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Initial Impressions: LSU 19, Auburn 24

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You don’t win friends with field goals

NCAA Football: Auburn at Louisiana State
This guy beat us
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Poseur’s Law states that if a team dominates the run of play but does not turn its advantage into points, the advantage dissipates. Which is a fancy way of saying that it never should have come down to this in the first place.

LSU turned a game that looked like it was shaping up into a blowout into a tense game. It was a demonstration of how timidity comes back to bite you in the ass, and how you need to cash in one opportunities. Because if you don’t kill the monster, he rises up like Jason Voorhees in the final act.

On the opening drive, LSU’s offense looked great. Kayshon Boutte, especially, ripped through Auburn’s defense, and he had 99 yards receiving on a drive which only went, officially, 91 yards. LSU even overcame a terrible snap with a big receiving touchdown by Boutte.

LSU’s next two drives both went 50+ yards. Both drives got inside the red zone, the second getting inside the ten. And both resulted in field goals. Auburn was doing nothing on offense, rotating between its two ineffective quarterbacks, and LSU was marching up and down the field.

But even with all that domination, LSU was only up 13-0. The moment the game turned is when LSU had fourth and one, but coming out of a timeout, committed a false start. LSU settled for a 26 yard field goal. LSU had a chance to put it away early, but let Auburn hang around.

And then the switch just flipped on Bo Nix. Nix had an absurd game that goes beyond numbers. Because, honestly, the final numbers aren’t that good. Nix went 23 for 44 for 255 yards. That’s, well, sort of what you expect from Bo Nix. But that misses what actually happened…

It was like Johnny Manziel came back to school, as Nix ran around like a headless chicken, and then somehow threw a perfect strike on the run. You do it once, you tip your cap. By about the third time, you throw your drink.

I mean, he did this…

And this…

What are you gonna do?

Orgeron responded by punting from the Auburn 40. Auburn, by contrast, was going for it. They started the second half with an onside kick. They went for it on fourth down three times… in the first half alone (though not at all in the second). Auburn was playing like a team trying to push every advantage, while LSU was a team intent on squandering all of them.

And then Jay Ward blocked a field goal attempt.

It seemed like one of those moments in which the game would turn. However, the next LSU drive would stall out again and result in yet another Cade York field, but at least this one was from 51 yards instead of a chip shot.

Auburn responded with an impressive 9-play, 75-yard drive. The defense simply looked helpless, and Bo Nix crossed the goal line, bringing Auburn within two.

And then both offenses went into the tank. LSU, which had only punted once all game, went three and out, followed up by two more stalled drives ending in punts. Auburn didn’t do much better, going three and out on consecutive drives, and barely threatening.

Neither team could move the football, but the ball was almost always on Auburn’s side of the field, so the inability for LSU to just get one first down felt like an even greater waste. This was a chance to win the game, and neither team could step up and do it.

You could feel it. This was simply the prelude to another classic LSU-Auburn finish. The thing is, the truly weird play didn’t count. Bo Nix reverted to Bo Nix, and threw the ball at the LSU defense and it looked like it might have bounced off of a foot, but replay showed that it hit the turf, so there would be no interception. A few plays later, Auburn would take their first lead of the game on a Jarquez Hunter one-yard run.

Max Johnson had a chance now to lead a last minute comeback in a game that probably never should have been close in the first place. Johnson found Boutte to keep the drive alive, only for replay to reveal the ball touched the turf. Johnson would throw the game killing interception on the next play.

It was a brutal loss born out of boneheaded mistakes, coaching cowardice, and wasting a bevvy of chances. LSU had no business losing this game, but lose it they did.