Late score lifts LSU to victory

LSU's defense was expected to carry the Tigers to victory if they were going to win on the road but instead it was a backup quarterback that led the Bayou Bengals to their first victory at Auburn since 1998.

AUBURN, Ala. - Backup quarterback Jarrett Lee was 0-for-5 in the first half with his last pass going for a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown by Gabe McKenzie.


The redshirt freshman from Brenham, Texas, stepped up big in the second half and threw the game-winning score to Brandon LaFell from 18 yards out with 1:03 left on the clock to lift No. 6 ranked LSU to a 26-21 win over No. 9 ranked Auburn.


“I give great credit to the Auburn team. I thought they played really well. They came up with a great plan, they were smart and they played hard,” said LSU head coach Les Miles.


“We expected a battle,” Miles added. “For my team, I thought they showed great poise. We gave up seven points early and as a team we improved. We knew we had receivers and quarterbacks that could do that. To be tested away and by a very capable opponent and answering that test is just what this team needed.”


Auburn’s defense had LSU’s number in the first half and lived up to its billing as being one of the top defenses in the country as it limited the Tigers to only 105 yards on the offensive side of the ball.


The second half was a different story as LSU moved the ball at will and tallied 293 yards in the final two stanzas.


“In the first half on defense, we played awesome,” said Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville. “In the second half they got something going in the passing game and stayed with it. That opened up the running game and kept us off-balance.”


Lee struggled in the first half but midway through the third quarter when Andrew Hatch went out with a concussion he was called back into action with the Tigers facing third and four from their own 45-yard line.


Lee completed a pass to Richard Dickson for 16 yards and following two incompletions he hooked up with Chris Mitchell on a 39-yard scoring pass where he was under heavy pressure but got rid of the ball in a nick of time.


“I knew I would get back in,” said Lee, who was 11 for 17 in the second half with 182 yards and two touchdowns. “I just knew when the opportunity came to me, I had to make the right decisions. Unfortunately, I did not make the right decisions the first time, but when they called my name again, I came through.”


LSU followed that up with a successful on-side kick only to go three and out and put the defense back on the field.


After driving down to the LSU 32-yard line, Auburn quarterback Chris Todd threw his second interception of the game with Chris Hawkins being the recipient yet again.


After an 11-yard run by Charles Scott, who finished with 132 yards on 21 carries, and two completions to LaFell, offensive coordinator Gary Crowton pulled one of his tricks out of the bag and Keiland Williams took a pitch from Lee and then heaved it to Demetrius Byrd from 22 yards out to give LSU its first lead of the game at 17-14 as the third quarter expired.


The Tiger defense, which held Auburn to 320 total yards of offense, forced an Auburn punt and then it was Charles Scott time again as the junior running back ran for 52 yards on the drive that ended with a 32-yard Colt David field goal to give LSU a 20-14 lead with 8:27 left in the game.


Auburn would not go down without a fight, however, and Todd took his team 74 yards in five plays which included two big completions.


The first was a second down pass to Tim Hawthorne on the right sideline for 58 yards and after two Ben Tate runs he hooked up with Robert Dunn in the back of the endzone where he beat Danny McCray for a 15 yard score to put Auburn up 21-20.


LSU got the ball back, only to go three and out, but Auburn did the same to set up the final march by the Bayou Bengals and their young signal caller.


LSU started at its own 46-yard line and following a run by Williams, Lee completed consecutive passes to Jared Mitchell for seven and nine yards. Scott then ran up the middle for three yards then took a screen from Lee for nine yards.


After a Quinn Johnson run for two yards to give the Tigers a first down, Lee found LaFell in the right flat and when an Auburn defender was a step slow at breaking on the ball, LaFell scooted into the endzone to give LSU the hard-fought win.


“This is probably one of our biggest wins,” said LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson.


And a win that the LSU fan base has been waiting for.


Game Notes:


LSU’s onside kick midway through the third quarter was the first the Tigers have recovered since Dec. 1, 2001 against Auburn in a game that was moved because of 9/11. 


Here are some notable updated trends for LSU under head coach Les Miles: The Tigers are 34-2 when rushing for 100 yards or more ... LSU is 34-3 when scoring 20 or more points ... 12-3 record in road games ... 8-3 record vs. Top 10 teams.

LSU’s first win at Auburn since Sept. 19, 1998 when LSU defeated Auburn 31-19. The stretch lasted 10 years and one day.


Chris Mitchell hauled in his first career touchdown pass on a 39-yard throw from Jarrett Lee with 6:28 in the third quarter.


Keiland Williams completed his first career TD pass on a 22-yard throw to Demetrius Byrd as time expired in the third quarter. Williams is the first LSU running back to complete a TD pass since Kevin Faulk did so to Larry Foster versus Mississippi State on Oct. 26, 1996.


Charles Scott registered his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game of the season. Scott became the first LSU RB to rush for three consecutive 100-yard games since Joseph Addai did it against Vanderbilt, Florida and Auburn in October 2005. Addai ran for 102 against the Commodores, 156 against the Gators and 105 against Auburn. Scott ran for 160 yards against Appalachian State, 102 against North Texas and 132 against Auburn.


David broke the school record of career points by a kicker with his nine points tonight. David’s career total of 298 shattered the old mark of 292 set by David Browndyke (1986-89).

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