BATON ROUGE — With another 300-yard performance by Joe Burrow and a stellar defensive effort, No. 2 LSU defeated No. 9 Auburn, 23-20, in a game that was back-and-forth for nearly three quarters.
LSU improves to 8-0 and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play as it heads into its second bye week of the season and then a highly-anticipated date with No. 1 Alabama in two weeks.
How it Happened:
After each team traded punts to start the game, Auburn struck first with its second possession of the game. The visiting Tigers put together a 14–play, 42-yard drive which ended with a 30-yard field goal by Anders Carlson.
Auburn took that 3-0 lead into the second quarter.
After its first two drives resulted in punts, LSU finally got going on offense with a 10-play, 89-yard drive (which began at the end of the first) and which featured three completions for 52 yards to Ja’Marr Chase. The drive was capped with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Terrace Marshall Jr.
That proved to be the lone touchdown of the first half for LSU as Auburn was successfully pressuring Joe Burrow. Auburn sacked Burrow three times in the first two quarters.
Auburn retook the lead late in the second quarter by capitalizing on a turnover by LSU. Freshman cornerback and return man Derek Stingley Jr. fumbled a punt return after being hit by Jeremiah Dinson. Auburn’s Jamie’s Sherwood recovered the ball and gave the visiting Tigers the ball at the 22-yard line.
Auburn quarterback Bo Nix would score seven plays later on a fourth-and-goal one-yard touchdown run.
LSU responded with a 10-play, 73-yard drive which ended with a 20-yard field goal by Cade York.
Auburn responded by putting itself in LSU territory after a 41-yard run by D.J. Williams but two plays later Nix’s pass was intercepted by Stingley Jr. At halftime, Auburn and LSU were tied 10-10.
After forcing LSU to punt to open the third, Auburn retook the lead with a 5-play, 73-yard scoring drive capped with a 23-yard Carlson field goal. That lead could have been far more if it wasn’t for Grant Delpit. Auburn’s D.J. Williams burst through the LSU defense and appeared ready to score a touchdown but Delpit caught him from behind at the nine-yard line. Instead of a touchdown, Auburn had to settle for three.
LSU had a chance to retake the lead with back-to-back drives but came away empty both times.
Facing a fourth-and-goal, LSU opted not to try a short field goal and went for a touchdown. Burrow threw the ball to Chase but the star wide receiver was tackled short of the goal line.
After forcing a three-and-out and punt, LSU then gave the ball back to Auburn as Burrow’s pass to Chase down the right sideline was picked off by Auburn’s Roger McCreary at the two-yard line.
LSU though would eventually take advantage of the short field on its very next possession as Clyde Edwards-Helaire scored on a 6-yard rushing touchdown. The extra point attempt by York though was no good.
LSU began to pull away for good with an 11-play, 67-yard drive capped with a 7-yard touchdown run by Burrow.
LSU’s Heisman Trophy candidate was 32-of-42 for 321 yards with one touchdown and one interception while also having 31 rushing yards and a score.
Auburn did make things interesting with a late touchdown as Nix found Seth Williams for a 5-yard touchdown. With the extra point, Auburn made it a 23-20 but the ensuing onside kick was recovered by LSU.
LSU was then able to run out the clock for the three-point victory.
Big Number: 287
LSU’s defense was stout from start to finish in Saturday’s game as Auburn was held to its second-lowest yardage total of the season. The visiting Tigers managed only a 287 offensive yards — second only to the 269 yards they managed in a 24-13 loss to Florida. Nix meanwhile struggled all game long as he completed 15-of-35 passes for 157 yards with one touchdown and one pick.
Player of the Game: Ja’Marr Chase
The LSU wide receiver led all receivers with 8 receptions for 123 yards. Even though Chase may not have found the end zone he was key on helping getting the Tigers going offensively as he caught three passes for 52 yards on LSU’s first touchdown drive.
Next Up: Saturday, Nov. 9 at Alabama; Kickoff at 2:30 p.m.