After getting off to a fast start, No. 10 Auburn couldn't sustain its lead in Death Valley, falling on the road to LSU 27-23.
Auburn looked to be rolling early on, scoring on its first four possessions of the game, but the momentum began to shift in LSU's favor towards the end of the first half. A Danny Etling touchdown pass to Russell Gage with 1:44 to play in the first half put the Bayou Bengals down nine heading into the break. Auburn missed out on the chance to end LSU's drive early, but a dropped interception kept the hopes of LSU alive.
Kerryon Johnson compiled 116 yards rushing in the first half, but after the break, only gained 40 yards the game. Kam Pettway saw action but was not much of a factor, much like the rest of Auburn's second half running game. Pettway only managed 7 yards on four carries.
But give credit where credit is due. The LSU defense clamped down on Auburn after the break. Both teams traded punts all third quarter, and LSU held Auburn to drives of 27, 5, 25, 2, 0 and 9 yards in the second half. Jarrett Stidham after throwing for 159 yards by halftime, saw those passing lanes close as he ended with 165 for the game.
While LSU held Auburn scoreless in the second half, they were energized by a big D.J. Chark punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Chark's 75-yard touchdown return really turned the tide in the game as LSU found new life.
The Tigers of Baton Rouge, down 23-21, pinned Auburn inside its own 5-yard line with 7:47 to play. Auburn, was forced to punt on that drive, and the LSU offense took the field with a chance to take the lead. While only going 19 yards, the Tigers of LSU chewed up over four minutes of game time before a 42-yard field goal from Connor Culp gave LSU its first lead of the game.
Auburn, still with all three timeouts, had an opportunity to drive the field and get into field goal range for the SEC's all-time leading scorer in Daniel Carlson. Carlson was also 3-for-3 on the day in field goals. Auburn was unable to gain a single yard on that drive, and head coach Gus Malzahn burned the first of his three timeouts to talk about a fourth down strategy. That strategy would fail as Stidham's pass would fall incomplete, and LSU could take over in Auburn territory.
Auburn used its final two timeouts, and got a third down stop to force LSU to kick another field goal, leaving Auburn with one final shot to win the game. Down 27-23 with 38 seconds to play, it was Auburn's turn. Stidham rushed for a first down on the drive, but then three consecutive incompletions and an LSU sack ended any chance of Auburn winning the game.
The loss means Auburn's perfect SEC conference record now stands at 3-1, 5-2 overall and they still have not won in Baton Rouge since the 1999 season.
Next up for the Tigers, a date with Arkansas on the road in Fayetteville. Kick off has yet to be determined.
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