REPORT CARD: LSU 30, Auburn 24

If a movie does well, Hollywood will generate a franchise until it's long played out, the original actors have been replaced, or the public has finally had enough and stopped showing up to the box office.

Apparently, LSU and Auburn have the same mindset.

One week after getting second-billing in "The Bluegrass Miracle II: Kentucky's Revenge," LSU returned home to star in what will likely be dubbed, "The Earthquake Game II: Byrd on a Wire." The seismograph is no longer around in the geology department to tell if the ground really shook when Demetrius Byrd hauled in Matt Flynn's game-winning touchdown pass. Even if it wasn't, Baton Rouge was probably vibrating from the shouting of fans just prior to that play begging for the ball to be snapped or for a timeout to be called to kick a field goal.


Whether the earth moved again is debatable, but what is undeniable is that this year's LSU-Auburn match-up added another chapter to the legacy of this SEC Western Division showdown and has more than likely decided which team will represent the division in the SEC Championship Game.


Of course, there were several rejected titles for this sequel including, "The Earthquake Game II: Some Refs Just Love Attention," and "The Earthquake Game II: Early, Byrd Catches the Worm."





After coming away with one score against four punts and a fumble in the first two quarters, LSU rebounded in the second half to score on five of six possessions. If Brandon LaFell hadn't accidentally given Auburn an interception, the Tigers may have been 100-percent on offense over the course of the third and fourth quarters.


As LSU head coach Les Miles intoned afterwards, Matt Flynn looked like that guy everyone saw in his first start in the Peach Bowl against Miami a couple of years ago. He got the ball to open receivers, put the ball in places where only teammates really had access to it, and even used his feet to better LSU's field position.


Against an Auburn team that held Arkansas' backfield to miniscule yardage, LSU rushed for 169 yards (5.1 yards per play) and threw for 319 more. With some more catches, the Tigers would have eclipsed the 500-yard barrier against Auburn.


Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton certainly looked like he had the keys to the car, and it looked like he found every hairpin turn possible. A couple of drops and ball security keep the performance from getting a higher rating.








Something seemed to happen to LSU's defense following Chaz Ramsey's cheap shot that could have potentially ended Glenn Dorsey's season, if not his career, in the third quarter.  The Tigers simply seemed to get more aggressive.


It was a bit disappointing to see the Tigers give up 17 points to Auburn in the first half alone. An 11-play, 63-yard drive for a touchdown by the visitors looked extremely easy, and later drives of 90 and 83 yards gave Auburn 10 points, including Auburn's last drive of nine plays that seemingly dashed LSU's hopes.


Take away a three-play, three-yard drive for a touchdown setup by a fumble, however, and LSU only gave up three scores. That's three out of 10 possessions on which Auburn was allowed to score, and one was a field goal. The Tigers forced seven punts and, although they weren't able to force any turnovers, they did sack Brandon Cox twice, hurry him three times, and knock down passes at the line of scrimmage on three occasions. LSU had seven PBUs in all. Auburn also had five three-and-outs, including three in the second half.







Colt David is now LSU's career PAT leader with 131 and has now made 45 straight. His three field goals have him tied for seventh on LSU's career field goals made list with 26, and he is third all-time in points scored by a kicker with 209. Only John Corbello (279) and David Browndyke (292) are ahead of him. He is at No. 6 in career scoring overall.


Following kickoffs, Auburn started past its 26 yard line just twice. The visitors were no farther than their own 25 yard line after punts.


LSU's recovery teams were alert on what appeared to be an onsides kick after Auburn made the score 14-7, but Chad Jones struggled a bit fielding punts. He fumbled once during a return and muffed another. Fortunately for the Tigers, LSU recovered both miscues. Additionally, the Tigers were called for a block in the back.


Grade: C+





After its first loss of the season, a heartbreaking, time-consuming affair, LSU entered its game against Auburn looking a little bit sluggish. The boo-birds came out at times, and let the coaching staff know of a couple of things they disapproved of during the contest. At the end of both the first and second halves, questionable time management was an issue.


With 36 seconds showing on the clock in the second quarter, LSU called a timeout on a fourth and 11 at Auburn's 49 yard line. Instead of letting the clock run and trying a ‘Hail Mary' with a few seconds left, LSU's timeout made it seem like it was trying to conserve clock to continue the drive. Instead, the Tigers came back out onto the field and punted. Graciously, Auburn allowed the clock to expire.


As time dwindled down in the fourth quarter, LSU made the decision to go for it all.


That's fine, but the Tigers cut it way closer than they ever imagined. Maybe there would have been a second left on the clock if Flynn's pass would have fallen incomplete, maybe not. But championship dreams came way too close to being dashed last Saturday night.

A strong third and fourth quarter offensively in which the Tigers scored on five of six possessions and held Auburn on all but one drive helped this grade.



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