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GAME RECAP: #2 LSU 23, #9 Auburn 20

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Mistakes doom Auburn in a very frustrating yet winnable game.

Auburn v LSU Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

We’ve written about it before, but every game leading up to today was decided based on what Auburn did or didn’t do. Today was no different, even on the road at the second-ranked team in America.

Auburn fell in Baton Rouge 23-20 to #2 LSU, marking the eleventh straight defeat inside Death Valley for the good Tigers. Facing off against maybe the top offense in the country through the first half of the season, Auburn held the Bayou Bengals scoreless through the first quarter, and stymied them more than anyone else has this season. LSU racked up more than 500 yards overall to go along with 30 first downs, but Auburn’s opportunistic defense hit Joe Burrow and frustrated Joe Brady on the sideline.

On the other hand, Auburn’s offense struggled mightily. In his second road game against a top ten team, Bo Nix missed a plethora of easy passes, and went just 15-35 on the day with a touchdown and an interception. Auburn gained just 287 yards in the contest, and committed 15 penalties for 98 yards (LSU committed 12 for 118 yards).

Both teams went for naught on their first drive before Auburn started from their own 46 on the second drive. The Tigers drove 42 yards in 14 plays and notched an Anders Carlson field goal to take a 3-0 lead midway through the opening quarter. That lead stuck through the end of the first period, where the defense shut LSU out.

However, LSU scratched the scoreboard to begin the second quarter, finishing a 10-play, 89-yard drive on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Terrace Marshall. That score gave LSU their first lead at 7-3, but Auburn would answer. Kevin Steele’s defense forced a stop on fourth down on LSU’s next drive, and after the Auburn offense punted for the third straight time, Derek Stingley fumbled the ensuing punt and the Tigers recovered deep in LSU territory. Seven plays later, Bo Nix got a little help from D.J. Williams as he surged into the end zone on a quarterback sneak to put Auburn back on top at 10-7.

LSU would add a field goal just before the half, and Nix would toss an interception at the end of the half as he tried to go deep for Seth Williams. That pick followed a long run on the wraparound draw from D.J. Williams to put Auburn into long field goal range. Instead, the Tigers got nothing and we hit the half knotted at 10.

In the third quarter, Auburn’s offense was backed up quite often. A fourth down stop by the defense at the goal line gave the Tigers the ball inside the 1-yard line, but a three and out forced a punt from the end line. Joe Burrow was intercepted by Roger McCreary at the goal line on LSU’s next drive, but Auburn again failed to move the ball and punted away. LSU hit the ground running and turned their final drive of the third quarter into a fruitful one by handing off to Clyde Edwards-Helaire four straight times. He went 45 yards and put LSU back on top 16-13.

Auburn’s third straight three and out near the end of the third quarter led into LSU’s second touchdown drive in a row, as Burrow scampered for a 7-yard score early in the fourth to make it 23-13 LSU. Auburn would answer and get the offense moving in the final three minutes of the game with a late touchdown to Seth Williams, but could not recover the onside kick. Trailing 23-20, there may have been time to make a miracle happen with a defensive stop, but a holding penalty on LSU essentially helped them by giving them an extra down and another 40 seconds to burn. From there, they kneeled to victory to improve to 8-0 on the year as Auburn dropped to 6-2.

Here are the final numbers:

Up next for Auburn, it’s a return home for the rest of the season. The Tigers will take on Ole Miss next Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Following that, it’s the second bye week of the season before Georgia visits on November 16th. We’ll have more reaction on this tomorrow morning. For now, find the dark liquor if you please. War Eagle anyway.