-0 record and are coming off a thrilling 24-20 triumph over Mississippi State to open conference play. The defense is allowing 433.7 yards per game, but Auburn has given up just 16 second-half points this season, none in the fourth quarter.
LSU, too, is perfect so far, and the Week 4 contest marks the SEC opener for Miles' team. LSU has been known to struggle on offense over the years, but the Tigers are averaging 488.0 yards and 46.0 points per game so far in 2013. Granted, their last two wins came against UAB and Kent State, but Miles' team did open the year with a nice 37-27 neutral-site victory over TCU.
Rankings and records: LSU (3-0, 0-0 SEC) enters the game at No. 6 in the AP Top 25 and No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll. Auburn (3-0, 1-0) is unranked in both. The two Tigers have played each other 47 previous times, and the purple-and-gold version holds a 26-20-1 all-time advantage. Last year, Les Miles' team escaped Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn with a 12-10 win.
Vegas: LSU opened as a 14-point favorite, per Odds Shark, and that spread has increased to 17½ points at some sportsbooks. The over-under is set at 56.
Weather: The forecast calls for a high of 88, a low of 69 and a 15 percent chance of rain Saturday night in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Three names to know
Gus Malzahn -- Auburn's first-year head coach is trying to rebuild Auburn into an SEC and national power. His hurry-up, no-huddle offense, which is averaging 440.3 yards and 31.0 points per game, should give LSU's defense plenty to think about.
Nick Marshall -- Malzahn's first-year quarterback is making his first-ever road start. He took a big step forward last week against Mississippi State, completing 23-of-34 passes for 339 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, and he led his team on a 88-yard game-winning touchdown drive in the final 1:56. However, facing LSU's defense in Death Valley will be a whole 'nother test.
Zach Mettenberger -- LSU's quarterback was seen as more of a liability than an asset at times in 2012, but he's been playing on different level this season. Through three weeks, he's completing 65.2 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns, zero interceptions and 265.7 yards per game, third-best in the SEC.
Two things at stake
Auburn has looked good in its first three games under Malzahn, and staying competitive against LSU would show the team really is on the road back from the 3-9 disaster in 2012. A win would prove that Malzahn's team is far ahead of its rebuilding schedule.
LSU has looked like the SEC's best team so far during the young season, and a loss at home to an unranked Auburn team would significantly impact the Tigers' conference and national title hopes.
How to witness
TV: 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN (play-by-play: Brad Nessler, analysis: Todd Blackledge, sideline: Holly Rowe)
Online streaming: ESPN3