COMEBACK FOR THE AGES! LSU Beats No. 10 Auburn, 27-23
Director of Digital Media
BATON ROUGE -- LSU overcame its largest home deficit against an SEC opponent in history, rallying from a 20-0 hole with 20 unanswered points to knock off No. 10-ranked Auburn, 27-23, on a scorching Saturday afternoon in Tiger Stadium.
LSU redshirt freshman placekicker Connor Culp made a 42-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining in the game that gave the Tigers a 24-23 advantage and complete the comeback. Culp added another 36-yarder with 0:38 left to play that forced Auburn to play for a touchdown on its final desparate drive.
Linebacker Arden Key finished off the LSU defense's spectacular second-half performance with a sack on fourth down with 0:02 to play. After a victory-formation kneel down by LSU quarterback Danny Etling, the LSU bench streamed onto the field to celebrate its ninth-straight victory over Auburn in Tiger Stadium dating to 1999.
Etling guided the homestanding Tigers to victory by completing 13-of-24 passes for 206 yards with a touchdown.
His favorite target was DJ Chark, who set career highs with five catches and 150 receiving yards. Chark's 75-yard punt return for a touchdown with 14:43 to play sparked LSU's 13-point fourth quarter, as the speedy receiver amassed 233 all-purpose yards.
Wide receiver Russell Gage added three catches for 28 yards with a touchdown just before halftime that pulled LSU within nine of Auburn, 23-14. Gage also had a 70-yard rush that setup Stephen Sullivan's 1-yard end-around for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham was harrassed for three sacks and three hurries by the LSU defense, as he completed only 9-of-26 passes for 165 yards including strikes for 52 and 49 yards. Stidham managed only 2-for-13 passing in the second half for six yards.
SEC leading running back Kerryon Johnson did the most damage for Auburn, running 31 times for 156 yards with a touchdown.
Auburn had only 64 yards of total offense in the second half, as LSU outgained the visiting Tigers 363-354. LSU held Auburn to 3-of-14 on third downs and 0-of-2 on fourth down.
Linebacker Devin White had a career-best 15 tackles, his fifth-straight game with double-digit tackles.
Auburn took the opening kickoff and drove 46 yards in six plays, with the drive culminating in a 46-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson.
LSU quarterback Danny Etling completed a 39-yard pass to DJ Chark on the Tigers’ first possession of the contest; however, Chark fumbled and Auburn’s Carlton Davis returned the ball to the Plainsmen 48-yard line.
Auburn took advantage of the turnover two plays later when quarterback Jarrett Stidham connected with wide receiver Will Hastings on a 49-yard scoring pass.
After an LSU punt, Auburn drove 81 yards on eight plays, capping the march with a four-yard burst by Kerryon Johnson. The drive, which featured a 52-yard third-down completion from Stidham to Ryan Davis, gave Auburn a 17-0 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter.
Auburn extended its lead to 20-0 with 12:50 remaining in the second quarter, when Carlson hit a 48-yard field goal attempt. The Plainsmen covered 46 yards on 11 plays on the scoring march.
LSU responded by driving 90 yards on six plays, reducing the margin to 20-7 with 9:19 left in the first half when wide receiver Stephen Sullivan scored from one yard out on a fourth-and-goal jet sweep. The march was highlighted by a 70-yard run by wide receiver Russell Gage to Auburn’s seven-yard line.
After an exchange of punts, Auburn moved 62 yards on 10 plays, taking a 23-7 lead with 2:16 left in the first half on Carlson’s 26-yard field goal.
Etling connected with Chark for 37 yards on the first play of the ensuing drive, give LSU a first down at the Auburn 38. The Tigers scored seven plays later when Gage made an acrobatic catch of Etling’s 14-yard aerial, narrowing the gap to 23-14 just before halftime on an eight-play, 75-yard drive.
Auburn held a 290-236 advantage in total offense in the first half, accumulating 13 first downs to LSU’s 7. The Tigers’ defense, however, was brilliant in the third quarter, limiting Auburn to 21 total yards in the period.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Chark dashed 75 yards to paydirt on a punt return to bring the Tigers within two points at 23-21 with 14:33 to play. The punt return TD was Chark’s second of the season – he had a 65-yard score against Chattanooga on Sept. 9.
LSU's defense dominated the rest of the fourth quarter, holding Auburn to 1-of-9 passing for 0 yards and only 37 rushing yards on 10 carries.
With 6:40 remaining, LSU took over at the Auburn 45 when the Tigers defense held Auburn without a first down inside its own 5-yard line. A 5-yard catch for a first down by Guice and 7-yard run by the back setup Culp's eventual game-winner from 42-yards. LSU led 24-23 with 2:36 to play.
Auburn turned the ball over on downs with 1:38 remaining. The visiting Tigers used their final two timeouts on LSU's possession, and Culp added a 36-yard field goal with 38 seconds left.
After getting a first down, Auburn was again stymied by the LSU defense on fourth down when Key sacked Stidham with 2 seconds to play.
Attendance was annoucned as 101,601 on the hottest October kickoff on record in Tiger Stadium (90 degrees).