LSU annihilated the visiting Tigers
31-7, holding Auburn’s vaunted running attack to only 50 net yards. A 30-minute
weather delay during pre-game warm-ups cut down on the Tigers’ traditional
pre-game routine, but Nick Saban’s team showed virtually no
“It was a great win for all
Tigers,” said Saban. “I’m proud of the way our players played in the game. It
was a total team win. It was a great atmosphere to play a football team in. Our
fans were tremendous. The excitement before the game was electric and I think
our players came out and played that way early in the game, which helped us get
a jump in the game which was really important to the momentum of the game. They
are probably a team that would rather play from ahead than behind and that would
rather play from ahead than behind and that probably helped us.”
It didn’t take long for LSU to
knock Auburn back on its heels.
On the first possession of the
game, the Tigers drove 80 yards in six plays taking an early 7-0 lead. Matt Mauck hit Devery Henderson for a 64-yard touchdown pass to put the Tigers ahead.
On the play Henderson ran right past Auburn cornerback Junior Rosegreen as Mauck
dropped a perfect rainbow softly into his hands.
Auburn attempted to respond on the
ensuing possession, driving to LSU’s 43-yard line. But on fourth and one Chad Lavalais sliced into the backfield and stuffed Auburn’s Carnell Williams for a
five yard loss.
With the ball back, the Tiger
offense quickly took advantage.
Two passes by Mauck and a pair of
runs by Justin Vincent had LSU down to Auburn’s 18-yard line. On second down
from the 18, Mauck hit Michael Clayton on a slip-screen over the middle and
Clayton did the rest. The lanky junior wove his way through the Auburn secondary
before diving into the endzone. Ryan Gaudet’s extra point gave LSU a 14-0
“Our intensity level in practice
was good all week,” said Clayton. “We just came in with a high intensity level
for the game, and it really kept us up. “It always feels good to get into the
endzone. Hopefully in the future we can get in more.”
LSU forced Auburn into a quick
three-and-out on its next possession, and continued pouring on the points.
Skyler Green’s 44-yard punt return put the Tigers in business at Auburn’s 28.
The drive lokked ready to stall at the 19, but Saban decided to go for it on
fourth and one and freshman tailback Alley Broussard came through with a 14 yard
run. On the next play, Broussard punched it in from five yards away, giving LSU
a 21-0 lead with 2:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The second quarter wasn’t quite as
overwhelming, as the Tigers gained only 77 yards compared to 123 in the first
and failed to get into the endzone despite two possessions deep in Auburn
territory. Still, outstanding play by LSU’s defense and special teams prevented
Tommy Tuberville’s team from grabbing any momentum.
Auburn’s opening drive of the
quarter ended in a missed 35-yard field goal by Philip Yost. LSU went three and
out, but Tre Smith fumbled the ensuing punt and Chad White recovered for LSU at
the Auburn 29. The Tigers lost four yards on the drive, and Ryan Gaudet’s
50-yard field goal attempt was wide right. Later in the quarter the Tigers would
be forced to punt again, and again Smith fumbled, giving LSU the ball at
Auburn’s 31. But a few plays later Mauck was intercepted by Auburn defensive
tackle DeMarco McNeil to end the threat and get the Plainsmen into halftime down
Overall, the Tigers dominated all
three phases of the game.
LSU used perfect balance on offense
wracking up 381 yards against Auburn’s vaunted defense.
Matt Mauck led the way completing
17-of-28 passes for 224 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Mauck
did an excellent job of making decisions and showed excellent precision, usually
hitting his receivers in stride.
Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher
also threw a different game plan at the visiting Tigers.
The offense frequently came to the
line with a play called, only to change it to fit whatever Auburn was showing on
defense. LSU was particularly good at checking to swing passes and bubble
screens when the Auburn D was playing soft in coverage.
“It sounds more complicated than
what it is,” said Mauck of the “check with me’s” as Saban calls audibles. “It’s
actually not that hard to do. It helps being at home because you can hear a lot
better. It just worked out tonight. We planned on attacking early, and the
coaches did a great job of coming up with (plays).”
For the second consecutive week the
Tiger rushing attack was powered by two ferocious freshmen. But this time it was
Justin Vincent leading the way, piling up 127 yards on just 14 carries (a 9.1
average). Alley Broussard also added 31 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown.
Both did great jobs of picking up the tough yardage between the tackles, but
Vincent’s shifty moves and cutbacks set him apart and kept him on the bring of
breaking a long run on nearly every down.
Devery Henderson led all receivers
with 101 yards and two scores on six catches.
