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GAME RECAP: #22 Auburn 24, LSU 19

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THE STREAK IS OVER

NCAA Football: Auburn at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Fortunes turn in short amounts of time, things change on a whim, and streaks are made to be broken. Auburn beat LSU 24-19 tonight in Baton Rouge to break a 22-year losing skid in Death Valley, improving to 4-1 in the process and 1-0 in SEC play.

Bo Nix was the star, getting the start after being benched a week ago. His second quarter sparked the Tigers and he finished with two total touchdowns and more than 300 yards of total offense as Auburn scored the go-ahead touchdown with less then four minutes to go. Auburn’s defense got the key turnover they’d waited for on fourth down with LSU driving, clinching the victory. It was tense throughout, and the typical oddities you’d assume from an Auburn-LSU matchup came in the form of Bo Nix’s acrobatics throughout.

Things did not start well for Auburn in this game, as they received the ball for the first time all season, and went to work with Bo Nix in to start at quarterback. Nix moved the Tigers 27 yards into LSU territory, but the drive stalled after a big tackle for loss on Tank Bigsby, and Auburn punted. LSU began its first possession at its own 9-yard line, and Max Johnson found Kayshon Boutte crossing left to right for 55 yards on the opening play.

Moments later, LSU reached a first and goal situation, but a bad snap set them back at second and goal all the way back at the Auburn 31. Johnson went to the air immediately, and hit Boutte for a 31-yard score to break the ice and get LSU on the board. On the drive, Johnson passed for 122 yards, and Boutte had 91 receiving yards.

Auburn’s second drive seemed like it was destined to be fruitful, with the possession lasting 11 plays and going 41 yards, but Anders Carlson missed a 51-yard field goal wide right. LSU answered with a field goal of their own on the next drive, and then Bryan Harsin made the change at quarterback to see how TJ Finley would perform.

The third drive of the game for Auburn saw Finley come out, and he hit John Samuel Shenker on a 35-yard completion, but a late hit on Austin Troxell dimmed the scoring hopes. Auburn got back into LSU territory on the play, but failed on a fourth down moments later to hand the ball back to LSU at their own 41. LSU drove all the way down inside Auburn’s 10-yard line, but the Tiger defense settled down and forced another Cade York field goal. With 8:38 left in the half, LSU led 13-0.

With just one drive on the bench, Bo Nix entered the game again, and looked like a different animal. He went to work with the short passing game, hitting Shenker and Demetris Robertson multiple times, before another fourth down loomed deep in LSU territory. Bryan Harsin called the play, and Bo Nix took care of business on one of the wildest scrambles you’ll ever see.

The touchdown to Tyler Fromm breathed life into the Tiger team, and the ensuing kickoff saw Joko Willis decleat the returner, and Auburn suddenly held all of the momentum. LSU went 42 yards in 6 plays, but Auburn forced a punt either way, and started a final drive at their own 8-yard line.

A nifty third-down conversion to Shaun Shivers started the drive, and Auburn moved into LSU’s end for the fifth time in the first half. Another Bo Nix scramble on fourth down led to the Tigers finding themselves in range for Anders Carlson a few plays later, and he banged home a 49-yard kick to cut the lead to 13-10 LSU at halftime.

FIRST HALF STATS

LSU received the ball to start the second half, after Auburn attempted a sneaky onside kick, and began with excellent field position. After a third down conversion by Max Johnson scrambling, Romello Height hit him out of bounds to move the ball even closer to the end zone, but Auburn held on a first and goal situation. LSU settled for a third Cade York field goal to extend their lead to 16-10 after the first drive of the half.

Auburn took the ball, and faced a third down quickly, but Nix scrambled once again, escaping a sure sack to heave the ball downfield and find Shenker for a 33-yard gain into LSU’s end. The drive stalled on three ensuing incompletions, and a 52-yard Anders Carlson field goal got blocked, setting up LSU with great field position.

The Bayou Bengals moved deep into Auburn’s side, going 29 yards in 11 plays, but a key holding penalty pushed them back and forced another field goal try. York sailed through a 52-yarder of his own to make it 19-10 LSU with 3:28 to play in the third quarter. Auburn moved right into LSU’s end once again, with a 20-yard completion to Kobe Hudson followed by two Tank Bigsby runs for 16 yards. After a Nix scramble for another 12 yards, Auburn faced 2nd and 4 at the LSU 17 as the quarter ended.

After an initial option read to set up first and goal, Nix called his own number again and scored from 5 yards out to pull Auburn within a 19-17 margin with 14:16 to go in the ballgame.

Whatever momentum Auburn’s offense provided carried over to the defense, as they forced the first three-and-out of the night and gave Nix the ball right back. Unfortunately, Auburn only gained four yards combined on first and second down runs and another Nix magic scramble couldn’t find an open receiver on third down, forcing Auburn to punt right back.

Both sides traded punts again, but LSU started a drive with 8:55 left near midfield and promptly went three-and-out once more. Auburn got the punt at their own 8 yard line and Nix ran the draw for 11 yards on the opening play. A couple plays later, Mike Bobo dialed up a nifty misdirection run play that got Jarquez Hunter loose for 44 yards down the left sideline. Nix converted a third down to Shaun Shivers, and then Hunter took a toss pitch down to the 1-yard line. He barreled into the end zone on the following play to give Auburn its first lead of the game at 24-19 with 3:11 left to play.

LSU started to move down the field, and a key third down conversion to Kayshon Boutte was overturned upon review for an incomplete pass, and then Max Johnson threw errant on fourth down and it was intercepted by Bydarrius Knighten to clinch the win for Auburn.

FINAL STATS

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

Bo Nix - I mean, dang. We’ve talked about Bo Nix so many times and what he needs to do and what he doesn’t need to do, but he was an absolute stud tonight. When there was nothing, he made something, finishing with 255 yards passing and a touchdown, as well as 74 yards and a touchdown. We’ll write much more about Bo this week, but for now it’s kudos and War Eagle.

UP NEXT

Auburn will host 2nd-ranked Georgia next Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff comes at 2:30 pm CST/3:30 pm EST.