Report Card: LSU vs. Auburn

You can say one thing about LSU's 20-17 overtime win over Auburn on Saturday, the Tigers seemed to have fixed the problem with penalties and turnovers.

Coming into Saturday's SEC showdown with Auburn, the Tigers were playing well defensively and on special teams. The offense seemed to be coming of age as JaMarcus Russell and his receivers are gaining confidence and timing. And the running game, led by Joseph Addai, has been carrying LSU to one win after another.


The only problem to this point for LSU has been a ridiculous numbers of turnovers and penalties that has had the Tiger offense handcuffed. The LSU defense had consistently been put in one bad situation after another and if not for lights out punting by Chris Jackson, LSU might not have won some of the games it did.


On Saturday, the Tigers eliminated the haunting mistakes.


LSU did not turn the ball over in the game and the Tigers were flagged a season-low five times for 30 yards.

But like in golf when your killing you driver but can't putt, or vice versa, the Tigers couldn't get it all together against Auburn.


Sure enough the turnovers were missing and the penalties were at a minimum, LSU surrendered over 450 yards on defense and allowed an opposing running back to top the century mark for the first time this season.


On offense, Joseph Addai was solid as a rock, as usual, but the passing game sputtered constantly as JaMarcus Russell watched one pass after another hit receivers in the hands and fall harmlessly to the ground.


On special teams, Skyler Green produced a big highlight with his punt return for a touchdown, but two missed field goals dampened the mood a bit. Chris Jackson did convert two clutch field goals down the stretch to win the game for LSU though.



The offense:


LSU played in its second overtime game of the season Saturday night.


It wasn't necessary.


Had Dwayne Bowe held on to a touchdown pass from Russell in the early minutes of the fourth quarter, no overtime would have been required.


(However, you could argue if Aubunr kicker John Vaughn had made one of five missed field goals, things would have been different as well).


Bowe was all alone in the back of end zone, but bobbled the game-clinching touchdown away. He sat on the ground for half a minute in disbelief that he didn't hang on.


"Great players drop a touchdown pass," Bowe said. "That'll be the last one this year."


It wasn't the only one in the game though.


In overtime, on third down Russell had Craig Davis sized up for a wide open touchdown in the north end zone.


As Davis waited for the all, early Doucet cut in front of him not knowing the pass was intended for Davis.


Doucet dropped the ball and LSU was forced to kick a field goal.


Russell ended the game 16 of 33, but should have had something in the neighborhood of 22 completions in the game.


As for the sophomore quarterback, Russell looked good at times, but at others, he scrambled wildly side to side pointing out receivers as if playing sandlot football on the middle school playground. He was slowed by an injured wrist on his throwing hand, but he will now have two weeks to heal up as LSU faces North Texas and Appalachian State.


Joseph Addai recorded his fourth 100-yard game this year rushing for 106 yards, but did not score a touchdown. Always hard to tackle, Addai made something out of nothing more than once. He also had a couple of great catches out of the backfield.


Addai is without a doubt the featured back for the Tigers. Justin Vincent and Shyrone Carey combined for four yards on three carries.


Grade: C+



The Defense:


LSU has hung its hat on its defense over the last three weeks.


The Tiger stoppers rank among the best in the nation in rushing defense as well as scoring defense, but you couldn't tell Saturday.


LSU gave up 218 yards rushing to Auburn's Kenny Irons, the most since the Tigers surrendered 281 to Alabama's Shaun Alexander in 1996. With a bruising running style, Irons broke tackle after tackle even ripping off a 74-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.


The LSU pass rush sufficiently pressured Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox. Cox did throw for 221 yards (capitalizing on a couple of big plays), but he completed just 16 of 40 passes and LSU sacked him three times.


In the Tigers defense's defense, Skyler Green's punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter kept the LSU stoppers on the field a long time as Auburn held a 10:15 to 4:45 advantage of time of possession in the opening period.


While LSU played with a bend but don't break mentality in the game, remember they didn't break.


Grade: B-



Special Teams:


Chris Jackson knocked through two big field goals, one to tie the game (45 yards) with just over a minute left and a 30-yarder in overtime, which turned out to be the game winner.


But he and Colt David each missed field goals during regulation that could have been the difference in the game.

Jackson wasn't as sharp punting the ball dropping just one of seven punts inside the 20 for a 38-yard average, but he was adequate.


Skyler Green made arguably the play of the game when he returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. However, Auburn, much like Florida a week earlier, did not punt to Green again electing to use a rugby-style kick that bounces around disallowing Green to setup an effective return.


While the special teams weren't great, Green and Jackson in essence won the game for LSU.


Grade: A





Well, well, well.


After the Tennessee meltdown, Les Miles has managed (granted pretty nerve-racking) wins over a air of formidable SEC teams. Whatever the case, wins over Florida and Auburn in successive games is quite an accomplishment.


Miles and his staff get somewhat of a reprieve for the next two weeks as LSU faces off against lesser competition in North Texas and Appalachian State, but the focus will return when the Tigers go to Alabama.


While the loss to the Volunteers is still lingering, a win at Alabama could erase most memories of that as LSU should be in the drivers seat at that point on the road to Atlanta.


Grade: B+

Tiger Blitz Top Stories