No. 12 LSU benefitted from a key Auburn penalty and killed enough clock to kick a game-winning field goal with no time remaining to stun the No. 7 Tigers 22-21.
LSU got the ball back from Auburn with 5:38 to go in the fourth. The Tigers from Louisiana methodically worked down the field with the help of a couple key third-down conversions and set up Cole Tracy for a game-winning 41-yard field goal.
The biggest play of the drive was that penalty. Jamel Dean was called for a pass interference penalty on second down with LSU at the Auburn 39. The penalty moved LSU into field goal range; the Tigers moved just three more yards while running down the clock to give Tracy a chance to win the game.
LSU scored first in the game but was playing catchup the entire second half. Auburn seemingly found its footing in the second and third quarters, outscoring LSU 21-6 in those two quarters.
But LSU hung in throughout the fourth quarter. Auburn kicker Anders Carlson missed a 52-yard field goal in the opening minutes of the fourth and Auburn didn’t come close to scoring after that. Its final two possessions resulted in punts.
The punts sandwiched a 71-yard touchdown from LSU QB Joe Burrow to Derrick Dillon, who ran a route across the middle and plucked the ball out of the air after it floated over two Auburn defenders. The ensuing two-point conversion to tie failed, but it ultimately didn’t matter thanks to Tracy’s field goal.
An early SEC West shakeup
LSU’s wins throw a wrench into what many people thought the SEC West hierarchy would look like. With Alabama at the top, Auburn and Mississippi State were the two teams thought to be the biggest challengers to the Tide with LSU and Texas A&M next in the pecking order.
Now LSU is at the top of the standings as the first SEC West team with a win. Burrow threw for 249 yards and wasn’t afraid to go downfield throughout the game against Auburn. That dimension to LSU’s passing attack is necessary and hasn’t been present in recent years. If LSU and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger aren’t afraid to be aggressive throughout the season, maybe LSU’s offense will be better than the slog it’s been in recent years. With wins against Miami and Auburn, it’s hard to keep thinking that LSU is a fluke.
Auburn was sitting pretty in the eyes of the playoff committee after knocking off Washington in Week 1 in Atlanta. Now it’s worth wondering if Auburn would look better having lost to the Huskies on a neutral site and beaten LSU at home. The loss snaps a 13-game home winning streak for the Tigers and breaks the aura of invincibility Auburn has had at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The closest game Auburn had at home in 2017 was a 12-point win over eventual national champions Alabama.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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