BATON ROUGE, La. -- Jeremy Hill rushed for 184 yards on 25 carries, including touchdown runs of 49, 10 and 6 yards, and Zach Mettenberger added a 32-yard scoring pass to Jarvis Landry in the fourth quarter as No. 6 LSU held on to defeat Auburn 35-21 on Saturday night at Tiger Stadium.
Hill had 151 yards on 14 carries at halftime. He appeared to tweak his left leg and came limping off the field after a 14-yard gain early in the third quarter. But he returned in the same series to score his final touchdown.
Mettenberger finished 14-of-22 for 229 yards and one touchdown -- his 10th in four games -- but the SEC's passing efficiency leader threw his first interception of the season. Auburn (3-1), however, turned the ball over four times, leading to 14 LSU points.
Leading 28-7 midway through the third quarter, LSU could have padded its advantage to 24 points, but coach Les Miles couldn't help himself, deciding to pass up a 32-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-10 and instead have holder Seth Fruge, a linebacker, take the snap and run off left guard.
Fruge was stopped 2 yards short and Auburn took over on downs at its 6.
Nick Marshall then drove Auburn 94 yards in 10 plays to cut the deficit to 28-14 on a 2-yard run by Tre Mason, his second scoring run of the quarter.
Mettenberger bailed out his coach's questionable decision by taking LSU 81 yards on it next possession, getting the payoff with a 32-yard strike on a crossing pattern to Jarvis Landry, putting LSU back uo 35-14 with 14:52 left.
Auburn continued to fight, making it 35-21 on Cameron Artis-Payne's 12-yard run with 6:33 left, capping a 10-play, 88-yard drive. Auburn nearly turned the game when kicker Cody Parkey appeared to reover a pooched onside kick up the middle of the field.
But after giving Auburn possession, the replay booth ruled that Parkey had touched the ball just before it traveled 10 yards, giving LSU possession. After an LSU punt, Jalen Mills picked off Marshall's pass at the LSU 20 with 3:15 left.
LSU converted two Auburn fumbles into quick touchdowns -- on runs of 49 and 10 yards by Hill -- and raced to a 21-0 lead with 12:34 left in the second quarter.
The first fumble was the result of a botched exchange between quarterback Nick Marshall and fullback Cameron Artis-Payne on a fourth-and-1 at the LSU 43. The second came when punter Steven Clark took his eye off the snap, allowing Duke Riley to recover for LSU at the Auburn 10.
Hill scored touchdowns on his first two carries, and the plays looked almost identical. He found a gaping hole up the middle and then outraced the Auburn secondary to the end zone. Hill nearly had another long-distance score in the second quarter when he raced 54 yards up the gut and then turned to the left sideline. But Auburn cornerback Jonathon Mincy had the angle and pushed him out at the 1.
That simply delayed the inevitable, with fullback J.C. Copeland diving over for the score on the next play, putting LSU up 21-0. By that time, Hill had amassed 140 yards on eight carries,
LSU could not take advantage of a third Auburn turnover -- a Craig Loston interception of a wild deep throw by Marshall. The Auburn defense finally slowed down the LSU running attack by stacking eight men in the box, forcing three consecutive punts, but the damage had been done.
NOTES: Auburn junior wide receiver Jaylon Denson was a victim of the slick turf, losing his balance while wide open in the LSU secondary and injuring his left knee in the first quarter. His leg was immobilized in an inflatable cast and he was carted off the field. ... LSU has outscored its last three opponents (UAB, Kent State and Auburn) 56-0 in the first quarter. It has not trailed this season. ... LSU needed just 5:04 to score 14 points against Auburn, more than the Tigers did in a 12-10 victory over Auburn last year.