BATON ROUGE -- No. 9 LSU put together a complete performance, holding the SEC's second-best offense to 193 yards while rolling past rival Auburn, 31-10, in front of 92,654 at Tiger Stadium.
LSU (6-1, 4-1 SEC) became bowl eligible for the 10th-straight season and bounced back from its first Saturday night loss in Tiger Stadium in 33 games two weeks ago against No. 1 Florida, 13-3. The Tigers have won three-straight over Auburn for the first time since 1935-37.
Auburn (5-3, 2-3 SEC) lost its third-straight game, as the Tigers were held 271.9 yards below their season average.
Coming off the bye week, LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson was efficient under center. The sophomore completed 21-of-31 passes for a career-best 242 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored on a 15-yard run in the first quarter, while his only mistake was a fumble into the Auburn endzone in the second quarter. At least three of Jefferson's passes down the field were dropped by open receivers.
Jefferson was sacked three times, but netted 26 yards on the ground. His favorite target was junior wide receiver Terrance Toliver, who had a career-high nine catches for 86 yards and a 14-yard touchdown.
Wide receiver Brandon LaFell added six grabs for 67 yards and made a 17-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
Offensively, LSU amassed 376 yards of total offense and matched his season-high point total despite two missed field goals (49 and 52 yards) and Jefferson's fumble inside the 5-yard line.
LSU freshman Russell Shepard made the most of his first action at running back, hitting a hole created by left guard Will Blackwell and running past the Auburn defense for a 69-yard touchdown. The longest play of the season gave LSU its final score with 1:09 left in the third quarter.
Auburn's high-powered offense never stood a chance against the more agressive LSU defense. Starting quarterback Chris Todd finished 8-of-14 passing for 47 yards and an interception. He was sacked four times. Wide receiver Kodi Burns lined up in the "Wildcat" formation and ran six times for 17 yards.
Running back Ben Tate led Auburn with 67 yards on 18 carries.
The LSU defense continued dominate, pitching a first-half shutout in which it allowed only 42 yards. LSU forced two turnovers and added another on a muffed punt that led to a field goal to end the half. With LSU defensive reserves playing the final drive of the game, Auburn scored its only touchdown and gained 30 percent of its total offense.
LSU won the coin toss and deferred its choice until the second half. Auburn elected to receive the ball to start the game.
Burns ran the "Wildcat" formation -- a receiver in shotgun behind center -- as Auburn picked up a first down in its own territory. The Tigers looked to have another easy first down when Tate ran for nine yards to the Auburn 48. However, three plays resulted in an incomplete pass, a run for no gain and a false start penalty.
Auburn's punt was fair caught by Chad Jones at the LSU 17.
The LSU offense found its stride in the first quarter, as the Tigers scored twice and a third drive ended with a missed field goal.
On third-and-6, a 20-yard pass from Jefferson to Williams out of the backfield gave LSU its first three-straight first downs, the last coming on a pass interference penalty on Toliver deep inside the Auburn 10-yard line.
Another Auburn personal foul on third-and-13 -- a blow on LaFell as a defenseless receiver -- gave LSU new life at the Auburn 19. After an offsides penalty on Auburn, Jefferson tossed a perfect fade route to Toliver for a 14-yard touchdown in the right corner of the south endzone.
With 8:21 left in the quarter, LSU led 7-0.
The LSU defense forced a three-and-out, giving its offense possession at the LSU 22-yard line after a 47-yard punt by Clinton Durst.
Another personal foul on Auburn -- this time illegal use of the hands -- helped LSU move to its 41 after one play. Consecutive passes to Toliver netted 19 yards and put LSU at the Auburn 40, where the drive slowed. Though a delay of game on Auburn gave LSU fourth-and-1 at the 36, Josh Jasper attempted a 49-yard field goal which sliced just wide of the right post.
On third-and-9 from the 15, Jefferson dropped in the pocket and couldn't find an open receiver. The speedy quarterback took off running to his left and touched the ball down just inside the goal line for his first rushing score of the year.
LSU led 14-0 with 1:10 to play in the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Auburn entered LSU territory for the first time. However, on the next play, Todd's pass intended for tight end Jay Wisner was picked off by Hawkins. The spectacular left-handed grab by Hawkins was returned 7 yards to the LSU 41.
LaFell caught passes of 12 and 19 yards to the Auburn 23, and Jefferson then added an 11-yard run to the 12. After picking up a first down at the Auburn 1, Jefferson attempted to bootleg around the right end. As he tried to stretch the ball toward the goal, it was knocked away by Auburn safety Zac Etheridge and recovered in the endzone by Auburn linebacker Craig Stevens.
Just as the LSU Tigers looked to be in trouble offensively, its special teams came up with a big play.
With 1:42 to play in the half, Derek Helton punted from LSU's 24. Auburn's Philip Pierre-Louis signaled for a fair catch but the ball bounced off his foot as a ran forward to make the catch. The muffed punt was recovered again by McCray and LSU took over at the Auburn 36.
After Jefferson scrambled for first down to the 23, he connected on only 1-of-3 passes and LSU was forced to attempt a 32-yard field goal. Jasper's attempt was successful, and LSU extended its lead to 17-0 with 9 seconds left in the half.
LSU's defensive unit gave up only 42 yards in the first half, as LSU led 17-0.
To open the second half, Auburn attempted to avoid kicking off to Trindon Holliday by pooching to an upback. The plan backfired when LSU defensive end Chase Clement fielded the kick and ran 19 yards to the Auburn 45.
With a short field, Jefferson found Holliday matched up with a linebacker and connected with the receiver for 26 yards to the Auburn 17. On the next play, Jefferson lobbed a fade to the left corner of the endzone and LaFell came down with it for a 17-yard touchdown.
LSU led 24-0 with 13:41 left in the third quarter.
Auburn answered with a field goal after a nine-play, 53-yard drive that started at the Auburn 40 as Jasper kicked off out of bounds. The 24-yard field goal by Wes Byrum cut the LSU lead to 24-3 with 9:21 left in the third quarter.
Two drives later, LSU fans got a taste of what's to come from Shepard, as the shifty all-purpose back lined up to Jefferson's right and took the handoff LSU 31. Shepard started left and cut back right, picking up a perfect block from backup left guard Will Blackwell who just entered the game. Shepard then outran the Auburn defense for the longest play of the 2009 season, 69 yards.
The play was also the longest since Nov. 10, 2007, when running back Jacob Hester ran 87 yards against Louisiana Tech.
LSU led 31-3 with 1:09 left in the third quarter.
With three seconds to play, Auburn backup quarterback Neil Caudle finished an eight-play, 59-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen.
LSU returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 31, when Tulane comes to Tiger Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The game will be televisied in Louisiana only on a pay-per-view basis on TigerVision, and made available on LSUsports.net via TigerVision Online.
LSU vs. Auburn
Oct. 24, 2009 – Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)
1. LSU’s game captains were 30 Josh Jasper, 24 Harry Coleman, 92 Drake Nevis, 18 Richard Dickson and 68 Josh Dworaczyk.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Auburn received the opening kickoff.
3. Tigers extending their notable consecutive starts streak tonight were: LT Ciron Black (47), OG Lyle Hitt (27), LB Harry Coleman (20), RT Joseph Barksdale (20), TE Richard Dickson (20), RB Charles Scott (20) and CB Chris Hawkins (20).
4. LSU’s touchdown on its opening drive, a 14-yard TD catch by Terrance Toliver, was the first TD by the Tigers on their opening drive in any game all season. LSU’s other score on an opening drive came at Washington with a field goal.
5. With Chris Hawkins’ interception in the second quarter, LSU has now intercepted at least one pass in nine straight games dating back to the final two games of the 2008 season.
6. LB Harry Coleman’s sack in the first quarter was the first by LSU since tallying three sacks against Vanderbilt in the second week of the season.
7. LSU’s defense did not surrender a point in the first half, marking the second time this season that has happened. The Tigers also held Georgia scoreless in the first half.
8. LSU has defeated Auburn in three straight meetings for the first time since 1972, 1973, and 1980. The last time LSU beat Auburn in three consecutive seasons was 1935-37. LSU now leads the all-time series, 24-19-1.
9. Tonight’s attendance of 92,654 is the eighth highest attendance in the history of Tiger Stadium.
10. LSU improved to 6-1 for the third time in five seasons under head coach Les Miles.
11. LSU has now won 33 of its last 34 Saturday night games in Tiger Stadium.
12. LSU extended its winning streak on the ESPN family of networks to 20 straight games. The streak dates back to the home opener in 2005 when Tennessee rallied for a 30-27 overtime win on a Monday night on ESPN2.
13. True freshman FB Dominique Allen started and saw his first action of his career. He became the sixth true freshman to see action in the 2009 season.
14. WR Brandon LaFell has now caught a pass in 35 straight games (34 of those multiple-reception games) dating back to the 2007 Sugar Bowl versus Notre Dame.
a. LaFell’s streak is the fifth longest streak in the nation. Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson leads the nation with 47 consecutive games with a catch.
15. WR Terrance Toliver hauled in his third receiving TD of the season and seventh of his career on a 14-yard throw from Jordan Jefferson with 8:21 remaining in the first quarter.
a. Toliver has now caught a pass in 17 consecutive games.
b. Toliver’s nine catches tonight are a career-high, surpassing his previous best of six receptions at Georgia earlier this season.
16. QB Jordan Jefferson fired his eighth and ninth TD passes of the season and 12th and 13th of his career on a 14-yard throw to Terrance Toliver with 8:21 left in the first quarter and a 17-yard pass to Brandon LaFell with 13:41 remaining in the third quarter.
a. Jefferson then recorded his first rushing TD of the season and second of his career on a 15-yard scamper with 1:10 to go in the first quarter.
b. Jefferson became the first LSU quarterback to run for a TD and throw for a TD in a game since Matt Flynn did it against Arkansas on Nov. 23, 2007. Jefferson is the first to achieve the feat in the same quarter since Marcus Randall ran for a TD and threw for a TD in the second quarter at Arkansas on Nov. 26, 2004.
17. LB Harry Coleman tallied his second forced fumble of the season and third of his career with 2:31 left in the first quarter.
a. Coleman’s two sacks of Chris Todd marked the first sacks of his career.
18. DB Danny McCray recovered a fumble for the third and fourth times in his career.
19. CB Chris Hawkins picked off his fifth career pass and second of the season with 14:29 left in the second quarter. Three of Hawkins’ five career interceptions have come against Auburn.
20. PK Josh Jasper booted a 32-yard field goal with 0:09 on the clock in the second quarter. He is now 12-of-13 for his career and 10-of-11 for the season. Jasper’s only miss came at Mississippi State earlier this year.
21. QB Russell Shepard ran for his first career TD on a 69-yard TD dash with 1:09 to go in the third quarter.
a. Shepard’s run was the longest play from scrimmage for LSU this season and the longest from scrimmage since Jacob Hester had an 87-yard run against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 10, 2007.
22. WR Brandon LaFell caught his sixth TD pass of the season on a 17-yard TD throw from Jordan Jefferson with 13:41 to go in the third quarter.
a. LaFell moved into third place in LSU career receiving touchdowns with his 20th career TD catch tonight. He is tied with Early Doucet (2004-07) and is one TD shy of second place held by Michael Clayton who caught 21 TDs from 2001-03. Dwayne Bowe (2003-06) holds the LSU career record with 26 TD catches.
23. LB Ryan Baker recorded the first sack of his career with an eight-yard takedown of Chris Todd with just over 5:30 left in the game.
LSU vs. Auburn
October 24, 2009
LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES
“That’s a very good Auburn team. They fought like heck. I give great credit to coach (Gene) Chizik, and I think he’s done a great job in his first year. We went into the open week with the want to improve, and we looked at some specifics. We still want to run the football and throw the football with balance and have the ability to do both. We think that in the long run in football and in the stretch run of the season, the team that has balance – can run it and throw it – will be the most dangerous offensively. We stayed the course. We throw for 250 (yards), and we rush for 122 (yards), and an offense comes to life. I still don’t think we are hitting on all cylinders. I think we can be better and more efficient. Our football team needs to improve. This is a nice win, certainly, but not one that we are going to rest and reflect on but choose to improve on ambitiously.
“We understand where we’re at. We play a quality team (Tulane) next week, and as the season unfolds, we are going to play some of the finest teams in the country. To be and compete with those teams, we have to be better, and our team knows that. That’s good. You’d have been proud of this team if you watched them in the open week, coming off a tough loss to a nationally-ranked team, and they just played hard. This was that mark. This was some improvement. Certainly, a very good defensive unit has taken the field week-in and week-out for us and is playing better and better. Offensively, we’re coming. I didn’t like how we played in (special) teams. I think we can play better in (special) teams, but again, it was a very good outing for the team.”
On how important it was for QB Jordan Jefferson to have this kind of game as a confidence booster...
“Part of the improvement is certainly at the quarterback spot. I think you watched him really execute pretty well. His last passing attempt was him not executing very well, but I think we can catch it better and throw it better, and I think that he is the kind of quarterback and kind of competitor that expects himself to be better. He’s a confident guy. He’ll look to improve.”
On the first-team defense going back on the field with eight seconds remaining in the game...
“They wanted to go back on the field. Can you stop them? I couldn’t stop them. There’s not any chance. I love that effort and that want and scrappiness late in the game with nothing really to prove other than a yard. They said, ‘I’ll play for a yard.’”
LSU OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
On preparation during the bye week ...
“We had a sub-par game against Florida a few weeks ago, and we had to come out in practice these last two weeks and work on our deep ball to get Jordan (Jefferson) in rhythm.”
On how it felt to execute on long pass plays ...
“It felt good. I feel like we could’ve been doing this all year. We executed the deep ball well today and we made plays.”
On next week’s game versus Tulane ...
“We are looking forward to Tulane now. We’re taking it one game at a time. The Auburn game is over, so now we’re going to turn our attention to Tulane.”
On the offensive improvements this week ...
“During the off week we focused on a lot of things that we made mistakes on. Coming out and executing the way we did offensively really gave us a confidence boost.”
On wide receiver Terrance Toliver ...
“He’s a great receiver. I trust Terrance (Toliver), and I always try to feed him the ball and will continue to do that the rest of the season. He had a great game tonight.”
On what made the passing game so effective against Auburn ...
“Watching film on the previous teams Auburn played really helped us prepare. We noticed they got passed on a lot, and a lot of touchdowns were thrown on them, and they gave up a lot of passing yards. We looked at that this week in practice and really focused on our passing game.”
LSU DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
DT Al Woods
On tonight’s game against Auburn ...
“After we lost to Florida, we came back as a team and decided to take the bye week and get to work and get better as a team. When it came down to game time, we were able to execute.”
On progression of the defense from week to week ...
“Coach always talks about giving our all and giving great effort. That’s what we pride ourselves on, and it’s what we really work on in practice. All 11 guys are running to the football. All 11 guys are working as a unit. There is no big-time individual. We are all on the same level and working for the same thing, so that’s what we’re going to keep doing.”
On offense’s performance in tonight’s game against Auburn ...
“I love to see Jordan (Jefferson) throw the ball, and Keiland (Williams) run the ball and having a good time. It feels good. I love to see (Russell) Shepard in the backfield doing something special. They’re going to be all right. It took a little while for them to get going. Now they’re going, and hopefully they play as awesome week in and week out.”
On looking at the rest of the season ...
“I think we’re going to take this win, put it behind us and come back on Monday and get ready to get to work to face the next challenge. We’re going to do that every week.”
On the victory against Auburn ...
“It feels really good. I think our offense came out tonight and showed everything they are capable of doing. Thirty-one points against a defense in a big rivalry game. Their defense came to play. Auburn has really impressive personnel and an impressive coaching staff. They’ve been putting 400 yards up on teams. Coach (John) Chavis gave us a scheme, and I think our defense came out in a dominant fashion starting with our defensive line.”
On watching the offense come together against Auburn ...
“It was really big. Everybody was praising the defense. As for what’s going on with the offense, when it clicks, it clicks. That’s what they did tonight. I’m just so happy for them. They’re showing what they can do. When they come out week in and week out with their heads on right, they can get through any team. “
AUBURN HEAD COACH GENE CHIZIK
Opening statement ...
“Obviously, LSU played a great game tonight, and pretty much from the beginning to the end, they just executed better than we did. They beat us in about every phase of the football game. I got to give them a lot of credit. They are a very, very good football team. We obviously have a lot of room for improvement in every phase of our game, and we have to regroup for next week. We have a tough game at home, and we have to go back out and find a way to win next week.”
On the way LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson played ...
“I thought we had our moments where we played some things well. What (Jefferson) did tonight is he hit some great deep balls on us. He was really, really accurate, and put the ball about the only place you could put it. There were times I thought we had good coverage, but the receivers went up and got the ball. He threw some jump balls in some places right now that were very hard to defend. He had a big night and executed well. The deep balls were the things that were glaring to me when it comes to our pass defense. They hit some underneath, intermediate ones as well, but it was the deep balls that got us. He threw them really with a nice touch tonight.”
On if he will change quarterbacks ...
“We will look at everything. That is the natural question, but it was a whole offensive effort, whether it was running the football, throwing the football. We just got beat tonight by a team that was more physical than we were, so I have to give them a lot of credit. For me to say that I’m going to look at one guy and see if there needs to be a change, I know that’s what’s on peoples’ minds, but it’s the whole offense. The whole offense is being unproductive. We had 42 yards at halftime. You can’t pin that on one guy. We are going to reevaluate one thing. One thing we know is that the offense can be productive, it has been for us in several games this year, and we have to get back on the right track.”
AUBURN OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
QB Chris Todd
On the team’s mentality when playing from behind...
“I think everybody’s fine. We’ve been in that position before, a lot earlier in the season against West Virginia and I think that’s helped us keep a good mentality on that type of situation.”
On what the offense needs to do to return to early season form...
“I think we just need a spark. We need a spark and we need something to get rolling. We’re a good football team. We did some good things in that game. We just need to sustain some drives and get into the end zone. There’s stuff we need to fix, but I think we’ll be fine and I’m just looking forward to next week.”
On the pressure he faced tonight from LSU’s defense...
“They were bringing a lot of different blitzes, and they definitely have a lot of speed. They’re known for that, and they did their job right. They’re a really good football team.”
RB Ben Tate
On struggling to generate offensive yards...
“They outplayed us right from the start. It’s hard to rebound from being down 14 points against a good team like LSU.”
On how Auburn’s turnovers impacted the game...
“You can’t win games turning the ball over, especially in SEC games. It’s as simple as that. Their offense just capitalized on our turnovers.”
On responding to three straight losses...
“We just need to keep working. We need to keep working and getting better and realize that we’re still 5-3. Our season is not over yet.”
On how LSU’s defense compared to the other teams they’ve faced...
“This defense was pretty good but they weren’t any better than Tennessee’s defense. We just didn’t execute.”
AUBURN DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
DB Walter McFadden
On if the defense was overwhelmed in the first quarter ...
“Not overwhelmed, we were just trying to get our communication going which kind of slowed us down. LSU came out with a great game plan and the crowd got into it and we just couldn’t get anything going.”
On Jordan Jefferson’s performance ...
“We knew that he was a great athlete. We knew that he could make throws and we had seen film when he had good games. We just needed to step up to the challenge and we didn’t. He came out firing it. He’s a great athlete and a great quarterback that led his team to a win.”
On what Auburn needs to do to turn it around ...
“Just keep communicating and keep fighting. We can’t put our heads down. We just have to keep fighting and let everyone know that we are here and that we are going to play hard every day.”
LB Josh Bynes
On the loss ...
“It was a tough loss and things were just not falling our way. LSU is a good team, though, and they are in the top 10 for a reason. Today just wasn’t a good day and LSU did a great job both offensively and defensively and they just beat us.”
On if LSU did anything they were not ready for ...
“No, we knew everything they were running but they just made plays and we didn’t. Their receivers made a lot of great catches on the ball, and we didn’t get into the pocket enough to make them get it out quicker.”