18 years. It’s been 18 looooong years since Auburn beat LSU in Baton Rouge, a streak that dates back to before Tigers on either side were even born.
Despite their best efforts, the visitors from Alabama will have to see that streak hit the two decade mark after a crazy second half comeback by the home team led to a 42-yard field goal by Connor Culp that ended up giving LSU a remarkable 27-23 victory to shake up the SEC and College Football Playoff races.
Auburn struck first on Saturday afternoon to establish a pretty good early tone to the game, scoring on four of their first five drives to jump out to a 23-7 lead in the second quarter. Given how well the offense was rolling and the ability of their defense, it was looking pretty good for the No. 10 team in the country to finally exorcise some demons.
Not so fast Tigers, the… uh, other Tigers were not about to roll over.
Grabbing some momentum behind big play machine Russell Gage (71 yards rushing, 28 receiving), LSU seemed to snap out of their offense malaise and make things interesting with each passing drive. QB Danny Etling found Gage just before halftime in the corner of the end zone for a key score and then the team really made things interesting when D.J. Chark returned a punt 75 yards to start the action in the 4th quarter.
That cut the lead to two points but the team wasn’t done yet. LSU got the ball again after a bad punt and moved right into field goal position, which Culp promptly nailed following a timeout in order to give the team the lead. The kicker later tacked on another shorter field goal after the defense forced a turnover on downs to all but seal the sweetest victory of Ed Orgeron’s short tenure as the full-time head coach.
While the outcome will be talked about quite a bit around the state of Louisiana for the crazy comeback and nobody-saw-it-coming win streak for LSU, things will not be quite so pleasant for Gus Malzahn on his return home after Auburn managed just 55 yards in the second half before a few plays at the very end. The Tigers simply didn’t move the ball at all after emerging from the locker room and saw their normally top-notch defense give up several big plays down the stretch.
The loss puts Auburn behind the eight-ball in the playoff chase as well, although it won’t completely knock them out of the SEC West race provided they get a little help and can beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl at the end of the year. Based on what we saw Saturday though, that will be quite a stretch after some impressive results following their first loss of the year.
Either way, on a wild weekend in college football, a third top 10 team went down on the road to add even more drama to the season as we hit the halfway mark.