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POSTGAME: LSU defeats Auburn, 23-20

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The Tigers hold on

Auburn v LSU Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

LSU headed into Saturday’s matchup against the Auburn Tigers with the mentality that it would be a tough, must-win game.

It was unlike any other contest LSU has played in all season, with Auburn’s stout defense putting the brakes on their opponent’s offense early on and limiting their success in the red zone.

It was ultimately LSU that came out with the 23-20 win.

LSU won the toss and elected to defer, giving Bo Nix and Auburn the first go on offense. Auburn had just one first down on its first possession, marking a strong start for the LSU defense.

The LSU offense had its worst first quarter of the season, between Burrow being sacked on the first play of the drive and the inability to put points on the scoreboard. The last time the Tigers were unable to produce points in the first 15 minutes of action was in last year’s 29-0 shutout loss to Alabama.

Auburn drew first blood, aided by a pass interference call on Patrick Queen, with a 30-yard field goal from Anders Carlson to give them the 3-0 lead with 8:39 remaining in the first quarter.

The LSU offense found some life early in the second quarter, as quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase got some chemistry going and finished out the possession with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Terrace Marshall to give LSU a 7-3 lead.

LSU seemed to have momentum at this point, but Auburn found success using JaTarvious Whitlow in the wildcat formation for a couple of plays late in the second quarter, with Nix punching in the one-yard rushing touchdown for the Tigers to pull ahead, 10-7 with just over three minutes left in the half.

LSU responded with a 20-yard field goal, tying the game at 10-10.

LSU produced just one first down on its first drive of the second half, but the Auburn offense had much more success with a 70-yard rush from D.J. Williams that could have been a touchdown if Grant Delpit didn’t make the stop. The defense got the job done in the red zone, though, holding Auburn to a 23-yard field goal that sent them up, 13-10.

A 45-yard reception by Chase blew open the next drive for LSU, but Chase came up just short on fourth down just outside of the end zone later on. The team redeemed themselves shortly after, taking a 16-13 lead on a drive that ended with four straight carries from Edwards-Helaire — the last of those being a six-yard touchdown. It’s easy to see Cade York hasn’t made a good case for himself lately, and only made things worse when he missed the extra point attempt.

LSU extended its lead to 23-13 with a seven-yard rushing touchdown as Burrow found an opening at the top of the fourth quarter.

Bo Nix put together a penalty-assisted drive to come within a score with two and half minutes to play, but Derek Dillon secured the onside kick. All that was left for LSU to do was run out the clock to secure the win.

LSU will travel to Alabama to face the Crimson Tide at Bryant Denny Stadium on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT.