By Chris Macaluso
Special to LSUsports.net
BATON ROUGE -- LSU needed all but one second of Saturday night’s game in Tiger Stadium to defeat No. 18 Auburn 30-24.
The home-standing Tigers needed all but one second to overcome a 17-7 halftime deficit, all but one second to overcome the loss of defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey in the third quarter, and all but one second to overcome dropped passes, two turnovers and five penalties.
But, ultimately, with one second remaining, and 92,630 fans holding their collective breath, LSU’s Demetrius Byrd caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Matt Flynn in the corner of the north endzone as the fans exhaled and erupted in victory.
Byrd’s touchdown was the last play of a nine-play, 58-yard drive that appeared would result in a field goal attempt by LSU’s Colt David that could have given his team a 26-24 win.
Instead of calling a timeout with under 25 seconds remaining and running one last play before giving David a chance to win the game, LSU decided to pocket its last timeout and let the clock roll.
With 9 seconds left and the play clock running lower, Flynn looked left and launched a pass to Byrd who was single covered along left side. Byrd fought through the arms of the Auburn cornerback Jerraud Powers and landed with the ball in the endzone with just 1 second remaining on the game clock. David’s point after made the final score 30-24.
The win improved LSU’s record to 7-1 and 4-1 in the Southeastern Conference heading into a well-deserved bye week before traveling for another sure-to-be hard knock game at Alabama on Nov. 3.
LSU extended its home winning streak to a school record and nation-leading 18 games.
Auburn fell to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the SEC, one game behind LSU and Alabama atop the SEC Western Division.
The winner of the LSU-Auburn matchup has represented the SEC Western Division in the SEC Championship game in five of the past seven seasons.
LSU claimed the lead for the first time with 12:55 to play in the game after Jacob Hester hauled in a pass from Flynn at the 4-yard line on third-and-goal and leapt over the pylon on the right side to give LSU a 20-17 lead after the point after. David extended that lead to six points on LSU’s next drive with a 33-yard field goal with 8:12 remaining in the game.
But, Auburn fought back as quarterback Brandon Cox completed 4-of-6 passes on the ensuing drive and was helped by a questionable "helmet-to-helment contact" personal foul against LSU safety Craig Steltz on one of the incompletions. Auburn scored the tying touchdown with 3:21 remaining in the game when Cox delivered a bullet to Rod Smith in the south endzone, ending a nine-play, 83-yard drive. The point after by Wes Byrum staked the visiting Tigers to a 24-23 lead with 3:21 to play.
Auburn squibbed the following kickoff along the turf, away from LSU’s deep returners, but that only set LSU with good field position at its own 42 to start what would be the winning drive.
LSU’s offense was sluggish and out-of-sync in the first half, but recovered to gouge Auburn in the second half, finishing with 488 total yards, 319 of those coming from Flynn’s sharp passing. He completed 22-of-34 including three touchdowns and an interception that wasn’t his fault. He also rushed for 34 crucial yards, mostly in the second half.
Early Doucet, LSU’s All-America receiver candidate, played his first significant action since tearing a groin muscle in practice in week 3 of the season. He led all receivers with seven catches for 93 yards. LSU one-two punched Auburn with Doucet and Byrd, who contributed three catches for 89 yards including the game-winning touchdown.
LSU also rushed for 169 yards while holding Auburn’s very able running game to 97. Brad Lester led the way for Auburn with 68 yards on 16 carries. Cox completed 18-of-28 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns.
Auburn very steadily and methodically drove the ball for the first score of the game after taking the opening kick. After starting at its 37, Auburn drove 63 yards in 11 plays, the last a 17-yard pass from Cox to Montez Billings after the Tigers quarterback scrambled away from the LSU rush. The touchdown pass and the following extra point gave the visiting Tigers a 7-0 lead with 10:10 to play in the first quarter.
After the two teams traded punts, LSU answered the plodding Auburn march with a quick strike, four-play, 62-yard dash to tie the score 7-7 with 3:19 to play in the opening quarter. Flynn extended the drive with a 15-yard, third-down pass to Brandon LaFell who tiptoed just inside the west sideline on the drive’s third play. On the next play, Flynn lofted a screen pass to tailback Keiland Williams at the Auburn 46. Williams danced and darted through the Auburn defense all the way to the endzone, awakening the Tiger Stadium crowd.