“I just went out there and tried to
play hard and play every play,” said Henderson of his performance. “Big things
should happen, and I just tried to take advantage of it.”
Clayton also added six catches for
59 yards and scored his first touchdown since the Western Illinois game.
On defense, the Tigers did an
excellent job of out-muscling Auburn’s offensive line while keeping gap
integrity to cut off cutback lanes for Tuberville’s hydra-headed backfield.
Jack Hunt led an excellent
performance by LSU’s defense with 10 total tackles. Chad Lavalais continued to
dominate, making eight total stops to go with three tackles for a loss and a
Overall the Tigers kept Auburn’s
offense on its heels for most of the night, and wracked up 4.5 sacks and eight
tackles for a loss.
“I think the defensive line did the
best job,” said Jack Hunt of the defense’s dominance. “They controlled all the
runs, all the gaps. (Auburn) couldn’t run it outside, and that’s where corners
and safeties have to make tackles. We did a good job. (Auburn) has great backs,
but I don’t think they’re better than anything we’ve ever seen, as far as backs
around here that we’ve played with. Tackling is an attitude, and we had a good
attitude out there.”
Green continued stating his case
for replacing Shyrone Carey as LSU’s starting punt returner. He averaged 17.4
yards on five punt returns, with a return of 44 yards.
Senior linebacker Adrian Mayes also
did an excellent job of terrifying Auburn’s Tre Smith on punt returns. On one
return Smith was so preoccupied with the sight of the on-charging Mayes that he
didn’t even try to field the punt and allowed LSU to down it at the Auburn 21.
Mayes also forced a fumble by Smith in the second quarter.
LSU came out firing again in the
second half, scoring on its first two possessions.
The first was a seven-play, 42-yard
drive that was highlighted by a beautiful 18-yard run by Vincent, who weaved his
way through the defense before finally being tripped up by Karlos Dansby. Ryan
Gaudet capped the drive with a 33-yard field goal.
After holding Auburn to its third,
three-and-out on the night, LSU scored on a six-play, 60-yard drive. Again the
highlight play came from Vincent, who ripped of a 33-yard run (his longest of
the night) on second down at the Auburn 49.
“I thought he made some outstanding
cuts out there, against a good football team,” said Saban of Vincent’s
performance. “He actually did much better than Alley (Broussard) tonight because
of the jump cuts that he made, that Alley’s experience didn’t allow him to do.
That’s one thing that Justin gives us.”
Three plays later Mauck drilled a
touchdown pass right into Devery Henderson’s gut from 16 yards out, capping the
scoring for LSU on the night.
Auburn’s offense would sputter for
the rest of the game before Jason Campbell hit Anthony Mix for a six-yard
touchdown with 6:10 left in the game. LSU’s ensuing drive would be the last of
the night as the offense drove down to Auburn’s 15 before kneeling it to run out
the final seconds.
The Plainsmen were never able to
get on track on offense, gaining only 193 yards on the night.
Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, the
three-time reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week, gained only 61 yards on 20
“We knew he could stick his foot in
one hole and be in another hole in a split second,” said Marquise Hill. “So we
knew we had to stay in our gaps and that was our whole main goal, because you
can tell by the way he runs that Cadillac tries to wait and pick his holes. We
just wanted to block for the linebackers and let them make the play.”
Talented Auburn backups Ronnie Brown and Louisiana native Brandon Jacobs had a combined eight carries for 33
yards. Jason Campbell completed 19-of-27 passes for 143 yards and a TD, but was
sacked four times and kept off balance by LSU’s defense the entire game. Mix led
his receivers with five catches for 47 yards and a score.
Karlos Dansby led Auburn’s
defensive effort with 11 tackles and one for a loss. LSU’s offensive line mowed
down Auburn’s highly-touted front seven, giving up no sacks and only two tackles
behind the line of scrimmage.
With the win LSU improves to 7-1
and 4-1 in the SEC, and dropped Auburn to 5-3 (4-1) on the season. The two teams
are tied for second place in the SEC West behind 5-0 Ole Miss, but the win will
give LSU an edge in the tiebreaker.
After the game, Saban was pleased
with the way his team had dominated in all phases for the entire
“Now the challenge is can we
do it on a consistent basis,” he said. “I hope we learned a lesson about how to
live with success and deal with success. We know that each week is a challenge,
and you have to have your mind right to do things that way. You can’t play
dominant football if you’re not psychologically into it, and sometimes you have
a lot of intensity, being ready to go. A lot of intangible things give you
energy and make you play well, and I’ve been pleased with that the last two
weeks, so hopefully we won’t have to go through another bad experience to
continue to do this with consistency. That’s going to be our