Max Johnson has proven himself as LSU’s quarterback through the first four games of the season. While some may question his ability to lead the team, the numbers speak for themselves. The sophomore has a big test on Saturday at home against SEC rival Auburn.
Max Johnson Is Key to An LSU Win Against Auburn
As LSU gets set to host the Auburn Tigers, Johnson will have to be on the top of his game. Last week against Mississippi State, he passed for 280 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. The Tigers won 28-25 in what should have been a larger margin of victory. Nevertheless, Johnson has been the key to the team this season.
LSU’s receivers have played a big part in Johnson’s success. Kayshon Boutte had a solid game last week and continues to keep the trend of great Tigers receivers ongoing. Deion Smith had a breakout game two weeks ago and could be a star again against Auburn. Jack Bech is another star in the making who has become one of Johnson’s favorite targets.
Open Up The Passing Attack More
Facing the Tigers will be no easy task. However, Auburn did have to come from behind to beat Georgia State last Saturday. Auburn hasn’t won in Baton Rouge since 1999. Johnson could be the key factor in keeping the streak alive.
To beat Auburn, the LSU signal-caller has to remain poised in the pocket and pick apart the Auburn defense. Against Mississippi State, Johnson was able to use the middle of the field effectively and the Bulldogs lost traction of the wideouts. In a crucial game, making accurate throws will be a focal point for the Tigers’ quarterback. One aspect of the scheme that LSU needs to utilize is the RPO. The team hasn’t used it much this season. Now is the time to implement it into the offensive game plan against a tough Auburn defense. It will be up to offensive coordinator Jake Peetz and passing game coordinator DJ Mangas to elevate the passing attack this week.
The lack of a stellar running game has put every game in Johnson’s hands. That will likely be the case again this weekend. How well he plays depends on his quick decision-making and his ability to dish the ball to open receivers and avoid throwing into coverage.
How the Tigers Can Get a Crucial Win
LSU might need to take another step and use Johnson in the rushing game. On the season, he has just 10 rushing yards on 24 rushing attempts. Sure, the offensive line has been depleted this season and hasn’t blocked well. But entering this game, that must change. Auburn will bring pressure from every angle and Johnson will need room to escape the pocket. If he can pick up yards on the ground, that could put LSU in a prime position to drive down the field and chew off the clock.
The bottom line is that Johnson is the main domino effect for LSU this Saturday. If he is throwing all over the field and exposing the defense, LSU has a legitimate chance at winning this game. But should he have a bad outing, it’ll be tough for the Tigers’ defense to contain Auburn from reaching the end zone.