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What Others Are Saying About LSU's Win Over Auburn


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Mark Edwards: If AU's loss to LSU puzzles you, you're not alone


Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn leads his team out before taking on LSU at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. LSU defeated Auburn 22-21.

Jake Crandall
AUBURN — If we're to understand Auburn coach Gus Malzahn right, after losing 22-21 at home to LSU on Saturday, the Tigers need to "figure out a way to overcome it."

We should know that "it's tough," and that "it was a dogfight." And, "obviously, it's a tough way to lose."

As for LSU, we should "give them credit."

As for those tough penalties against Auburn at the end, "it's the way it goes."

But Auburn has to "keep our chin up." And, "this team is going to rebound." Also, we apparently should understand this: "We are a team."

And here I was thinking they were a loose collection of individuals brought together by a common interest in football.

It's a good thing Malzahn is asked to win ballgames and not press conferences. He's clearly not getting paid $49 million over seven years for his words. I'm not sure he could motivate me to take out the trash, much less go out and fight LSU, Georgia and Alabama for 60 minutes apiece.

And, for the most part, he's pretty good at winning games. He handed Georgia's Kirby Smart his head on a platter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Nobody gives the great NIck Saban as many problems in this league as Malzahn.

But then there's a game like Saturday.

How in the world can you build a double-figure lead and wind up losing? To a team coached by Ed Orgeron? Twice in two years?

It's probably unfair to zero in on play to help summarize the night, but that four-and-one play from the opening quarter is hard to swallow.

Trailing 7-0, Auburn had third-and-one at the LSU 15 but a run over right guard by JaTarvious Whitlow gained nothing.

Then instead of kicking a field goal, Malzahn chose to try it again. That's not a terrible call, but to line up in the shotgun and give it a try that way?

Quarterback Jarrett Stidham handed to Whitlow again, who tried to go over right guard again, and failed to get the first down again.

That's just a terrible sequence, and it cost Auburn an important momentum swing. After an LSU field goal made it 10-0 later, Auburn rallied for two touchdowns before halftime. The Bengal Tigers added another on a bizarre fake punt call on fourth-and-three at the Auburn 45.

LSU tried a Tim Tebow-like jump pass, but the wobbly throw to a senior tight end went long.

Maybe that play worked in practice at LSU. Isn't that what coaches always say about a play that looks awful in a game? "It worked in practice."

That set up Auburn for another touchdown and a 21-10 lead. Last year, Auburn lost a 20-0 lead to LSU when the Tigers' offense grew conservative, nearly always running on first down and passing on third down.

That didn't necessarily happen this time, but it does seem as if from that point, Auburn kind of just wanted to hold serve.

Auburn did have one solid drive in the fourth quarter when the Tigers drove to the LSU 35. On fourth-and-five, Malzahn called upon freshman Anders Carlson, who struggled with long kicks against Washington. He did in this instance, too, as his 52-yard attempt sailed wide left.

Going for the field goal is not a bad call when you're up 21-13 and have a kicker who's young but has a strong leg.

But maybe this was the time to turn aggressive. Auburn was hurting LSU, and Stidham with 35 yards of field to work with. This was the time to put him in the shotgun and let him find his receiver for 5 yards or more.

It's hard to understand what Malzahn sometimes.

It's hard to understand Orgeron, too, but at the end of his news conference, when he slapped the podium and said, "Go Tigahs!" we understood that. We understood the fight his team displayed Saturday.

We don't understand why Auburn couldn't match that on its own field.


Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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LSU Announces Its Arrival in the SEC Race With Another Comeback Win Over Auburn

September 15, 2018

With a chance to stretch LSU’s 7–0 lead over to SEC West rival Auburn to 10 late in the first quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium, kicker Cole Tracy teed off for a 53-yard field goal—which he missed. Luckily for Tracy, resiliency was the story of the day for those in purple and gold as LSU rallied for a 22–21 win on a 42-yard field goal curled off Tracy’s right foot as time expired.

After a dismal offensive stretch in which the visiting Tigers gained just 37 yards over a sequence of four possessions sandwiched around halftime, LSU pulled within two points with a 71-yard Derrick Dillon touchdown catch with 8:18 left in the game. Offense had been hard to come by for both teams all afternoon, and after that score, LSU figured to have one possession left to pull ahead. It needed a stop, which it got, and it took the ball back with 5:28 to go. It seemed like plenty of time. It could have been too much time. Instead, it was just enough. With two seconds remaining, Tracy got a chance to right his first-quarter wrong, and on a 42-yard, game-winning field goal, he was perfect.


