Fifth-ranked Auburn scored on its first four possessions of the game to defeat the LSU football team, 41-7, on Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
No. 15-ranked LSU (4-2, 0-2 SEC) lost its first two league games in Les Miles’ 10 seasons as the Tigers head coach, with both losses coming to undefeated and soon-to-be top-10 SEC West foes.
Starting a true freshman at quarterback for only the seventh time since NCAA rules allowed freshmen to play in 1972, LSU was unable to keep its defense off the field in the first-half onslaught.
Quarterback Brandon Harris finished 3-of-14 passing for 58 yards, while sophomore Anthony Jennings entered in the third quarter and was 5-of-10 passing for 84 yards.
Leonard Fournette led LSU with 42 rushing yards on 10 attempts, while Harris added 36 and Terrence Magee managed 23. Kenny Hilliard scored LSU’s lone touchdown with a 1-yard run that followed a 52-yard catch by Malachi Dupre.
John Diarse and Travin Dural each had 40 receiving yards for LSU.
LSU was outgained 566-280 and was 0-for-13 on third down.
Defensively, LSU’s Danielle Hunter (12 tackles), linebacker Lamar Louis (9), safety Jamal Adams (7) and tackle Christian LaCouture (6) each set career marks for tackles.
LSU remains on the road next Saturday, Oct. 11, as the Tigers will travel to face Florida in Gainesville. Kickoff time and the network television are expected to be announced Sunday.
Auburn (5-0, 2-0 SEC) built a 31-7 halftime lead with big plays and never looked back.
Quarterback Nick Marshall ran the show efficiently for the home team, completing 14-of-22 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns while gaining 119 yards and scoring twice more on the ground.
Cameron Artis-Payne led Auburn with 126 rushing yards, while Sammie Coates caught four passes for 144 yards including a 56-yard back-breaking touchdown catch.
LSU lost the coin toss for the seventh-straight game dating to the 2014 Outback Bowl, and Auburn deferred its decision until the second half
The visiting Tigers couldn’t find an offensive rhythm in the opening quarter, punting on their first three drives without gaining a first down. A raucous environment contributed to a fumbled snap and a false start that kept LSU from finding continuity behind its true freshman signal caller early in the contest.
Meanwhile, national runners-up Auburn started fast behind senior Marshall. Auburn gained 247 yards in the opening quarter, mostly on big plays.
Marshall gained 18 on his first play to the Auburn 40 and picked up his first third-down conversion with a 19-yard pass to Bray to the LSU 34. The LSU defense forced a field goal attempt when Marshall’s pass intended for Williams fell incomplete. A career-long 46-yard field goal by freshman placekicker Daniel Carlson put Auburn ahead 3-0 with 10:16 left in the quarter.
On his second possession, Marshall dumped off a 19-yard pass to Artis-Payne to the LSU 48. Through a holding penalty on second down put Auburn in a second-and-18 hole, Marshall launched a 56-yard touchdown pass to Coates that LSU cornerback Rashard Robinson was in position to make a play on but missed his attempt to bat down.
Auburn’s third drive also included a big play. Backup quarterback Jeremy Johnson threw a 38-yard pass to Coates at the LSU 20 and Marshall scored with a 7-yard scamper two plays later. Auburn led 17-0 with 3:38 left in the opening quarter.
LSU finally found running room on its fourth drive of the game, with Fournette gaining two first downs rushing to the LSU 47. On the next play, Harris rolled out of the pocket and fired a 52-yard strike to Dupre who was tackled at the 1.
Kenny Hilliard scored the 1-yard touchdown on the following play to put LSU on the scoreboard. With 1:24 remaining in the first quarter, LSU trailed 17-7.
LSU’s defense nearly swung the momentum in its favor for the first time when Kendell Beckwith batted a pass into the air, but Ricky Jefferson was unable to come up with the interception. The next two plays went for 26 and 34 yards to the LSU 11. On second-and-goal from the 9, Marshall drifted to his right and waited for tight end C.J. Uzomah to slip undetected into the endzone for a touchdown.
The eight-play, 72-yard drive put Auburn ahead 24-7 with 14:27 remaining in the half.
After five-straight punts, Auburn took over at its 19 and again overcame a negative play – a sack by LaCouture – with a long pass in Coates’ direction. The 29-yard reception moved Auburn to its 43 before Marshall added 15 yards with his feet and Artis-Payne moved the chains to the LSU 31 with an 11-yard run.
Auburn pushed its advantage to 31-7 with the seven-play, 81-yard drive.
In the closing minute, LSU coverted a fourth-and-1 with a 14-yard run by Williams to the LSU 48. Harris’ 32-yard run to the Auburn 25 put the Tigers in field-goal range with 10 seconds left and one timeout. LSU didn’t use the timeout and Harris’ pass intended for Travin Dural was batted away with no time remaining.
On its second drive of the third quarter, Auburn used a 21-yard pass from Marshall to Coates to setup a 42-yard field goal by Carlson that added to the Auburn lead, 34-7, with 7:33 on the clock.
LSU’s defense earned a turnover when Marshall fumbled at his 35. However, with Jennings under center, LSU managed only three yards and gave the ball back on downs.
Following an Auburn punt, Jennings’ 37 yard pass to Diarse gave LSU a first down at its 45. Jennings ran for nine yards and Fournette moved the chains with a short run. On the final play of the third quarter, Auburn was flagged for pass interference on Dupre at the goalline to give LSU a first down at the Auburn 28. LSU was unable to advance in four downs and turned the ball back to Auburn.
With four plays of more than 10 yards – all on the ground – Auburn added to its lead with a nine-play, 76-yard drive that ended with a Corey Grant 12-yard touchdown run around the right end.
Auburn led 41-7 with 8:44 remaining in the game.
LSU’s second touchdown of the game came in the final four minutes. After a Fournette first down rushing, Jennings connected with Dural for 40 yards to the Auburn 20. For the third time in the second half, LSU passed up a meaningless field goal for a shot at a touchdown. But, LSU was denied each time.