LSU 23, Auburn 20
Don’t look too much into the final score. Auburn has one of the nation’s best defensive lines – DT Derrick Brown was a bear with seven tackles, a sack, and a few other big plays behind the line – it’s a tough team that’s able to keep things close, and it doesn’t quit. LSU needed to battle to the very end, and not everything worked like it had throughout the first part of the season, and it still got the win. You wanted to see what Joe Burrow could do when he got hit? Here you go.
Burrow completed 32-of-42 passes for 321 yards and a touchdown with a pick, and he ran for a score. He did what he needed to do to stay in the Heisman race, but more importantly, he got LSU to the week off at 8-0. He held up, Clyde Edwards-Helaire helped the cause with 136 yards and a score, and the LSU version of the Tigers got by despite getting flagged 12 times and being a -1 in turnover margin. However …
Auburn only had the ball for 27 minutes and was flagged 15 times. Bo Nix struggled – he only completed 15-of-35 passes for 157 yards – struggled on third downs, and couldn’t get the offense moving on a consistent basis. Even so, he was still able to do just enough when the game was still a fight. It was the third game against a good team – Oregon and Florida the others – and he wasn’t great in any of them. That Auburn was close to winning all three shows how good the team really is.
LSU got to 8-0 with two weeks off for the showdown against Alabama. This win might have been even more than that. Now, with at Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M to close out, the team might be just strong enough to be College Football Playoff-worthy at 11-1 with a good, close loss at Alabama. Win, and obviously that changes the dynamic.
Auburn gets Ole Miss next week, then gets to play giant-killer with Georgia and Alabama coming to Jordan-Hare. This was the last road game, and all things considered, the team held up well despite getting just one home date since September 14th. A New Year’s Six game is still in play, but it’s a beaten up team that’s going to need the time off – it gets two weeks – before dealing with the Dawgs.