Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA: Once again LSU was outcoached and again LSU fell to a team with inferior talent, as they drop a physical battle with Auburn, 24-19 on Saturday night in Death Valley. The Tigers led 19-10 heading into the 4th quarter, but Auburn would rally back with 14 points in the final 15 minutes to win the contest. It was the first time Auburn has won in Baton Rouge since 1999.
The LSU vs. Auburn series has had several games nicknamed due to big plays, crazy happenings, and breath taking finishes. "The Earthquake Game",... "The Barn Burner",... "The Interception Game" when in 1994 LSU led 23–9 entering the fourth quarter. LSU quarterback Jamie Howard threw five fourth quarter interceptions - three were returned for touchdowns, allowing Auburn to win 30-26. ... and "The Cigar Game"
This Auburn game will go down as 'The Can't Catch Nix Game'... Nix put on a better escape performance on Saturday night then Harry Houdini ever did. Countless times the LSU pass rush had him here, had him there, and it was like watching a highlight film of Fran Tarkenton.
In my opinion the turning point of the game was the incredible scramble and 24 yard touchdown pass on 4th and two by Nix. The play snowballed his and his teams confidence for the rest of the contest.
“Tonight was a blast. I came in this week with a different mindset and just to be a competitor,” Nix said. “I just went back to what got me here. I didn’t know how it was going to go, but I wanted to come in here focused and compete like crazy and do whatever it took. I haven’t run around like this in a while, I’m going to sleep well when I get home.”
Auburn received the open kickoff and drove into LSU territory. The drive would stall at the LSU 47 yard line forcing a Auburn punt that would be fair caught by Trey Palmer at the 9.
On the Tigers first offensive snap from the 9, Max Johnson would hit Kayshon Boutte crossing over the middle. Boutte would out race the Auburn defenders up the near sidelines until he was forced out of bounds at the Auburn 36. The play covered 55 yards.
The Tigers would drive deep into Auburn territory, finding themselves 1st and goal at the nine. LSU center Liam Shanahan would snap the ball past Max Johnson who was able to chase the ball down, jumping on it at the Auburn 31, a 22 yard loss. Facing a 2nd and goal from the 31, Johnson would throw deep down the far sidelines towards a double covered Kayshon Boutte. Somehow the ball fit between the two defenders and ended up in Boutte's hands in the end zone for the score. With Cade York's PAT, the Tigers took the early lead, 7-0. The drive covered 91 yards in 8 plays, eating 5:25 off the game clock.
LSU would add to their lead early in the 2nd quarter, after a drive stalled at the Auburn 25 yard line. A Cade York field goal put the Tigers up 10-0 with 13:35 to go in the half.
On their next possession the Tigers offense would add another three points to their lead as Cade York would kick his second field goal of the night from 26 yards out after the LSU drive halted at the Auburn three. 13-0 Tigers with 8:38 left in the 1st half.
Auburn would finally get on the scoreboard, answering the LSU scoring drive, going 75 yards on 10 plays. The score came on a 4th and two from the LSU 24 yard line. Bo Nix would roll to the right on the play. The Tigers had the play shut down, causing Nix to roll back the other way. Nix would make an incredible play, avoiding two LSU defenders with a pump fake on one then spinning away from another before firing a pass down field that landed in the arms of Auburn tight end, Tyler Fromm in the end zone for a touchdown. 13-7 Tigers with 4:53 left on the clock.
Bo Nix would lead Auburn to back-to-back scoring drives as they trimmed three more points off of the LSU lead. They would drive 62 yards in 13 plays. Once again, Bo Nix would pull a rabbit out of a hat on the drive. Facing a 4th and two at the LSU 48, Nix dropped back to throw and again would find himself under heavy pressure. Nix would again scramble around to avoid several LSU defenders before finding a receiver open for a ten yard completion and a 1st down to keep the drive alive. The Tigers would finally stop the drive forcing Anders Carlson to kick a 49 yard field goal with :14 second left sending us to the half with LSU leading 13-10.
Auburn attempted an onside kick to begin the 3rd quarter, but the ball would go out of bounds giving LSU possession at Auburn's 45 yard line. The Tigers would march deep into Auburn territory before the drive would stall at the five yard line. Cade York added his third field goal of the night to put the Tigers up 16-10 with 11:00 to go in the quarter.
Auburn would look to answer the Tigers opening second half scoring drive. They marched 40 yards on seven plays before the LSU defense stiffened up and stopped the drive at their 35 yard line. Auburn lined up to attempt a 52 yard field goal, but Jay Ward stormed into the backfield and blocked the kick, setting up LSU 1st and ten at their own 38.
LSU answered with an 11 play, 29 yard drive that stalled at the Auburn 33 yard line. It was the Cade York show again as he entered the game and hit a 51 yard field goal right down the middle giving LSU the lead 19-10 with 3:26 left in the 3rd quarter.
Both teams continued to move the ball up and down the field as Auburn quickly advanced into LSU territory. The 3rd quarter would end with Auburn looking at a 2nd and four at the LSU 11 yard line.
Bo Nix continued to kill LSU with his feet, picking up six yards on a bootleg to the five. Then running the same bootleg play on the next snap, Nix would find the end zone. 19-17 LSU with 14:16 left in the contest.
Auburn would dig deep down and drive 92 yards on 11 plays to take their first lead of the ball game. Jarquez Hunter would punch it into the end zone from one yard out. The PAT would put Auburn up 24-19 with only 3:11 left in the game.
The Tigers would have one final drive to try and pull out a victory starting from their own 25 yard line. LSU moved the ball to their 36 where they would face a 3rd and six. Max Johnson under pressure would complete a 22 yard pass to Boutte on the far sideline and it looked like the drive was still alive. But the officials would review the play and overturn the call saying Boutte dropped the ball when he hit the ground. With the ball game on the line with LSU facing a 4th and six, Johnson would fire a pass down the middle of the field over throwing his target. Auburn safety Baydarrius Knighten would intercept the pass to end the contest.
The Tigers let this one get away from them because of their inability to run the football. A team has finally laid out the blue print for the rest of the SEC on how to shut down the one dimensional Tiger attack. LSU was also outcoached in the second half again this season as Auburn made the necessary adjustments at halftime to contain Kayshon Boutte and control the LSU passing game.
Max Johnson struggled in the second half with his accuracy and throwing off his back foot due to Auburn's pass rush. He would finish the night going 26-46, for 325 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
Corey Kiner lead the team in rushing with 22 yards on five carries, while Ty Davis-Price added 18 yards on five carries. LSU finished the game averaging a dismal 1.2 yards per attempt for 29 total rushing yards.
Kayshon Boutte finished the game with 127 yards on six catches and a touchdown. Jack Bech had a good game with 7 catches for 84 yards.
Damone Clark led the team with 13 total tackles on the night. Jay Ward had 10 tackles and also blocked a field goal attempt.
The defense finished the game with no sacks and no turnovers.
“We couldn’t tackle Bo Nix. That’s the biggest thing," LSU linebacker Damone Clark said. "Way too many missed tackles.”
Next up for the Tigers is a trip to Lexington, Kentucky to take on the 5-0 red hot Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, Oct.9th. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30pm and will be televised on SEC Network.
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi
Photos Below BY: Jonathan Mailhes