It was an LSU-Auburn game, what else is there to say?
LSU came into the hostile environment of Jordan-Hare Stadium and had a nearly perfect first quarter. Then, the rest of the game happened.
LSU jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but it could have been more. Grant Delpit picked off the second pass of the game and the offense immediately pounced on its good fortune. A 9 play, 34 yard drive included three 3rd down conversions and a nice mix of runs and passes, concluding in a touchdown.
The second drive looked to be going along those same lines, but a harsh blocking downfield penalty against Damien Lewis wiped out a gain inside the red zone and pushed the offense back t near midfield. The drive stalled and resulted in a punt.
LSU again crossed midfield in the first quarter, getting down to the 35 again before another penalty stalled out a drive. Cole Tracy would miss a 52-yard field goal attempt. Despite dominated the first quarter, LSU only held a 7-0 lead.
You can see where this is going.
Joe Burrow guided the team inside the ten yard-line, but the offense stalled on goal to go. LSU thoroughly dominated the first twenty minutes of the game, but had only a 10-0 lead to show for it. It was only a matter of time before Auburn responded, and respond they did.
Auburn would put together their first good drive of the game, going 75 yards in 10 plays, aided by some third down conversions and, er, questionable officiating. But that’s playing on the road in the SEC. You’re not going to get the calls, so there’s no point complaining about it.
Instead, the offense responded with its first three and out of the game. A n already gassed defense then gave up another long drive, 66 yards on 9 plays, and another touchdown. LSU dominated the first twenty minutes of the game, but thanks to a poor ten minutes, they went into the locker room down 14-10. Football is a harsh mistress.
But hey, LSU was getting the ball to start the half and would surely re-assert itself after a much needed rest. The Tigers looked like their first quarter selves, gobbling up yardage and crossing midfield again. But the drive stalled out third and three, and LSU was first to punt. Coach O diped into the bag of tricks and pulled out the jump pass. The call itself worked, but Zach von Rosenberg missed Foster Moreau long, and Auburn took over on downs.
Auburn took full advantage of the short field and got the ball down to the goal line. Grant Delpit would save a touchdown on two consecutive plays. Unfortunately, Auburn had three downs, and scored on third and goal. Auburn now had a 21-10 lead and had scored on their last three contested drives.
And then… the same disease which afflicted LSU in the first half settled in on the Auburn sideline. Auburn continued to dominate the game, but they could not turn the advantage into points. LSU felt like they were desperately behind, but Auburn failed to put the game away. LSU pulled within 8 on a field goal, and it felt like a wasted opportunity.
The game changed completely on a Joe Burrow pass down the middle of the field. Derrick Dillon made sure to secure the football, then bolted down the field and found the pylon. Burrow found Jefferson in the back of the end zone for two, but Jefferson could not bring it down. Auburn clung to a 21-19 lead with eight minutes to play in a game they felt they had dominated.
Auburn chose a bad time to go three and out, thanks to the refs finally calling holding, punting the ball back to LSU with 5:38 to play. At the time, it didn’t feel like this would be the last drive of the game, but it would be.
It didn’t seem like the drive was going anywhere. A failed running play and an incompletion set up 3rd and 11, when Joe Burrow missed Jonathan Giles over the middle. However, then came the laundry. Auburn held Giles on his route, and they threw the flag on it. The Tigers had a miracle third down conversion. Three plays later, Burrow could not find the same magic, losing three yards on third and four. But now, Coach O was pot committed, and on fourth down, Burrow found Stephen Sullivan for 9 yards and a first.
LSU wouldn’t wait for third down this time, and another pass interference call would get the ball into field goal range. LSU milked the clock down to the two second mark and… that’s when Lil Posette decided to come into the living room to put on a play. As a good parent, I yelled at her to get out and go play anywhere else.
Two seconds later, Posette and I were screaming and hugging on the couch. LSU had no business letting Auburn back in the game, and then had no business coming back. Football is a fickle mistress. Both teams let one get away, but LSU was the one that ended the game on the high.
It might not have been pretty, but it was beautiful to anyone in purple and gold. In the end, it was another LSU-Auburn game, right? This is what we expected, even if we didn’t know exactly what to expect.