No. 13 LSU knocks off No. 7 Auburn with field goal on final play
AUBURN, Ala. – OK, we believe: LSU is for real.
Cole Tracy’s 42-yard field goal as time expired completed a fourth-quarter rally to beat Auburn 22-21. A typically fierce defense helped LSU keep close after Auburn had scored three consecutive touchdowns to take a 21-10 lead.
But the real discovery was this: LSU has a quarterback. Joe Burrow, the graduate transfer from Ohio State, was poised and a playmaker during the rally. Here are three takeaways from LSU’s 22-21 win.
1. We’re still not sure Joe Burrow should have unleashed the throw. Derrick Dillon was running deep over the middle, but he was bracketed by three defenders. The pass somehow dropped in, just over a leaping linebacker. Dillon grabbed it and kept running. Seventy-one yards later, LSU had jolted its way to within 21-19, midway through the fourth quarter. And the verdict was in: At long last, LSU has a quarterback.
Burrow finished only 15 of 34 for 249 yards. But he made critical throws all day long, including on fourth-and-7 near midfield with two minutes left, when he stood calmly in the pocket and hit Stephen Sullivan crossing the middle. It was the biggest play on the winning drive.
2. Suddenly, LSU is a contender in the SEC West – and maybe for the playoff. The Tigers’ defense is big, strong, fast and angry. While the offense is streaky, the emergence of Burrow provides LSU with something it hasn’t had in a long while. Ed Orgeron wasn’t really on the hot seat going into the season, but fans were rightly uneasy. The offense remains clunky – though Auburn’s defense had plenty to do with that – but the fans can ease up now.
3. Auburn’s streaky offense is a real issue. Yeah, LSU’s defense had plenty to do with it. But Auburn managed only 130 yards rushing. And Jarrett Stidham is capable of terrific playmaking, but he also threw two costly interceptions.
That said, Auburn remains in the hunt for the SEC West, and also the playoff (that win against Washington continues to resonate). But any margin for error is gone.