- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU has done its part.
The No. 1 Tigers, playing without three suspended starters, mauled No. 20 Auburn 45-10 on Saturday at Tiger Stadium, setting up The Game as one of the most hyped regular-season affairs in SEC history.
Now, it’s up to Alabama later Saturday night. The No. 2 Crimson Tide host Tennessee.
The countdown to their Nov. 5 showdown began a long time ago. But it becomes a reality in two weeks. Both teams are off next Saturday.
LSU (8-0, 5-0) shook off the controversy from earlier in the week and played perhaps its most complete game of the season. Running back Spencer Ware and cornerbacks Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon all sat out the game after testing positive for synthetic marijuana earlier in the week, sources told ESPN.com.
Nobody really blinked in their absence, as LSU held Auburn (5-3, 3-2) to 142 total yards through three quarters and sacked quarterback Auburn Clint Moseley six times.
Auburn’s only touchdown came with 2:22 to play in the game. By that time, LSU already had most of its defensive starters on the bench.
When it was over, the LSU students were chanting, "We want Bama."
It was LSU’s fifth win of the season over a nationally ranked team and one of the few times in this series that the game wasn’t close. Six of the past seven games coming in had been decided by a touchdown or less.
Jarrett Lee threw two touchdown passes for LSU, and Jordan Jefferson threw one. Rueben Randle hauled in touchdowns of 46 and 42 yards. Ron Brooks, who was starting for Mathieu, returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown.
LSU's defense has now gone four straight games in which it's held opponents to a single touchdown.