No. 1 LSU Blitzes Auburn, Sets Up Bama Showdown
BATON ROUGE -- In front
of the second-largest crowd in Tiger Stadium history, No. 1 LSU scored
three touchdowns in a span of 2:24 early in the third quarter to double
its 21-3 halftime advantage and earn its biggest victory in the 46-game
history with No. 19 Auburn, 45-10, on Saturday.
crowd of 93,098 witnessed another dominating performance by the home
team, as LSU (8-0, 5-0 SEC) was led by starting quarterback Jarrett Lee
who finished 14-of-20 passing for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Freshman running back Kenny Hilliard added two touchdowns while wide
receiver Rueben Randle caught five passes for 106 yards including two
Michael Ford led LSU with 82 yards rushing on
12 attempts while Hilliard totaled 65 yards and became the sixth LSU
player to score a rushing TD this season.
Wearing its Nike Pro
Combat all-white uniform, LSU outgained Auburn, 393-248, improved its
turnover margin to plus-15 in 2011 and improved to 8-0 for the first
time since 1973.
LSU will take a week off before traveling to
Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face No. 2 Alabama on Nov. 5, the first
regular-season matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 since 2006. The game time
should be announced this Monday.
In a series known for close
games, this one was an exception. LSU never trailed and Auburn rarely
threatened the vaunted LSU defense which had 10 tackles for loss
including six sacks and forced two turnovers with an interception
returned for a touchdown.
LSU's next-largest margin in the history of the series that dates to 1901 was 28 points, 35-7 in 1972.
(5-3, 3-2 SEC) was led by sophomore quarterback Clint Moseley who was
12-of-20 passing for 145 yards. His lone interception was returned for
a touchdown by LSU cornerback Ron Brooks to cap the third-quarter
Moseley was sacked six times for minus-44 yards. Of
Auburn's 248 total yards, 106 came in the fourth quarter while the game
was out of reach.
Running back Michael Dyer had a team-high 60
yards rushing on 12 carries. Onterio McCalebb added 32 yards rushing
with a touchdown and three catches for 38 yards. The rest of the Auburn
team combined for 27 net yards rushing.
Playing without three
sophomores -- starting running back Spencer Ware, starting cornerback
Tyrann Mathieu and top reserve corner Tharold Simon -- who served a
suspension, the Tigers barely blinked.
LSU took the opening
kickoff for only the second time in eight games. Lee guided the Tigers
offense to a flawless opening drive that included a 23-yard pass to
Odell Beckham Jr. to the Auburn 23. A 10-yard connection to Randle
setup the Tigers ground attack, as Ford gained 10 yards in two carries
and put the Tigers at the 9-yard line after he was brought down by the
Behind guard Will Blackwell and tackle Chris Faulk,
Hilliard scored his first touchdown with a powerful 9-yard run, and LSU
led 7-0 with 11:13 remaining in the opening quarter.
countered with a drive into LSU territory, as Moseley eluded pressure
from defensive end Lavar Edwards and dumped off a pass to McCalebb, who
rolled off 25 yards along the rigth sideline to the Auburn 43. Dyer
gained eight yards on a pair of carries to cross midfield, but
defensive end Barkevious Mingo came untouched from the left side for a
6-yard sack that forced Auburn to punt.
With Blue and then
Hilliard lined up at running back, LSU gained a first down on its next
drive, but two of Lee's three incomplete passes in the first half led
to Brad Wing's first punt.
Auburn's lone scoring drive of the
half was aided by a late-hit personal foul on Eric Reid when McCalebb
took a handoff from backup quarterback Kiehl Frazier and escaped
containment for a 20-yard scamper. The elusive running back gained 10
more on a reverse to the LSU 21 before Moseley found wide receiver
DeAngelo Benton for 12 yards to the 9.
LSU would allow no
further advancement, as Mingo again raced untouched and chased down
Moseley for a 15-yard sack. After an offsides penalty on LSU, safety
Derrick Bryant added a 7-yard sack on third-and-goal from the 19. Cody
Parkey's 42-yard field goal attempt was true, and Auburn was on the
board trailing 7-3 with 1:26 left in the first quarter. The points were
the first allowed by LSU in the first quarter since the Mississippi
State game on Thursday, Sept. 15.
The teams traded four punts
and managed only two first downs before LSU again cracked the
scoreboard with long touchdown passes on consecutive drives.
Jefferson under center for his second series of the second quarter, LSU
got a break when the quarterback was hit by Ford on a fake handoff and
dropped the ball in the backfield. After recovering, Jefferson was
tackled by his face mask to give LSU a first down at the Auburn 45.
plays later, Jefferson backed away from pressure and lofted a perfect
42-yard touchdown pass to Randle, who had juked cornerback Demetruce
McNeal near the line of scrimmage and outran safety Robenson Therezie
down the right sideline. Randle caught the pass in stride at the 18 and
went unchallenged into the endzone.
With 5:00 left in the half, LSU increased its lead to 14-3.
had a chance on LSU's side of the field again when the homestanding
Tigers had only 10 men on the field when they allowed a 25-yard catch
and run by Trovon Reed. A late hit on Brooks put Auburn at the LSU 38.
LSU again stiffened on its end of the field, as Edwards pressured
Moseley and linebacker Tahj Jones broke up a pass on a first-down wheel
route. Cornerback Morris Claiborne made a one-on-one tackle on second
down, then Brooks and Edwards blitzed to foil a screen pass and keep
Auburn out of field goal range.
With LSU at its 14 and only 3:06
remaining before the half, Lee took over at quarterback. A 10-yard run
by Hilliard opened up the LSU attack, allowing Lee room to connect with
Beckham Jr. for 13 and 6 yards to the LSU 46. A pass interference call
on third down helped LSU gain a first down to the Auburn 48. On
third-and-8 from the 46, Lee lofted another perfect pass that Randle
ran underneath at the 5 for his second touchdown in the final five
minutes of the half.
LSU took a 21-3 lead to the lockerroom, as Jefferson and Lee combined for 11-of-14 passing for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
scoring didn't stop when LSU returned from the break. The Tigers scored
on the next three times they touched the ball, including 10-yard catch
and dive to the pylon by Russell Shepard with 9:51 left in the third
quarter. A 27-yard catch by tight end Chase Clement and a 23-yard run
by Ford setup Shepard's second touchdown catch in as many weeks.
led 28-3 when its special teams setup another touchdown. Auburn
returner Tre Mason was separated from the ball by Reid and Jarvis
Landry at the Auburn 22. Jones recovered for LSU to setup the
Hilliard rolled for 25 yards to the 6-yard
line on a counter and scored his second touchdown of the game from the
1. LSU extended its lead to 35-3 with 8:12 remaining in the third
On the ensuing possession, Auburn was faced with
second-and-11 from its 22. Rather than blitz Moseley from the right
side of the formation, Brooks -- who started in place of Mathieu --
dropped into coverage, cut in front of Benton at the 28, intercepted
the pass and ran untouched for his first career touchdown.
LSU led 42-3 with 7:27 remaining in the quarter.
tacked on a 36-yard field goal by Drew Alleman with 13:56 left in the
game, while Auburn scored its only touchdown of the game with 2:22 to
play -- a 2-yard run by McCalebb.