|Get this: Auburn looks forward to LSU visit|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 18 October 2007 08:08|
``People are mooning you, people are throwing water at you, throwing bottles at you, beating on the buses,'' the Auburn defensive tackle said. ``And then you get in the stadium, and they're trying to spit at you and yell at you.''
In conclusion, ``It's just a great place to go play.''
Great? Maybe for No. 18 Auburn (5-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference), which seems to have a knack for coping with such inhospitable environments entering Saturday night's game at No. 5 LSU (6-1, 3-1).
They've already won at Arkansas and Florida this season, but those are just the latest entries into Auburn's travelogue of road trip triumphs. Only Southern California (26-4) has a better road record since the start of the 2003 season than Auburn's 19-5 mark.
Not many teams forced to play a 9 p.m. EDT game at LSU's Tiger Stadium, when fans have all day to tailgate and get riled up and maybe even imbibe a bit, can make it sound like a treat.
``Our players enjoy going down and playing in Baton Rouge,'' coach Tommy Tuberville said.
Even though LSU has won 17 straight at Tiger Stadium, the longest streak in school history and in the country. And those night games - well, that streak is 24 straight, going all the way back to 2002.
Auburn tailback Ben Tate is making his first visit. Mooning, spitting, dousing and bus-shaking. Good times, right?
``I heard the fans are some of the rowdiest fans in the country,'' Tate said. ``It's loud. It's going to be a hostile place to play. I thrive on stuff like that. I like it actually. Once we go down there and come back with a win and hear those fans silenced, I am going to love it.''
It's the cheering, supportive environment that has caused Auburn fits this season. The Tigers went 2-2 in their home stretch to start the season, including an embarrassing loss to Mississippi State.
Then, they went on the road and beat then-No. 4 Florida at The Swamp, the centerpiece victory of a four-game winning streak.
``I guess we play harder away from home,'' defensive tackle Pat Sims said with a shrug. ``That's all I can really say.''
On the road and against highly ranked opponents. Auburn has won nine of its last 10 games against top 10 teams. The loss? You guessed it, at LSU two years ago.
Maybe it has something to do with embracing that underdog role. If so, Auburn should be smiling. LSU is a double-digit favorite.
``I love it. Being an underdog is the best thing you can be, because people don't have many expectations for you,'' Thompson said. ``You can go in there and show people how you can play. Everybody's going to be looking at LSU, but after this game hopefully they'll be looking at us.''
But that won't happen if the visiting Tigers can't handle the raucous atmosphere.
``It's a different attitude when you play in an SEC stadium on the road,'' Auburn safety Evan Brock said. ``Everybody is against you, and that's the attitude we take.
``We know that we're going to have to play extremely well and bring our best on the road. Any slip-up, any mistake happens, and momentum goes to their side. You don't want to go on the road with the momentum on the home team's side.''