The home-standing Tigers were the first team to keep LSU under 40 points this year, but the Auburn offense managed just 86 yards on 30 carries and the passing attack netted just 97 more as Kiehl Frazier completed 13-22 passes with two interceptions.
With the loss Auburn fell to 1-3 while LSU, ranked No. 2 nationally, escaped with another win to improve to 4-0.
"We played against our second Top 10 team and had chances to win the game, but we didn't finish and it is disappointing, but our goal every week is to improve," Coach Gene Chizik said.
"I saw a lot of improvement out of our football team tonight in a lot of different ways," Chizik said. "Give LSU a lot of credit. They are an extremely talented and extremely physical football team, and they are very good so it was a hard-fought battle, and we didn't come out on the right end of that.
"That is very disappointing to me, and everybody in the locker room," the coach added. "We worked hard in preparation for the game, and I couldn't be more proud of the players for the preparation that they put into the game. We went into the game fully expecting to win, and it didn't happen.
"We are going to go back to work and try to continue to stay on track for improvement, and we have this week off which we are going to be able to rest up a little--try to get a lot of corrections made based on what we saw again tonight, go back to work this week. I'm very proud of the kids in the locker room, and they played very, very hard tonight. They put it out there, and they were al in, too, so that is where we are."
Despite the improvement on his side of the ball, defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said he was disappointed with what he saw. "You can't be happy when you give up 182 rushing yards," he said. "That isn't good enough.
"We are trying to get better every week," he added. "My message is we played faster tonight and that is important, but we have a long ways to go."
Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said, "We knew we had a big challenge in front of us. We wanted to do was control the game as much as we possibly could. We thought it would come down to four or five plays that would be difference and we just fell short."
Despite his quarterback being unable to deliver with the game on the line once again, Loeffler defended the play of Kiehl Frazier. "That was a great defense he faced tonight," said the offensive coordinator, who moved down from the press box to give support to Frazier and Jonathan Wallace, who made his debut at quarterback in what the coach said was a limited package designed to improve the running game.
Wallace carried the ball three times for 15 yards and did not throw a pass. Loeffler said that Wallace performed well. Commenting on Frazier, he said, "He fought hard and is getting better."
Auburn came out aggressively, throwing three passes to open the game, but came up incomplete each time although the Tigers just missed hitting on a bomb to Sammie Coates.
However, LSU's drive did lead to points. On first down, after an illegal procedure penalty, Tre Mason was ruled down before he got back to the goal line for a safety giving LSU a 2-0 lead.
After the free kick, LSU started at its own 41 and drove 59 yards on nine plays with Michael Ford scoring on a sweep of left end from a yard out with 4:18 left in the first quarter.
After another three-and-out for the offense, it was defensive end Corey Lemonier who changed the momentum for the home team with a sack of Mettenberger that was recovered by Angelo Blackson at the LSU 26.
Corey Lemonier sacks Mettenberger
A 19-yard run by Mason to the four set up a four-yard touchdown run in front of the student section as Onterio McCalebb scored with the help of a big block by fullback Jay Prosch. That cut the LSU lead to 9-7 on the final play of the opening quarter.
With the Auburn defense playing better in the second quarter, the only points of the period came on a 40-yard field goal by Cody Parkey with 1:21 left before halftime. The Tigers moved the ball 42 yards on nine plays to set up a score. The big gainer was a 31-yard pass play to Emory Blake.
A turnover by Auburn allowed LSU to regain the lead in the third quarter. A fumbled punt by Bray gave LSU the ball at the Auburn 48. The visitors drove 35 yards on six plays before scoring on a 30-yard field goal by Drew Alleman with 5:26 left in the third quarter.
Auburn never seriously threatened to score the rest of the way. LSU's Alleman missed a 34-yard field goal with 34 seconds.
Auburn got the ball back with 39 seconds left at its own 20 and no timeouts left. The Tigers could only move 17 yards on five plays before the clock hit 0:00.
True freshman cornerback Josh Holsey, who played a major role in the defensive effort, said, :It was a good game. Both teams played well. We just have to learn how to finish in the end. We need to go back to the drawing board and get to work again."
Senior tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen was disconsolate after the game which he labeled "disappointing."
"We fought our tails off," Lutzenkirchen said. "Defense played really well. Offense didn't. We kept the defense on the field most of the game and you can't do that."
Corey Lemonier enters the stadium during the Tiger Walk on Saturday.
Auburn vs. LSU Game Statistics:
Quoting LSU Coach Les Miles: "First of all, anytime you come down to Auburn and you get a victory on the road, it's a great win, and if I look back in the times of being here in many different scenarios, this was just like a traditional LSU-Auburn game. Nothing routine about it.
"We had a nice drive, get down to the one-yard-line, lose a center somewhere in the drive. The young center gets on the goal line and has a hiccup and we turn the ball over and turn the ball over again and suddenly instead of having a different score, we're in a dog fight start to finish.
"We were sloppy. It's interesting, we practice the ability not to have penalties, but what happens is guys lose their poise. This is a tremendous lesson for us which is something that we'll certainly be able to teach from in a very aggressive manner, but again, the piece that needed to be tested the most which put us in a tight game in the back end--you have to have a drive to win a game.
"Frankly, defense played extremely well. Played better in the second half. The offense monitored the drive when they needed to and were tested and answered the call. Not perfect, work to do, but we'll take a victory on the road at Auburn."