But, the stadium was hushed again with 9:34 to play in the half after Auburn scored three plays following a fumble by LSU backup quarterback Ryan Perrilloux. Perrilloux ran an option to the left side for a 6-yard gain but fumbled the ball right into the arms of Auburn defensive back Jerraud Powers after being hit from behind. Powers returned the fumble to the LSU 3-yard line before he was forced out by Trindon Holliday. Three plays later, fullback Carl Stewart bounded over the defense into the endzone, giving Auburn a 14-7 lead.
Auburn attempted another sqibb-kick on the ensuing kickoff, but LSU was able to recover, giving the Tigers a first down at their 41. After picking up two first downs and moving to the Auburn 38, the hometown Tigers moved backwards across midfield and were forced to punt back to Auburn, who claimed possession at its 5-yard line.
The lousy field position didn’t intimidate Auburn though, as the visiting Tigers drove the ball steadily into the teeth of LSU’s defense before being stopped 11-plays later at the LSU 5-yard line. Byrum added a 22-yard field goal with 1:40 to play in the half to extend his team’s lead to 17-7.
LSU answered Auburn’s field goal to end the first half with a field goal to begin the second half, driving 56 yards in seven plays to the Auburn 12. David drilled the 29-yarder with 11:21 remaining in the third quarter to cut the Auburn lead to 17-10. The key play for LSU was a 33-yard completion from Flynn to Doucet, who leaped among three defenders to haul in the remarkable catch on third-and-9 to extend the drive on its third play.
Auburn fired back with a trick fumble-rooskie play on the ensuing kick as returner Ben Tate dropped the kickoff at the four before he and four other Auburn returners turned their backs to the LSU tacklers. Patrick Lee emerged with the ball and sprinted to the 40-yard line.
The Tigers gained no yards on the drive however, and punted to LSU.
A block in the back on the return moved LSU’s starting field position to its 5-yard line and the drive seemed to stall on 4th-and-4 at the LSU 32. But, Auburn jumped offsides on the punt attempt, giving LSU a first down at the 37. Three plays later, Flynn found a wide open LaFell at the Auburn 20. But, instead of catching and cradling the ball for a long gain, LaFell inexplicably tossed the ball in the air, allowing Lee to run under the ball and intercept it at the Auburn 18.
Lee’s return moved the ball to the 22. But, Auburn was only able to advance just beyond midfield and was forced to punt.
LSU took over at its 33-yard line and immediately turned the field around as Flynn found Byrd 58-yards down the field on the drive’s first play to set LSU with a first-and-goal at the Auburn 9-yard line. LSU failed to move any closer though, and David added another field goal to cut the lead to 17-13 with 2:03 to play in the third quarter.
After holding Auburn to a three-and-out on the ensuing drive, LSU took over at its own 15-yard line and marched steadily through the air and on the ground deep into Auburn territory setting up a 3rd-and-goal at the 5-yard line and also setting up a head-scratching call from the game officials.
Flynn connected with Hester who dove for the corner of the endzone along the east sideline for an apparent touchdown. But, the play was reviewed while a flag lay on the field at the 5-yard line. After a lengthy review, the referee announced there was no penalty and the call on the field of a touchdown was confirmed, finally giving the crowd a chance to erupt and finally giving LSU the lead. The point after made the score 20-17 LSU with 12:55 to play after an eight-play, 85-yard drive that ate just 2:18 off the clock.
LSU drove deep into Auburn territory again on its next possession, taking the ball 55 yards all the way to the Tiger 16 in six plays before stalling on fourth-and 1. David kicked another field goal, this time from 33 yards away, extending LSU’s lead to 23-17 with 8:12 remaining in the game.
LSU vs. Auburn
Oct. 20, 2007 – Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)
- LSU’s game captains were 6 Colt David, 36 Patrick Fisher, 70 Ciron Black and 72 Glenn Dorsey.
- LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Auburn received the opening kickoff.
- Tigers extending their consecutive starts streak today were: CB Chevis Jackson (34), LB Ali Highsmith (22), LT Ciron Black (21), CB Jonathan Zenon (21), LG Herman Johnson (18) and DT Glenn Dorsey (16).
- LSU has outscored it opponents 181-24 in the first quarter in the 19 home games under head coach Les Miles. Auburn joined Florida, South Carolina and Alabama as the only teams to score on the Tigers in the first quarter during that stretch.
- LSU has scored points (4 TDs and 3 FGs) on its first possession of the second half in seven of the eight games this season, including a field goal in tonight’s game. The South Carolina game is the only time the Tigers did not score on its first drive of the second half.
- Defensively, LSU has held seven of eight opponents scoreless on the opening drive of the second half. Florida was the only team this season to score in its first possession of the second half against the Tigers.
- The winner of the LSU-Auburn game has now gone to the home team for the eighth straight contest.
- LSU extended several streaks tonight with the win: The Tigers won their 18th straight home game, which is now the longest streak in school history ... The 18 straight home wins overtook the old mark of 17 consecutive victories set between 1935-37 ... LSU has won 25 straight Saturday night home games ... The Tigers have won 10 straight SEC home games.
- The Tigers improved to 5-0 under head coach Les Miles following a loss.
- LSU’s 488 total yards of offense are the most by the team in an SEC game since tallying 478 yards at Tennessee on Nov. 4, 2006.
- Tonight’s attendance of 92,630 is the fourth largest in Tiger Stadium history.
- With first quarter tackles, LB Ali Highsmith extended his streak to 34 straight games with a tackle, DT Glenn Dorsey extended his streak to 24 straight games, S Craig Steltz extended his streak to 18 straight games and CB Chevis Jackson extended his streak to 18 straight games. CB Jonathan Zenon extended his streak to 18 straight games with a tackle with a stop in the second quarter.
- RB Keiland Williams scored the first receiving touchdown of his career on a 46-yard pass and catch from QB Matt Flynn with 3:19 left in the first quarter.
The reception was Williams’ longest of his career.
- QB Matt Flynn tossed his sixth, seventh and eighth touchdowns of the season and the 16th, 17th and 18th of his career on 46-yard pass and catch to RB Keiland Williams with 3:19 left in the first quarter, a 5 yard pass to RB Jacob
- Hester with 12:55 left in the fourth quarter and a 22-yard game winner to WR Demetrius Byrd with 0:01 remaining in the game.
- Flynn set career-highs in attempts (34), completions (22) and passing yards (319). His three touchdown passes tied a career high.
- PK Colt David’s first extra point in tonight’s game (with 3:19 left in the first quarter) tied the junior for career PATs in LSU history. David tied John Corbello with 129 PATs. David then became LSU’s career PAT leader with his second kick of the game after the touchdown with 12:55 left in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 131 career PATs.
- With his three extra points tonight, David has made 45 straight PATs, moving him into fifth-place on LSU’s career list for consecutive PATs made.
- David’s three field goals tonight - a 29 yard field goal with 11:21 left in the third quarter, a 26 yard field goal with 2:03 left in the third quarter and a 33 yard field goal with 8:12 - were his 24th, 25th and 26th of his career. He has now converted on 26 of 37 field goal attempts in his career. He is now tied for seventh on LSU’s career FG made list with his 26.
- RB Jacob Hester scored his first receiving touchdown of the season and the seventh of his career on a 5 yard pass from Flynn with 12:55 left in the fourth quarter.
- WR Early Doucet’s 93 receiving yards tonight is a season high.
- WR Demetrius Byrd’s 22-yard game-winning touchdown reception was the third receiving touchdown of his career.
Byrd’s 89 receiving yards tonight is a career high.
Auburn Postgame Notes
Auburn vs. LSU
October 20, 2007
- Auburn team captains were OG Tyronne Green, DB Jonathan Wilhite and H Matthew Motley.
- LSU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Auburn elected to receive.
- Kickoff was at 8:10 p.m. CT.
- Attendance was listed as 92,630.
- Auburn now trails the series with LSU 21-20-1. The home team has won the last eight meetings.
- The last four Auburn-LSU games have been decided by a total of 14 points.
- Auburn is now 2-1 in road games this season and had its school record eight consecutive road game win streak broken dating back to Auburn’s last appearance in Tiger Stadium in 2005.
- Auburn has now won nine of its last 11 games against teams ranked in the Associated Press top 10, and its five-game road winning streak came to an end..
- Auburn is now 4-1 under Tommy Tuberville in games against teams ranked in the top five of the Associated Press poll.
- Auburn is now 65-6 under Tommy Tuberville when scoring 20 or more points, including a 63-4 mark in the regular season.
- Auburn scored on its opening drive for the fourth straight week, going 63 yards and 11 plays and using 4:50 before scoring on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Montez Billings. Auburn also scored touchdowns on its opening drives at Florida and vs. Vanderbilt, and kicked a field goal at Arkansas.
- Auburn has now scored in 58 consecutive games since last being shut out in the 2003 season opener, which is tied for the second-longest streak in team history. The record is 149 straight games from Oct. 4, 1980 through Nov. 14, 1992.
- The 46-yard touchdown reception by LSU’s Keiland Williams was the first score allowed by Auburn in the first half of its last four games.
- Auburn’s 90-yard drive in the second quarter that resulted in Wes Byrum’s 22-yard field goal was the Tigers’ second-longest drive of the season. Auburn had a 92-yard drive against Vanderbilt.
- Auburn outscored LSU 10-0 in the second quarter and now owns an edge of 72-16 in the second quarter this season.
- Auburn led 17-7 at the half. The Tigers have led at the half in every game this season.
- Auburn led 17-13 at the end of the third quarter. The Tigers are now 4-3 this season when leading after three quarters.
- With a sack with 36 seconds left in the first half, Quentin Groves tied the Auburn record for career sacks with 26. He tied the record set by Gerald Robinson (1982-85).
- With 199 yards passing, Brandon Cox moved past Dameyune Craig into fourth in Auburn history in career passing yardage. Cox now has 6142 yards.
- With a pair of touchdown passes tonight to Montez Billings and to Rod Smith, Brandon Cox moved into a tie for fourth with Dameyune Craig with 39 career touchdown passes. He is one behind Stan White for a tie for third.
- With 68 yards rushing, Brad Lester pushed his career total to 1104 yards, moving past Charlie Hataway, Bobby Hoppe, Tucker Frederickson and George Peoples into 28th on Auburn’s career rushing yardage list.
- Ben Tate is the second Auburn running back to reach 1,000 career yards this season after Brad Lester reached the mark last Saturday at Arkansas.
- Josh Thompson finished with a career-high 10 tackles. It was his first career double-digit tackle effort.
- Montez Billings’ 17-yard touchdown reception on Auburn’s opening drive was his first career touchdown.
- Billings’ 31-yard reception in the second quarter was the longest of his career, surpassing a 25-yard catch against Florida.
- Billings’ finished with a career-high 78 receiving yards, breaking his previous career high of 56 at Florida by halftime, when he already had 65 yards. He also finished with a career-high six catches, bettering his mark of five catches last Saturday at Arkansas.
- Jerraud Powers’ fumble recovery in the second quarter was his first of the season and the second of his career. He returned it 36 yards to the 3-yard line, marking the longest fumble return of the season for Auburn, surpassing a 34-yard return by Antonio Coleman vs. Kansas State.
- The fumble was forced by Zac Etheridge, which was his second forced fumble of the season.
- Carl Stewart’s 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was his first rushing touchdown of the season and the eighth of his career. He has also had two receiving touchdowns during his career.
- Wes Byrum’s 22-yard field goal in the second quarter was his 12th of the season.
- Patrick Lee’s interception in the third quarter was his third of the season and the fourth of his career.
- Brandon Cox’s 5-yard TD pass to Rod Smith was Smith’s fourth touchdown of the season and the eighth of his career.
- Rodgeriqus Smith became the 21st player in Auburn history to reach 1,000 career receiving yards with 56 yards receiving vs. LSU, giving him 1014 receiving yards for his career.
LES MILES QUOTES
“I first want to say that our football team, coming off a long football game (against Kentucky), was very weary and I could tell. It took some time to get it going. We went into the locker room at halftime, and our football team needed to regroup and understood we needed to come out and play. To me, they showed great character and resolve the way they played in the second half.”
“I thought the defense played well. With our offense, what (Demetrius) Byrd and Matt Flynn did was spectacular. The return of Early Doucet on the offensive side helped us a ton. We look forward to having him the rest of the way. Colt David kicked some pressure field goals.”
“In the back end of the game, I had a timeout that I could call but I did not expect it to come down to one second. I didn’t have it timed out that far. Certainly it worked right.”
“We are still a product of some mistakes that has to be ironed out. I am not going to put up with illegal procedures, time off the clock and timeouts used inappropriately. We have work to do. It is not like that was a perfect game in anyway. It was sloppy, but played very competitively. The bye week hits us at the right time. We will take some time to rehabilitate and get healthy.”
LSU OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
RB Jacob Hester
On how satisfying the win was after a loss last week ...
"We had to win. We knew that we had to win. We are a second half football team. We take pride in winning in the second half."
"We knew that if we got the ball and scored a few points, we would have a good shot. We wanted touchdowns, but got some field goals. We capitalized when we had to."
On the mindset coming out of the locker room at halftime ...
"You can't think about the first half. They were up 10. You have to start all over."
On the last play ...
"To tell you the truth, I thought we were going to play for the field position for Colt to kick a field goal. But when Matt threw it, Byrd was open. I looked at the clock and I couldn't believe it."
On playing against Auburn ...
"Auburn's physical play is something the coaches preached all game long. They said that Auburn was a quality team that wanted to come out here and take a shot at us. That's the philosophy we had in practice all week."
AUBURN HEAD COACH TOMMY TUBERVILLE QUOTES
“Two good football teams played tonight. Somebody had to lose. Unfortunately we did. We played hard; both teams did. It was a very physical game. I’m proud of our guys and how they fought back. We didn’t do much on offense in the third and half the fourth quarter. That really put us in a bind, put our defense in a bind. We just didn’t make any plays. We were our own worst enemy. We knew eventually our offense would get us in trouble, and it did in the third and half of the fourth (quarter). But we did fight back, and this team has come a long way in six weeks. We’ve made some plays and won some games, but it’s tough to lose that one in that situation, to have the lead with three minutes to go. But they (LSU) have a good football team. Give them credit. They made the plays, and the quarterback made the throws.”
On the penalty the referees called off on an LSU touchdown ...
“They (the referees) said they had an illegal formation. They should have worked that out, but they actually officiated it from the instant replay and you can’t do that. You can’t go to instant replay and look at it. They ruled touchdown but with a flag on the field you have to work that out before you start looking at it. Unfortunately they did it the way you’re not supposed to.”
On the squib kick that set up LSU’s game-winning touchdown ...
“We did the same thing we did all day. We squibbed it, and we just didn’t kick it hard enough or get a very good kick. They (LSU) got a hand on it, and we weren’t going to kick it to their returner. He’s dang good, and we gave them about 10 yards more than what we had hoped. We would have liked to have gotten them around the 30 (yard line) and we got them around the 40. We still felt good about it. We didn’t make the plays.”
On how quarterback Brandon Cox played ...
“He played well. He played a lot better the first half. For some reason we came out in the fourth quarter and we might have made one first down and put our defense in a bind. We got tired, but that’s how we’ve been playing. We just haven’t played four quarters yet offensively, and we have to find out reasons why. The defense can’t stand out there all day long against a good offense, but we’ll work to get better. Brandon had a good game, and I thought he made some good decisions. Again, the touchdown pass down there (to Rodgeriqus Smith) was perfectly thrown, and that’s what you expect from Brandon. He tends to be getting better as every game goes.”
Auburn Offensive Player Quotes
QB BRANDON COX
On how the team felt after scoring a go-ahead touchdown with 3:21 left in the game...
“Pretty confident; our defense usually steps up and shuts them down there late, but it’s been a long time since someone has scored like that against our defense. It’s tough to go away like that.”
On how the Auburn offense played in the second half...
“We came out very physical and got the running game going, but in the second half they shut down the running game and that’s our game. We had to score late and we started throwing it around and moved [the ball].”
On how surprised he was to see LSU throw into the end zone at the end of the game...
“That really surprised me. It was a gutsy call and I think there was only one second left on the game clock. An incomplete could end the game, but they converted and my hat’s off to them. They converted and scored so I guess it was a good call.”
On LSU’s defensive adjustments in the second half...
“They were geared to stop the run. They changed some things up and got more guys down in the box to stop the run and they did a good job of it.”
On his feelings about the Auburn defense’s ability to stop LSU prior to the final possession...
“I was pretty confident in our defense. They played a heck of a game and they’re the reason we’ve won as many games as we have this year. They had a slip up, but they’ve gotten us to this point so far.
AUBURN DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
DE Sen’Derrick Marks
On the second half...
“I think we came out strong. LSU started to move the ball and we missed a couple of good tackles. They (LSU) made plays and that’s what great teams do.”
On the disappointment of the lost...
“It was disappointing because of how hard we fought. When you have two great teams compete against each the team that makes the plays will come out on top. Everyone gave it their all tonight. We had a couple of missed tackles but, we gave it our all. We will come back next week after reviewing plays and come back strong.”
On dropping in the SEC West...
“Our team is all based on faith. We will keep the faith because we still have a chance to win the SEC West. We have two or three more SEC teams to play and hopefully LSU will lose.”
On Demetrius Byrd’s catch...
“When the ball went up I thought our guy would make the play. But, he (Demetrius Byrd) made a big play and that’s what good players do, make big plays to win the game. LSU came through at the end to win.”