No. 2 LSU Tops Auburn In Defensive Struggle, 12-10
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Tre Mason

AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Tre Mason
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Sept. 22, 2012

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AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn's held LSU to a season-low 351 total yards and only three points over the final 45 minutes of play but fell to the visitors from Baton Rouge, 12-10, on Saturday night before 86,721 fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn (1-3, 0-2 SEC) got an outstanding performance from its defense, forcing a pair of LSU turnovers, but could not get a crucial stop late in the fourth quarter with enough time left to have a final scoring chance as LSU's last drive ate up most of the final four minutes.

LSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC) had a chance to extend its lead with less than a minute to play, but Drew Alleman's 34-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right. Auburn had one final possession with 37 seconds left, starting from their own 20, but could only manage 17 yards with no timeouts remaining, and Kiehl Frazier's final desperation heave with no time left was intercepted to end the game.

Frazier was 13-of-22 for 97 yards and two interceptions, with five of those completions for 29 yards courtesy of senior tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen. Senior Emory Blake had four catches for 56 yards. Frazier was sacked four times on the night.

Onterio McCalebb rushed 11 times for 24 yards, including Auburn's only touchdown on the final play of the first quarter. Tre Mason led Auburn in rushing yardage, gaining 54 yards on nine carries.

Freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace made his first appearance of the season in the second quarter, rushing three times for 15 yards. He did not attempt a pass.

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger finished 15-27 for 169 yards, completing passes to seven different receivers. Kadron Boon led with 49 yards on three catches. Spencer Ware led the LSU rushing attack with 90 yards on 16 carries, and Michael Ford had 41 yards on eight attempts, scoring LSU's only touchdown.

First downs were 15-9 in favor of LSU, and LSU converted 6-of-18 third-down chances while Auburn managed to convert only two of 12 chances.

Auburn's special teams were mostly solid. Stephen Clark punted seven times for an average of 41 yards, including a season-long 54-yarder in the first quarter. McCalebb had two kick returns for 59 yards, nearly breaking free on his second one that ended up going for 43 yards. And Cody Parkey connected on his only field goal attempt of the night, a 40-yarder that was his ninth consecutive successful attempt dating back to last season.

LSU appeared to be driving for the end zoneon their first possession, but Mettenberger fumbled the snap at the Auburn 2-yard-line, where it was recovered by Jeffery Whitaker to end the LSU threat. It was just the second fumble lost by LSU so far this season.

But LSU would find its way onto the scoreboard on Auburn's next play from scrimmage, taking a 2-0 lead on a safety when Tre Mason was tackled in the end zone by Sam Montgomery. It was the first safety scored against Auburn since the Tigers' 3-2 victory over Mississippi State in 2008.

LSU would then take advantage of the good field position after the safety, driving 59 yards in nine plays and taking a 9-0 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Michael Ford with 4:18 to play in the first quarter.

Auburn would take advantage of a turnover to find the end zone on the final play of the first quarter. After taking over deep in LSU territory when Corey Lemonier sacked Mettenberger and forced a fumble that was recovered by Angelo Blackson, Tre Mason went around left end for 26 yards to the LSU 4-yard-line. On the next play, McCalebb walked into the end zone for Auburn's first touchdown of the night, cutting the deficit to 9-7 as time expired in the opening period. It was also the first rushing touchdown allowed by LSU in 2012. Following a 42-yard, nine-play drive that ate up more than five minutes of the second quarter, Cody Parkey's 40-yard field goal gave Auburn a 10-9 lead with 1:21 to play in the half. That would be the halftime score as Auburn held LSU scoreless in the second quarter, the first quarter in which LSU has failed to score this season.

LSU went back on top midway through the third quarter after an Auburn special teams miscue gave LSU new life at midfield. A 30-yard Drew Alleman field goal capped a seven-play, 35-yard scoring drive and gave LSU a 12-10 lead - the eventual winning margin - at the 5:26 mark.

With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter and Auburn needing yet another stop to have one final possession, LSU converted a key 3rd-and-5 play as Mettenberger connected with Spencer Ware for a 33-yard gain into Auburn territory, effectively ending Auburn's hopes of a comeback.

Auburn has an open date next week before returning to SEC action on Saturday, Oct. 6, against Arkansas at Jordan-Hare Stadium.