Sept. 16, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -The Auburn Tigers survived another bruising showdown with LSU thanks to a stingy defense that wouldn't budge and a reversed call that went their way late in the game.
Eric Brock deflected a pass near the goal line to stop one late drive and then made a game-saving tackle on the final play to preserve No. 3 Auburn's 7-3 win over sixth-ranked LSU on Saturday.
With LSU facing fourth-and-8 from Auburn's 31 and 2:43 left, JaMarcus Russell fired the ball to Early Doucet near the goal line. A diving Brock deflected the pass, but Zach Gilbert was called for pass interference that would have kept the drive alive.
The officials overturned the call, although replays showed the contact came before the ball was tipped by Brock.
"I got sick to my stomach," said Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville about seeing the flag. "I still don't understand it. It's just a judgment call and thank goodness it went our way."
Auburn (3-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) got the ball but LSU's defense proved just as tough.
Auburn ran Kenny Irons three straight times for a total of 3 yards to give LSU (2-1, 0-1) the ball back with 1:11 left at its own 20.
The visiting Tigers drove to Auburn's 24 with 2.5 seconds left as Russell hooked up with Craig Davis for gains of 20 and 21 yards and Dwayne Bowe for 21. On the final play, Russell went to Davis again. The receiver caught the pass inside the 10, but Brock stopped him cold with a jarring hit at the 6.
Only then could Auburn fans celebrate, their record still perfect following the clash of SEC West powers.
LSU had five drives inside Auburn territory end with no points in the lowest scoring game at Auburn since 1973.
"It was a very violent game," Tuberville said.
It's the first time since 1972 these teams have met with both ranked in the Top 10 lived up to its billing - mostly thanks to a pair of punishing, blitzing defenses.
Auburn's hoping recent history repeats itself. Five times in the last six years, the winner of this game has won the Western Division title.
Not surprisingly in this series, LSU's 3-0 halftime lead was based on two field goals: John Vaughn's 26-yard miss for Auburn and Colt David's 42-yarder to end the half.
Auburn hadn't gained a first down on its first four possessions, but finally managed a 16-play drive down to the 9. Brandon Cox, who lay on the turf for a minute after one hit by Glenn Dorsey, threw three consecutive incompletions.
Vaughn, who missed five field goals in last year's overtime loss to LSU, sent the short attempt bouncing off the left upright with 4:15 left in the half.
Auburn finally scored on Cox's 1-yard sneak with 4:53 left in the third quarter. It ended a methodical, 12-play drive powered by Irons and completions of 17 and 19 yards by Cox.
LSU hadn't allowed a touchdown since last year's SEC championship game, a string of 16-plus quarters. The nation's top scoring defense didn't allow another point.
Irons carried on seven of 11 plays on the drive, breaking four tackles on a 16-yarder. He finished with a hard-fought 70 yards on 25 carries, far short of the 218 he had in a loss to LSU last season.
Russell finished with 267 yards on 20-of-35 passing despite frequent pressure from Auburn's defense.