Auburn survives LSU 7-3

AUBURN, Ala. -- After a hard-fought defensive struggle, No. 6 LSU came up six yards short of beating rival No. 3 Auburn. Instead, the Tigers from the Plains held off a drive by LSU in the final seconds to win, 7-3, on Saturday.

LSU (2-1, 0-1 SEC) surrendered its first touchdown in four games, but wasn't able to get into the Auburn end zone with a last gasp in the final minute.


Late in the fourth quarter, Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC) made a gamble and lost on third-and-1 from its 47. Rather than handing off to Irons or going over center, Cox held the ball behind his back on the play action but didn't have a receiver open deep and passed incomplete short.


Auburn's Cody Bliss punted to the LSU 19, where the Tigers took over.


Russell threw a strike for 37 yards to Early Doucet that gave LSU new life. Three plays later, LSU was forced into a fourth-and-8 situation after the three rushes went for two yards. Russell's pass to Early Doucet inside the 5-yard line was battled away, as was the pass interference penalty on Auburn that was picked up long after the play.


LSU stopped Auburn three-and-out, but had only 66 seconds to get into the end zone.


A long pass down the left sideline to Craig Davis fell incomplete, but two of the same variety for 20 and 21 to Davis got LSU to the Auburn 40.


Russell, who had orchestrated six fourth-quarter comebacks in 18 career starts, then stepped up in the pocket to hit Bowe for a 21-yard gain to the 19-yard line with only 14.2 seconds left in the game.


A penalty pushed LSU to the 24-yard line with one play left and 2.5 seconds. Russell's pass to Davis on the left sideline was caught with no time remaining -- six yards short of the end zone -- when he was tackled before he could take a step toward the goal line.


The Auburn celebration ensued.


The loss was LSU's first on the road since Oct. 2, 2004, at No. 3 Georgia (45-16).


Russell finished 20-of-35 passing for 267 yards without being intercepted. Again, he and the Tigers weren't able to get into the end zone against Auburn despite out-gaining Auburn, 309-182.


Though neither team managed 100 yards rushing, it was LSU's inability to establish the run throughout the game that may have been the difference maker. LSU rushed 23 times for 42 net yards.


Auburn wasn't that much better, but got 70 yards from stud running back Kenny Irons on 25 carries.


Auburn's punter, Bliss, provided much needed field position throughout the day for Auburn, averaging 48.2 yards on six punts with a long of 62.


LSU's lone score of the game came on the last play of the first half when place kicker Colt David hit a career-best 42-yard field goal to give the LSU Tigers a 3-0 lead at the half.


In the defensive struggle that was the first half, the offenses managed just 153 of total offense -- LSU 93, Auburn 60.


The difference in the half was a John Vaughn missed 26-yard field goal that hit the left upright and bounced away harmlessly.


LSU led 3-0 at the break.


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