On the road, LSU went to 3–0 and tallied its second win in 2018 over a top-10 team, after defeating Miami 33–17 on Labor Day weekend. Orgeron’s team is building the résumé of a College Football Playoff contender, or at least a worthy Alabama adversary, while in an SEC West that demands something close to perfection, Auburn saw its chances at the final four dip.

And though Tracy gets all the credit for the heroics at the buzzer, the play of the game for the LSU offense may have come two minutes prior. Quarterback Joe Burrow had completed fewer than 50% of his passes on the day and was in the midst of an inconsistent afternoon, but he delivered when it counted. With two minutes to go, facing fourth-and-seven at the Auburn 48-yard line, Burrow completed a dead-on, nine-yard pass to receiver Stephen Sullivan for a game-saving first down.

Burrow, a graduate transfer from Ohio State, won the starting job in camp and has proceeded to give an LSU team that has struggled to find offensive consistency in recent seasons the presence under pressure that has made the difference against top competition. His numbers haven’t been jaw-dropping—he has thrown just three touchdown passes and completed 46.2% of his passes, having finished 15-of-34 through the air on Saturday—but with help from a strong offensive line, he has minimized mistakes and has yet to throw an interception. And when it counted on Saturday, Burrow looked the part. “That’s just practice: trust in my guys, trust in me, trust in my coaching staff,” the quarterback said in his on-field postgame TV interview.

On defense, LSU held a talented Auburn offense to 328 yards. Gus Malzahn’s team converted just four of 12 possible third downs, and LSU came away with two picks of Jarrett Stidham, one of which sophomore cornerback Greedy Williams returned for 20 yards. As usual, LSU’s defense looks loaded with future NFL talent, but if its offense continues to settle in, it might be the most well-rounded team in Baton Rouge in years.

It’s a long road ahead for both Tigers squads. Still, both have a brief reprieve the rest of September; LSU gets Louisiana Tech and Ole Miss to round out its slate this month, while Auburn hosts Arkansas and Southern Miss. It’ll be October before there’s any more clarity at the top of the game’s toughest division.

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LSU football: Joe Burrow, Cole Tracy add their names to Tigers lore

LSU coach Ed Orgeron brought in Joe Burrow to play quarterback because he needed a smart, gutsy leader on offense.

He brought in Cole Tracy because he needed a gutsy, accurate placekicker.

After Saturday, the gut feeling is Orgeron made two good choices.

Burrow’s playmaking helped the No. 12 Tigers take a 10-0 lead on Auburn. But more important, his toughness and savvy helped LSU withstand 21 consecutive points by Auburn and get in position to win at the end.

And Tracy was dead solid perfect on a 42-yard field goal as time expired, giving Orgeron his biggest win in 24 games as LSU head coach, a 22-21 gut-check in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

LSU has had quarterback limitations for years, predating Orgeron. When the Tigers ended spring practice, Orgeron hadn’t seen what he was hoping to see from Myles Brennam, Lowell Narcisse or Justin McMillan.

So when Burrow started looking around for a new school after graduating from Ohio State, where he was a quarterback understudy, he found Orgeron waiting with open arms.

Burrow was a solid prospect who could make plays with his arm and legs, but his smarts immediately sold Orgeron and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger on him as the starter.

In the season opener against Miami, Burrow’s poise more than anything else suggested Orgeron and Ensminger had chosen wisely. The junior stood firm and, when necessary, moved adroitly and chose sensibly to help the Tigers roll to a 33-17 victory.

Burrow made a few plays a week later, but little was needed from him in a 31-0 cakewalk against Southeastern Louisiana.

Then came the trip to the Plains.

No. 7 Auburn and its menacing defense awaited Burrow in his third career and first SEC start. It was going to be a physical, hot, humid battle to the end.



Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Burrow had his ups and downs – nice start, ineffective middle and perhaps season-turning end.

He outplayed Jarrett Stidham, Auburn’s more experienced quarterback and one of the better ones in the SEC.

