Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
AUBURN, AL - LSU found themselves a 7.5 point favorite as they traveled to Auburn, Alabama to take on a struggling, banged up Auburn football team.
Most expected LSU to win the game handedly, but the home team Tigers had other plans as they played perhaps their best game of the season, giving the visiting Bayou Bengals all they could handle and more.
Just as they did two weeks ago at home against Mississippi State, LSU started slowly and ended up finding themselves behind 17-0 at the 6:45 mark in the second quarter, before battling back with 21 unanswered points, then hanging on for the huge SEC victory.
The tone for the first quarter was set on the opening kickoff when Sevyn Banks was injured making the tackle on Auburn's Scott Keionte. Banks needed to be taken off the field on a stretcher and transported to the hospital. He was verbally responsive, but had no movement.
Auburn's offense then shocked the LSU defense quickly driving 69 yards on six plays culminating with a 53 yard touchdown pass from Robby Ashford to Ja'Varrius Johnson. With 12:57 left in the opening quarter, Auburn held a 7-0 lead.
Auburn increased their lead to 14-0 on the second play of the second quarter as Ashford found a
wide open Camden Brown in the end zone from 18 yards out. The touchdown ended a 99 yard scoring drive that took only six plays in 2:56.
The nightmare of a first half continued for the Bayou Bengals as Auburn was able to put together back to back scoring drives. The home team Tigers drove 48 yards on seven plays, ending with a Anders Carlson 29 yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-0 with 9:38 left in the first half.
On the first play of Auburn's next offensive possession, BJ Ojulari sacked Ashford causing a fumble that Jay Ward scooped up and returned 23 yards for a touchdown. 17-7 Auburn with 6:33 left on the clock.
After Auburn's kicker Anders Carlson missed a 40 yard field goal with 1:56 left in the half, the Tigers quickly drove 77 yards in eleven plays eating 1:41 off the clock, with Jayden Daniels scoring on a one yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 17-14 at the half.
The Tigers took their first lead of the contest when John Emery Jr. broke a tackle in the backfield and sprinted into the end zone from 20 yards out. The score gave LSU a 21-17 lead with 3:32 left in the third quarter. The drive went 63 yards in seven plays eating 3:34 off the clock.
Auburn's next offensive possession carried over into the 4th quarter as the Tigers faced a second and ten at the LSU ten yard line and tried a trick play that back fired badly. Koy Moore took a reverse and attempted a pass that was intercepted by Harold Perkins at the LSU 12 yard line to kill the scoring opportunity.
After both teams traded punts and turnovers, Auburn began to drive into LSU territory with the tough running of Tank Bigsby. The Tigers had the ball 2nd and eleven at the LSU 36 yard line when Ashford was intercepted by Greg Brooks Jr. who return the ball 30 yards to the Auburn 45.
From their LSU was able to run out the clock to earn a physical, hard fought 21-17 win.
The Tigers had a tough night passing the football. Jayden Daniels finished the game, 8-20,
80 yards passing, while adding 59 yards rushing on 16 carries with a one yard touchdown, He would leave the game early in the 4th quarter after slightly injuring himself on a poor attempt at sliding on a run.
Garrett Nussmeier entered the contest in relief finishing 2-6, for only five yards passing.
The receivers struggled throughout the game dropping several passes that stalled drives. Mason Taylor had three catches for 14 yards. Malik Nabers finished with 26 yards on two catches. John Emery had one huge reception for 39 yards, while Kayshon Boutte added four yards on one grab and Jack Bech had one catch for two yards.
LSU did have a good night on the ground, finishing with 185 total yards rushing. Josh Williams was the workhorse gaining 68 yards on 17 carries. John Emery Jr. had 42 yards on eight rushes and a touchdown, while Noah Cain added 21 yards on five carries.
After a couple of huge first half breakdowns in the secondary, the defense got back on track as Matt House made the necessary adjustments to help shutout Auburn over the final two and a half quarters of play.
B.J. Ojulari had a great game finishing with four tackles and two sacks, forcing a fumble on one which Jay Ward returned for a score. Jaquelin Roy had six tackles while Jay Ward and Mekhi Wingo both finished with four tackles each. Harold Perkins Jr. added three tackles and a huge interception. Greg Brooks Jr. had one tackle and perhaps the game saving interception late in the contest to end Auburn's last scoring threat.
LSU committed ten penalties for 96 yards. Several of these happened during key moments of the game, as the Tigers did a good job of shooting themselves in the foot, especially early in the contest.
With the win, LSU is 4-1 overall (2-0 SEC), as they now return home to prepare for a dangerous Tennessee team who they will host next weekend in Tiger Stadium. Kickoff is set for 11:00am CST and will be televised on ESPN.
**John 14:6 - "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (Find Jesus. God Bless)