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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.

The announced 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 long touchdowns.

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.

Auburn (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 onslaught.

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 face mask.

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.

Auburn 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.

With 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.

Two 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.

Auburn 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.

However, 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.

The 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.

LSU 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 short-field score.

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 quarter.

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.

LSU 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.



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