For the most part their statistics were even – Burrow completed 15 of 34 for 249 yards and a touchdown, Stidham completed 16 of 28 for 198 yards and a touchdown. But Stidham threw two interceptions, one on his first throw of the day, leading to an LSU touchdown.

Burrow has yet to turn the ball over as a Tiger. In fact, no Tiger has turned the ball over through three games.

A 71-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Derrick Dillon pulled LSU within two points (Burrow missed on a two-point conversion pass) midway through the fourth quarter. But a bunch of less spectacular plays comprised Burrow’s signature on this win.

After Stidham’s first interception, Burrow completed a 6-yard pass to Jonathan Giles on third and 4 and on third and 11 he completed a 15-yarder to Justin Jefferson.

The bookend to that possession was the winning drive, during which he teamed with Dee Anderson for 8 yards on third and 7, then on fourth and 7 he threw to Stephen Sullivan for 9 yards.

Joe Burrow was only 2-for-6 on LSU's winning drive but one completion converted a third-and-7 play and another came on fourth and 7.

That’s five crucial plays – a game-changing touchdown that covered nearly three-quarters of the field, three third downs that became first downs and one fourth down that became a first – on which Burrow hit five different receivers.

He and LSU were aided by a few defensive pass interference penalties, which are less likely to happen when an offense doesn’t have a credible passing threat.

LSU has often lacked one, but now it doesn’t thanks to Burrow.

As for Tracy, he too is a graduate transfer, coming from Division II Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., where he made 27 of 29 field goals last season. LSU’s tag team of Jack Gonsoulin and Connor Culp was a combined 16 of 27 last season.

Tracy was 5 for 5, including two kicks from 50 yards or more, in his first two games as a Tiger. On Saturday he missed from 53 yards, then converted from 33 and 27 to help put LSU in position to win at the end.

Forget the first eight field-goal attempts. Tracy’s ninth, after Burrow had driven the Tigers 52 yards in 14 plays, was the type of situation for which Orgeron brought in Tracy.

The senior perfectly split the uprights and sprinted up the field toward his teammates in celebration. The scene was remarkably reminiscent of one nearly seven years earlier, some 160 miles northwest of Auburn, when Drew Alleman celebrated his winning field goal in LSU’s epic 9-6 overtime win against Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

After exactly three games, Joe Burrow and Cole Tracy have written themselves into the heart of LSU football lore.

Les East is a New Orleans-based football writer who covers LSU for SaturdayDownSouth.com. Follow him on Twitter @Les_East.

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"Let’s start with the No. 12 Tigers, who upset No. 7 Auburn 22-21 on the road Saturday afternoon. While Alabama has obliterated everyone its faced so far in 2018, LSU has been the most impressive team relative to preseason expectations through the first three weeks of the season.

Had LSU gotten blitzed by Auburn — something that has happened a lot at Auburn recently — then it would have been easy to think that LSU’s Week 1 performance against Miami was a mirage and spurred more by Miami’s poor play than LSU’s excellence.

While no one is arguing that Miami did anything well that Sunday night, maybe it’s because LSU really did overwhelm the Hurricanes. LSU picked off Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham twice on Saturday including on Stidham’s first pass of the game.

After Auburn jumped out to a 21-10 lead early in the third quarter, LSU tightened the screws on defense again. Auburn’s last five possessions went punt, interception, missed field goal (52 yards), punt and punt.

We figured the LSU defense would be good in 2018. The offense was a big question mark. It wasn’t exactly thrilling against an Auburn team able to get pressure at times, but it was good enough. Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow threw for 249 yards and led scoring drives on LSU’s last two possessions for the final nine points of the game.

Given Burrow was playing just his third game for the Tigers, there’s reason to think it can get better even if we’re not going to ever confuse LSU’s offense with Oklahoma’s.

That improvement will be necessary if LSU wants to compete with the likes of Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama. The Tigers play all three of those teams in a row starting on Oct. 13. But with three winnable games before that stretch begins, LSU could enter that game against Georgia at 6-0. If you said you saw that coming, your house is probably decorated in purple and gold."


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22 minutes ago, Hatchertiger said:

Given Burrow was playing just his third game for the Tigers, there’s reason to think it can get better even if we’re not going to ever confuse LSU’s offense with Oklahoma’s.

This times 1,000.

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