It hardly seems two years since an Auburn quarterback created a highlight that bolstered his Heisman candidacy, juking the entire LSU front seven then dragging no less than Patrick Peterson into the end zone.
It hardly seems two years ago.
It seems longer.
It also seems that Auburn and its current quarterback are in for a long, long day when No. 2 LSU returns to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night.
Let’s see if we can size up this matchup.
You have Kiehl Frazier, the guy currently holding Cam Newton’s old job as Auburn’s quarterback. He’s two weeks removed from a five-turnover disaster at Mississippi State.
He’s big part of the reason why State is tied with Alabama and Kansas for the national lead in turnovers gained (12).
Frazier stares down pass rushers.
Under duress, he throws to the wrong team.
He’s a sophomore, making just his fourth start overall and second in the SEC.
Then you have LSU, which came within a touchdown of Newton-led Auburn in Jordan-Hare two years ago and crushed Auburn 45-10 in Baton Rouge a year ago.
You have an LSU secondary that, even without dismissed cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, stands tied with Alabama for second in the SEC with six interceptions.
Mississippi State is tied with three teams for the national lead with seven, but the Bulldogs have an edge. They’ve had their day with Frazier, who threw them three.
OK, so we’re talking low-hanging fruit. It’s too easy to run down reasons why Saturday’s game could reset Auburn on its disaster course after the 1-2 Tigers survived Louisiana-Monroe this past Saturday.
The challenge is to find reasons why Auburn might actually beat a 20-point betting line and maybe even win.
How could Auburn and Frazier fare better against LSU than they fared in an 18-point loss to State?
OK, so the game will be played at Jordan-Hare, where Auburn has won 10 of 16 games against LSU.
Even in Auburn’s worst years in recent memory, the Tigers played competitive games against LSU at home. A dysfunctional, 5-7 Auburn team played to a one-score game against LSU at home in 2008, and LSU was the defending national champion.
Even as Auburn made then-LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee look like an All-American off the bench, the final score was only 26-21.
Auburn is also a team looking to regain its national esteem. The school that won a national title just two years ago and extended a 17-game winning streak into 2011 has lost half of its last 14 games by an average of 23.4 points.
What better way to atone than to beat LSU on national television, just as everyone sizes up the prospects of another Alabama-LSU rematch in the BCS final?
But how, one asks, will an Auburn team that has given up at least 26 points in all three games against Clemson, State and ULM keep pace with the SEC’s top scoring offense?
How can Auburn — yes, Auburn — do it with you-know-who at quarterback?
The guy who, despite his recruiting credentials, shows no signs he’s ready to make Newton-like plays?
Auburn coach Gene Chizik and his players talked Tuesday about taking the pressure off of Frazier with the running game. Good luck against the SEC’s best and nation’s fourth-best rushing defense.
There’s this teeny, tiny little sliver of silver in the lining. Has anyone noticed that LSU is tied for last in the SEC and 83rd nationally in sacks?
Maybe Frazier won’t have so much pressure to divert his eyes.
Then again, Mississippi State is among teams tied with LSU for last in the SEC and 83rd nationally in sacks, and Frazier put State among the nation’s turnover leaders.
Yeah, it’s going to be a long night for Frazier and Auburn.
Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.