Last Year's Loss To LSU A Motivator For AU

Auburn has not lost an SEC football game since last year's disappointing loss in Baton Rouge.

Auburn, Ala.--Since Auburn walked off the field last year in Baton Rouge after falling 35-21 to LSU, Coach Gus Malzahn’s team has maintained they found something in that second half when they took the fight to the home team early and often. This year Auburn is hoping it doesn’t take another loss to LSU to learn more about the 2014 team, and instead hopes to put memories of that rainy night at Tiger Stadium behind them once and for all.

“That was one of the defining moments of our entire year last year at halftime,” Malzahn said. “And we got embarrassed in the first half. They got after us real good. Not a whole lot was good in offense, defense or special teams.

"Our guys decided at halftime that 'hey, they weren't going to shut her down.' They were going to keep fighting. And we fought back, and it really gave us some momentum for the rest of the season.”

Fighting back was the key for Auburn in last year’s game after a terrible first half on a wet field at Tiger Stadium. Falling behind 21-0 after the first 30 minutes, Auburn had just 104 yards of total offense with a fumble, an interception, a turnover on downs and a fumbled punt that gave LSU the ball at the AU 10-yard line. Defensively, Auburn allowed 223 yards of total offense, including 154 on the ground.

Things changed in the second half, and in a big way.

Gaining just 73 yards on the ground on 21 rushing attempts in the first half, Auburn churned out 140 yards on 31 carries in the second half to finish the game with 213 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Just 6-16 through the air for 31 yards with one interception in the first half, Nick Marshall finished the game 17-33 for 224 yards. Gaining 333 yards in the final 30 minutes proved to be a big boost of confidence for Auburn even though the Tigers came up short in the game.

“I think last year that was a turning point in our season,” center Reese Dismukes said. “We didn’t play very well in the first half. We came out in the second half and were able to fight and get back in the game to some extent.

"I think it was just kind of a motivating factor for our team moving forward that we had that in us and we didn’t give up and we fought to the end of that game,” the senior added.

Off to a 4-0 start this season and ranked fifth in the country, Saturday’s game is a big one for Auburn if the Tigers hope to make a run at another SEC Championship in 2014. While it’s an opportunity to exact some revenge on LSU and continue a streak of wins over SEC opponents, Malzahn said it’s just the next game for his team and that’s the way they are approaching it.

“You are motivated big-picture wise,” Malzahn said. “As far as your opponent, you can't get any more motivated than you already are for a game like LSU at home.

“The personal things, you use stuff to motivate you during the course of the year, but as far as this game week, us and them, everyone's going to be extremely motivated to play their best.”

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