On LSU's first play from scrimmage, Charles Scott rushed for 8 yards up the middle of Auburn's defense. It was at this exact moment, you could sense that this was a different LSU team. OK, Scott was unable to keep the running game going, but the offense came out attacking. There was no confusion before each snap, the team simply lined up and executed.
Jordan Jefferson, especially, looked terrific. Forget about his numbers for a second (21-31, 242 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT), Jefferson looked comfortable in the pocket. He didn't take absurdly deep drops. He stood in the pocket, stepped up, and threw the ball with authority. He looked off the safety and even appeared to progress through his reads. He didn't just lock on one guy and force the ball in there. Even when his receivers let him down with some drops, Jefferson never got flustered, he just kept doing good things and good things happened in turn.
Was it a perfect performance? Of course not. The running game disappeared. Once again, the LSU offense decided to take an entire quarter off (this time, it was the second quarter instead of the third, just trying to keep us on our toes).
The difference is that the mistakes didn't result in Auburn points and LSU kept scoring. Every team makes mistakes. Anyone who says differently is lying to you. There is no such thing as a perfect team. You might as well root for a unicorn. What makes a team good, or even great, is either minimizing mistakes or working through those mistakes.
LSU's offense may have looked ragged in the second quarter, but it did not matter. Because the defense was downright awesome. Before we get to how great the defense was, let's also note that LSU second quarter still resulted in 3 points, and the team did move the ball effectively on two drives, the field goal drive as time expired and the first drive which resulted in a fumble at the goalline.
The fact LSU had four drives in the second quarter is a testament to the defense. Against Florida, LSU had two bad drives and the quarter was over because the defense could not get a stop. Yes, Florida didn't score, but they dominated possession and it made it impossible for the offense to work through its struggles. Against Auburn, while the offense struggled, the defense dominated.
Auburn did not have drive in the first half that lasted more than 6 plays. In the second quarter, Auburn gained a mere 22 yards for 2 first downs. Oh, and they turned the ball over twice (seriously, how amazing was Chris Hawkins' interception?). LSU may have been struggling, but Auburn was positively dormant.
LSU then started off the third quarter with the ball, drove down the field in four plays, and the game was essentially over right then and there. You can pretty much throw out the entire second half from that point on, as the defense stopped attacking and went to more of a bend don't break style. They bent a little, but didn't break until Auburn scored on the final play of the game.
This was a dominating win coming at the exact right time of the season. I'd rather LSU be playing its best football in late October and November than in early October and September. Alabama struggled mightily against Tennesee and looked vulnerable for the second straight week.
We've been talking all season that LSU still controls their own destiny in the SEC, despite their struggles. This was the first week where LSU looked ready to seize that destiny. The team improved greatly, but it still needs to improve more. this game was a phenomenal building block, but it was still a building block.
In two weeks, LSU travels to Bama to essentially play for the SEC West title. It couldn't happen at a better time. It's graduation day.