Auburn Loses 23-20 To LSU

The 2020 Auburn vs LSU game is a highly important game for both programs. Both teams come in with two losses and cannot afford a third.

The Auburn Tigers will have to wait another two years for an opportunity to end their losing streak at Baton Rouge that now sits at 20 years. Auburn fell short in the 2019 edition, falling 23-20 to LSU, despite the heroic effort by their defense. The Auburn offense once again gave an uninspiring effort that looked very similar to one given against the Florida Gators just a few weeks ago.

Auburn Loses 23-20 To LSU

First Half

Auburn Defense Was Strong

Through the first seven games, the lowest amount of points LSU had been held to in a first half was 20 when they played Texas. Auburn has a defense like LSU had not seen this season and held the Tigers from the Bayou to only ten points.

With the LSU rushing attack muted to just 30 yards rushing, the offense was put on the shoulders of Joe Burrow in the first half. In the first 30 minutes, Burrow went 22 for 27 with 208 yards and one touchdown. The Auburn defensive line spent most of the first half in the LSU backfield collecting three sacks and five tackles for loss. Both Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson were unblockable for the LSU Tigers.

Auburn Offense Had Issues

It was another up and down performance for Bo Nix in the first half going 7 for 17 for 65 yards and a interception late in the half. The Auburn rushing attack was solid though with 87 total yards.

The game started with both teams trading punts until Auburn went on a 14-play 4:07 minute drive that resulted in a 30-yard field goal by Anders Carlson to give them a 3-0 lead. After trading punts once again, LSU would put on an impressive drive of their own that lasted ten plays and 89 yards. The possession took 3:34 off the clock and ended with a 20-yard pass to receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. to put LSU up 7-3.

The game would stay with the 7-3 score until with 6:24 in the second quarter when LSU defensive back Derek Stingley Jr. muffed a punt that set Auburn up at the LSU 22. The play was reviewed, but there was not enough evidence to overturn the original call. Seven plays later on a fourth and one, Auburn freshman running back D.J. Williams would give Auburn a 10-7 lead when he barely was able to break the plain for a score. LSU got the ball back and were able to advance to the Auburn 11 but unable to get a touchdown and settled for a Cade York 20-yard field goal to tie the game at 10 with :33 seconds left.

Crazy Final Minute

Those :33 seconds were action packed. Auburn only had one timeout and the ball was at their own 27. It was obvious they were just attempting to run out the clock. D.J. Williams had other ideas. Williams took the Nix handoff 41 yards to get Auburn to the LSU 32 and in range for a Carlson field goal. Instead of just setting up the attempt Auburn took a chance at the end zone to Seth Williams, but the Nix pass was intercepted by Stingley to prevent any score for Auburn. So, at halftime the game was tied 10-10.

Second Half

Auburn Offense Got Worse

After an LSU punt on the first series of the second half, Auburn got a big 70-yard run from D.J. Williams to get themselves down to the LSU 9. That was all the excitement for that series with Auburn only gaining 3 more yards after the run by Williams. Auburn would have to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Carlson to go up 13-10. The Auburn offense got worse after that.

Auburn had six possessions in the second half end with a punt. Four of those were three and outs. The struggles continued for Nix in the second half going eight for 18 and 92 yards with one touchdown. He finished that game 15 for 35 with 157 yards. There is now a trend for Nix where he struggles against top competition in big games. In Auburn’s biggest games this season, Nix has completed just 39 of 93 passes. Nix has also thrown six interceptions in those games (Oregon, Florida, LSU). That is a completion percentage of 42%. Something must change in the offense, or this season will go sideways very quickly. It may already have.

LSU Found The Offense

The Auburn defense did all it could do to keep the team in the game in the second half. The the lack of productivity in the offense eventually wore down the group. LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 120 yards in the second half. This was after only gaining 16 in the first half. Edwards-Helaire scored on a six-yard score with 4:58 left in the third to give LSU a 16-13 lead. That is a lead they would never relinquish. This was after the Auburn offense got pinned inside their own five-yard line on back to back possessions. LSU took a double-digit advantage early in the third quarter when Burrow scored on a seven-yard run to go up 23-13.

Burrow finished that game going 32 for 42 for 321 with one passing score and the one on the ground. The Auburn offense continued to sputter until they finally reached the end-zone with 2:32 left in the game. Nix was able to connect with Seth Williams on a five-yard slant to get within three. Auburn would then unsuccessfully attempt an onside kick, and with zero timeouts remaining the game was pretty much over. The LSU Tigers were able to run out the clock and secure the 23-20 victory.

What’s Next?

The Auburn Tigers will return home to host Ole Miss next week after spending all of October on the road. The Tigers went 1-2 in those contests. There are several questions around this team especially on offense. This is a team that just a few weeks ago was looked at as a national championship contender. It should be an interesting week on the plains.




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