Oct. 24, 2009
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AUBURN FALLS TO NO. 9 LSU
BATON ROUGE, La. - No. 9 LSU was too much for Auburn in Baton Rouge on Saturday night, as they defeated the Tigers 31-10 before a crowd of 92,654 at noisy Tiger Stadium.
Three turnovers and penalties plagued Auburn in the first half, and while the offense struggled against what Head Coach Gene Chizik called "one of the best defenses in the country," Auburn fought to the end--scoring its only touchdown on the last play of the game.
"They played a really good football game," Chizik said. "They have a really good football team. We got ourselves in a hole early with some things and tried to work our way back out of it. It was kind of a sloppy first quarter with penalties and things of that nature.
Chizik said he was pleased that his team battled until the end.
"The kids kept fighting, kept playing down to the end," Chizik said. "Like I told them, these are good football teams. We have another opportunity to play next week. We are going to look at the film. We're going to see what we did good, we're going to see what we did bad and move on."
Auburn's offense finished with a total of 193 yards--with 151 of them coming in the second half. Ben Tate again led Auburn with 67 yards on 18 carries, while Mario Fannin added 56 yards on just six carries.
LSU (6-1) jumped out to a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter when quarterback Jordan Jefferson found Terrance Toliver in the corner of the end zone on a 14-yard scoring strike.
The Bengal Tigers went ahead 14-0 late in the first quarter after an Auburn turnover deep in its own territory. LSU sacked Todd and forced a fumble at the Auburn 16. Jefferson scampered in from 15 yards out three plays later, stretching the LSU lead to 14-0 with 1:10 remaining in the quarter.
Trailing 14-0, Auburn had its back against the wall as LSU drove to the Auburn 2-yard line, but the Tiger defense came up with a big stop when Zac Etheridge slung Jefferson to the turf, forcing a fumble that Craig Stevens recovered in the end zone, giving Auburn the ball on its own 20 with 10:03 left in the half.
Auburn's final drive of the first half was set up when Antonio Coleman and Mike Blanc sacked Jefferson for a 10-yard loss back to the LSU 23, forcing a punt that set Auburn's offense up at midfield.
The Tigers moved into LSU territory but a sack for a big loss forced an Auburn punt. LSU's ensuing drive was blunted by another sack, as Coleman dropped Jefferson for a two-yard loss.
Auburn committed its third turnover of the half on the ensuing punt, though, when Philip Pierre-Louis fumbled the return. LSU took over at the Auburn 36 with 1:42 left in the second quarter. LSU drove to the Auburn 15 but had to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Josh Jasper to go ahead 17-0 with :09 remaining in the half.
LSU took advantage of a short field on the opening drive of the second half, going 45 yards in 4 plays to go ahead 24-0 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jefferson to Brandon LaFell less than two minutes into the third quarter.
Auburn responded with big runs by Ben Tate on a 53-yard, 9-play scoring drive deep into LSU territory. The Tigers settled for a 24-yard Wes Byrum field goal to cut the lead to 24-3 at the 9:21 mark of the third quarter.
Auburn took over on its own 7-yard line after holding LSU and moved across mid-field on gains by Eric Smith and Fannin, but Auburn was forced to punt at the LSU 44. A short punt set LSU up at its own 25 with 2:01 remaining in the quarter. Back-up quarterback Russell Shepard lined up in the backfield and ran off left guard for a 69-yard touchdown to put LSU ahead 31-3.
The Tigers fought to the end as back-up quarterback Neil Caudle led Auburn on an 8-play, 59-yard scoring drive. Caudle found freshman tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen on a 1-yard scoring toss with :03 remaining to make the score 31-10.
Auburn's defense was led by freshman linebacker Eltoro Freeman, who had 12 tackles, including a sack and 2 tackles-for-loss, in just his fourth career start. Antonio Coleman praised the play of the young linebacker.
"I told him he played a great game," Coleman said. "It's unfortunate that we lost. I told him to keep his head up and we were going to keep these guys' heads up on this football team. We still have 4 or 5 more games to go. We can't put our heads down and rest on losing to LSU. We have another big game next week. We have to go back to work tomorrow."
Chizik said the Tigers would go back to work to prepare for another tough SEC battle against Ole Miss looming Saturday.
"We have to come back next week, fight back because we have a tough game," Chizik said. "We have to regroup."
Auburn returns to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday to host the Rebels at 11:21 a.m. CT. The SEC Network will televise the game.