Right Place, Right Time for Lutzenkirchen

Philip Lutzenkirchen talks about his two big plays in Auburn's 16-13 victory at 10th ranked South Carolina

Columbia, S.C.--It was a game of fortune for Auburn, and in particular Philip Lutzenkirchen, who scored the game winning touchdown on a nine-yard catch from Barrett Trotter with 1:38 remaining in the game.

On a third-and-five play at the South Carolina nine, Lutzenkirchen lined up tight end to the right and leaked out into the left flats. As he was crossing the end zone, linebacker Reginald Bowens reached across Lutzenkirchen's body and punched the ball out. The Auburn tight end fell on the ball just as it was rolling out of the side of the end zone, and the official on the spot ruled it a touchdown.

"I knew I had caught it," Lutzenkirchen said. "I didn't know if I had gotten on it before it went out of bounds. I was nervous, and it was a long two minutes. I got lucky on that one.

"I knew I had caught the ball and crossed the plane," he added. "I just didn't know what the refs were going to say after reviewing it. Like I said, I got lucky."

While the official statistics say it was a nine-yard touchdown reception, the official standing over the pylon didn't raise his hands in the air until Lutzenkirchen recovered the ball in the end zone.

Either way, Lutzenkirchen did eventually have possession in the end zone for the Auburn touchdown.

Head referee Matt Moore didn't explain much after the replay, simply stating, "After further review the ruling on the field is confirmed."

Lutzenkirchen is now tied with Robert Johnson for the career record at Auburn with 10 receiving touchdowns by a tight end.

The play that Auburn ran was the same play that offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn called for the Tigers to complete their comeback against Alabama last year.

Pre-play Travante Stallworth motioned from left to right in the backfield. On the snap Jay Wisner ran a drag from left to right, leaving the left side of the field wide open.

"We have a bunch of plays in our playbook that we have when the play is on the line in the fourth quarter that we'll probably get a touchdown, and that's just one of them," Lutzenkirchen noted. "I just have two pretty big touchdowns out of that play."

"We run so many bootlegs with Barrett and I'm out on the edge blocking a guy solo," he added of the play. "We rolled Barrett out, I blocked a guy, just released and Brandon Mosley took over the block. It was great protection, Mike (Dyer) came in and chipped a guy and Barrett put the ball right on the money."


Lutzenkirchen's play at the end was extremely close.

Though Lutzenkirchen had just one catch in the game, his touchdown at the end wasn't his only big play. And it wasn't his only play of fortune.

With just a minute remaining in the third quarter down 13-9, Auburn faced a third-and-13 near midfield. The Tigers had just 10 players on the field and Lutzenkirchen ran on at the last second, lining up at left tackle.

"We were supposed to have a tackle over-type formation, and I wasn't in on it," he explained. "Whoever was supposed to be in on it didn't run in. I knew the position so I just went in there. It was just one of those weird plays."

Trotter rolled to his right and threw and interception to C.C. Whitlock. Whitlock reversed field, had a host of blockers in front of him and it appeared for a moment he might have a chance to score.

"Whatever I did on defense in high school kind of came back to me," Lutzenkirchen said. He was a tight end and part-time defensive end at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga. "I saw the play happening as it was going on. Number 5 and #7 came to block me and I slipped right through them. I just figured I might as well take a shot on the ball instead of making the tackle because I knew I could make the tackle."

Lutzenkirchen stripped the ball from Whitlock, fell on it and came out of the pile with possession. That gave Auburn a fresh set of downs and kept the Tigers in positive field position until they marched down for the game winning drive.

"We knew all week that it was going to be a fight," Lutzenkirchen said of the game. "We beat them two times last year, and they were going to come out hot, ready to play us and try to get after us. We preached physicality all week and finishing. And we finished.

"We've been trying to find the identity of this team for the past three or four games," he added. "It's good getting a win in the first game of October in this long stretch of games that we'll have and trying to build off it."


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