LSU Rains On Auburn's Parade

The Auburn football team rallied but came up short, falling 35-21 at LSU on Saturday night.

Baton Rouge, La.--The first road trip of the season showed that Auburn still has a way to go to compete against a Top 10 opponent on the road as LSU took command early and held off a second half comeback attempt on the way to a 35-21 SEC football victory on Saturday night.

The Auburn defense couldn't contain LSU's big tailback, 6-2, 235 Jeremy Hill, for much of the night. Hill rushed for 184 touchdowns and three touchdowns on 25 carries in the rain and muck at Tiger Stadium.

Auburn actually out-rushed LSU 228-213 with Tre Mason gaining 132 yards and scoring twice, but two interceptions, a lost fumble and a botched punt play was too deep of a hole for the visitors to climb out of Saturday night.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said, "I think it was obvious at the first of the game we didn't respond very well to the elements, the crowd, and kind of got ourselves in a hole.

"I am proud of our guys in the second half," he said. "They came back and battled. They were fighting. We made some mistakes."

Malzahn noted that even though the first loss of the season "hurts right now" he said he saw some positives, too, on a night his Tigers were out-gained 457 to 437 by LSU. "I think there were some good things we can build on," the head coach said.

LSU didn't secure the victory until the closing minutes when the Bayou Bengals stopped Auburn after Malzahn's team had driven to a first and goal at the four yard line. However, a false start penalty, a sack, two incomplete passes and a short pass ended AU's last threat at the LSU 12.

Mason agreed with his head coach that the Tigers fought hard for four quarters. "We plan on never quitting," the junior said. "Of course, we are not happy with the loss, but I am proud of my teammates for never quitting until the clock said zero."

Senior defensive end Dee Ford, who made his first start of the season, said he liked his team's fight, but said the early hole the Tigers found themselves in was tough to overcome after Auburn quickly fell behind by 14 points.

"We just had to calm down," Ford said. "They didn't do anything we hadn't seen. We just had to start executing and that is what happened."

First Half Scoring:

The home team took advantage of a pair of mistakes by Auburn to score two quick touchdowns to jump to a 14-0 advantage in the opening quarter

The first was a missed handoff exchange between Marshall and Cameron Artis-Payne on a fourth down and one play at the LSU 41 on the opening possession of the night.

The Bayou Bengals took over at the 43 and scored three plays later as tailback Hill found a big hole in the middle of the AU defense and rumbled in 49 yards for the score.

The next touchdown was set up by Auburn's first special teams breakdown of the season when punter Steven Clark fumbled a snap giving LSU the football at the AU 10. On the next play Hill ran over left guard and wasn't slowed on his way to the end zone to make the score 14-0 at the 9:56 mark of the first quarter.

Linebacker Cassanova McKinzy tackles Zach Mettenberger.

With the visiting Tigers continuing to struggle to put together a drive another power run up the middle by Hill set up the third touchdown. J.C. Copeland, LSU's 270-pound fullback scored from a yard out with 12:34 left in the second quarter after Hill rumbled for 54 yards on a drive that covered 73 yards on just four plays.

Halftime Numbers: Auburn converted just one of eight third downs (6-17 for the game) in the first two quarters and went into the locker with just 104 yards of total offense on 37 plays.

LSU churned out 223 yards on 31 plays with Hill personally accounting for 152 on 14 runs.

Marshall struggled with his throwing accuracy in the first half, hitting 6-16 passes for just 31 yards and one interception.

Second Half Scoring:

Auburn kicked off to LSU to start the third quarter and tried to catch the Bayou Bengals napping with an onsides play, but the home team was alert and got the ball with a fair catch.

However, on the next play Jermaine Whitehead intercepted an out route giving Auburn its first turnover of the night and possession at midfield.

"It was a great play," Whitehead said. "I think the quarterback saw me and I think he wanted to try me a little bit. It was a great ‘bang-bang' play. If my hands were a little slower he would have made the play."

Going to its pace attack Malzahn's Tigers drove the ball for a score on seven plays with Mason scoring on a first and goal run from the two.

Despite getting to kick from midfield after there was a personal foul on the extra point, Cody Parkey drove the ball into the end zone on a low line drive kick.

Taking over at the 25, LSU scored on seven plays with Hill racing in from six yards out when the middle was jammed and he cut outside right tackle for the score with 10:08 left in the third quarter to make the score 28-14.

LSU had a chance to add a field goal on its next possession, but came up short on a fake field goal play on fourth down. Auburn took over on its six and drove the length with the big play a 52-yard pass from Marshall to Sammie Coates to the LSU one.

From there the Tigers overcame an illegal procedure penalty and an illegal pass to score from the two-yard line on a run by Mason with three minutes left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 28-14.

Auburn's best chance for a comeback took a blow on the first play of the fourth quarter when Zach Mettenberger converted a third down and nine with a 33-yard pass play to Jarvis Landry to make the score 35-14.

Auburn's final points came with 6:33 left on a drive that covered 88 yards on 10 plays that featured another long pass to Coates. Artis-Payne scored from 12 yards out to make the score to 35-21.

Auburn then looked like it had executed a successful onside kick as Parkey fell on the ball at the 45-yard line. The officials on the field ruled it was AU's ball, but the replay booth overturned the call and gave it to LSU at the 44.

Auburn's defense forced a three and out. Auburn again drove deep into LSU territory, but turned the ball over on downs fourth and goal at the LSU 17 after having first and goal at the four.

Star Of the Game, Offense: Mason averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

Star Of the Game, Defense: Robenson Therezie made eight tackles from his "star" position.

Stat Of the Game: Auburn's three turnovers, plus a muffed punt, vs. one interception and one fumble for the home team made a major difference in the outcome Saturday night.

"We took such a strong lead initially, but I just didn't like how we finished," LSU coach Les Miles said.

The Tigers have an off week before returning to action a week from Saturday as Ole Miss visits Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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