Defense Responds Following Rough Start

Auburn's defense didn't make enough plays in the loss to LSU, but they responded well following a tough first half.

Baton Rouge, La.--Almost before fans could get settled into their seats on a rainy night in Tiger Stadium, LSU running back Jeremy Hill was breaking through the Auburn defense for one of his three touchdowns on the night. Scoring from 49 and 10 yards out just over five minutes into the game on the way to a 184-yard night, Hill put an early stake in Auburn's heart on Saturday night.

Last season that would have finished off Auburn, but the 2013 Tigers weren't having that. Fighting back defensively to give themselves a fighting chance against a strong LSU team, coach Gus Malzahn's team showed some heart and that was something sophomore linebacker Cassanova McKinzy said they can take away from the loss.

"The only thing was we just didn't give up," McKinzy said. "That's not saying that was the thing we came into the game wanting, but once we were down it's hard to come back playing from behind in the SEC. The biggest thing we got out of tonight is that we didn't give up."

Focusing on shutting down the run coming into the game, Auburn made several big mistakes early leading to the big half of running by Hill. McKinzy said that was the most disappointing thing about the loss because when they went back to the basics on defense the stops started coming.

"We had a lot of schemes to try to confuse them," McKinzy said. "In the first half we had a lot of missed assignments. We came back in the second half and made it real simple. We got after it. We just made a lot of mistakes from the different schemes we installed this week for the game. We went back to the basics and things went better."

While the schemes played into the rough start, there is no doubt that Auburn got shellshocked early by LSU. Down two touchdowns before they could get a feel for the game, junior cornerback Jonathon Mincy said once they settled in the defense did a solid job, but it just took too long.

"We kind of regrouped in the second half," Mincy said. "The first half we didn't really execute like we wanted to on defense. We had a couple of explosive plays and that kind of hurt us.

"It was really just settling down and people feeling comfortable out there," he added. "We were just going with more playcalling we were more comfortable with. That allowed people to fill their gaps more comfortably and just play ball."

After falling behind 21-0, Auburn's defense responded with six possessions of less than five plays that totaled just 24 yards for the LSU offense. Even though the Bengal Tigers mixed in two more touchdown drives, there was never a sign of Auburn's defenders playing less than 100 percent. McKinzy said nobody is happy with a loss, but they learned plenty about themselves and that will pay off later in the season.

"I have respect for everybody on the team," McKinzy said. "We didn't give up. We talk about all the time just being together. We stayed together. If somebody did something wrong and gave up big yardage or cost us a touchdown we didn't get on them. We just came back the next time and did the right thing. That's a part of coming together."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories