If you’re scoring at home, that’s three consecutive epics with dramatic endings for the LSU football team. While you’re at it, make it four in a row for LSU and Auburn.
LSU kept its national championship hopes alive Saturday night with another down-to-the-wire finish, edging Auburn 30-24 on Matt Flynn’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Byrd with 1 second left.
“This Auburn-LSU thing,” LSU coach Les Miles said, “I want you to know something: It’s not normal.”
The home team won for the eighth consecutive year in the series, and in a dramatic way for the fourth consecutive year.
The No. 5-ranked Tigers outgained the No. 18-ranked Tigers 351 yards to 127 in total offense in the second half. The game-winning drive covered 58 yards on nine plays after a short squib kick followed an Auburn touchdown.
LSU overcame a 17-7 halftime deficit, taking control in the third quarter and building a 23-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Auburn drove for a touchdown to regain the lead with 3:21 left. After Pep Levingston covered the short Auburn kickoff, the purple-and-gold Tigers had 3:13 on the clock to try for the victory against the visiting Tigers.
They used 3:12.
Flynn scrambled for yardage, pitched out to Richard Murphy and Jacob Hester and found himself facing third-and-7 from the Auburn 22 as the clock ran. LSU, which had one timeout left, apparently planned to take one more shot at the end zone before facing the prospect of a field goal attempt.
Flynn hit Byrd, who was tightly covered by Auburn defensive back Jerraud Powers, in the northwest corner of the north end zone with 1 second showing on the clock.
LSU (7-1) is tied for first place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division with Alabama at 4-1. Those teams will be off next weekend before meeting Nov. 3 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Auburn (5-3, 3-2) dropped out of a three-way tie with LSU and Alabama after losing away from home to an SEC opponent for only the second time in 16 games.
A Tiger Stadium crowd of 92,630 saw another Auburn-LSU 60-minute battle that belongs in a conversation with the previous three.
Auburn edged LSU 10-9 in 2004 by scoring a touchdown with 74 seconds left and kicking the game-winning PAT after a miss on the first try and a penalty against LSU.
An interception deep into the final minute ended LSU’s comeback hopes.
LSU defeated Auburn 20-17 in overtime in 2005, winning on Chris Jackson's field goal and Auburn's subsequent miss.
Auburn defeated LSU 7-3 last season, stopping LSU at the Auburn 4-yard line on the game’s last play.
Dramatics were nothing new to LSU’s 2007 team. In its last home game before Saturday’s comeback against Auburn, LSU rallied from a series of 10-point deficits to defeat reigning national champion Florida 28-24.
That victory wasn’t secured until LSU batted down a last-second Florida pass in the end zone.
A week later, LSU took its No. 1 ranking to Kentucky and lost 43-37 in triple overtime. The longest game in LSU history ended with LSU failing to pick up a first down on fourth-and-2.
Auburn helped make sure LSU’s next game would come down to the end.
Yes, it's been a little quiet here for the past couple of weeks... was I tongue-tied after the Kentucky loss? Not hardly, but that was one tough game full of LSU penalties. Gotta hand it to the Wildcats, though - they played to win. As for me, I've been out of town on a camping trip to Camp Avondale and a weekend getaway to New Orleans, so haven't had much time to blog. I'll get some pics up from the Big Easy soon... promise!
Now, for that Auburn game... WOW! It was almost as big as the Florida game, and might even be designated as The Earthquake Game - Part 2. It was definitely another classic game for the books! Let's just hope that the game at Nick Saban State (aka Alabama) isn't such a close matchup.