Auburn no longer King of the Road
Flynn ends game on risky 22-yard TD
Sunday, October 21, 2007
By Ted Lewis
BATON ROUGE -- The Kings of the SEC Road have been conquered.
Auburn came within a second of extending its remarkable record away from home Saturday, before LSU spoiled it on Matt Flynn's 22-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Byrd one tick before time expired, giving the hometown Tigers a 30-24 victory.
Going into Saturday's game, Auburn had won eight consecutive conference road games, including nailbiters at Florida and Arkansas earlier this season.
Auburn controlled things in the first half against LSU, leading 17-7 at intermission, and after falling behind in the fourth quarter had shown the composure it takes to win in hostile environments. Auburn drove 82 yards in the closing minutes to take a 24-23 lead on Brandon Cox's 3-yard pass to Rodgeriqus Smith with 3:21 remaining. Wes Byrum made the tie-breaking extra point.
It wasn't enough, though.
In the end, Auburn's defense, which held LSU to 137 first half yards, couldn't contain the Tigers in the second. LSU had 351 yards in the last two quarters, driving for two touchdowns and a pair of field goals.
That was more yards than Auburn had been allowing per-game (279.0) before Saturday.
Meanwhile, Auburn's only score of the final two quarters came on the Cox to Smith pass. The visitors had 127 yards in the second half with just six first downs.
The game turned in the third quarter.
Although Auburn kept the Tigers out of the end zone, making LSU settle for a pair of Colt David field goals, they weren't able to do anything offensively.
The visitors had only 48 yards in the third quarter and a pair of first downs. Auburn did reach the LSU 49, but with the home team finally getting pressure on Cox, Auburn had to punt 3 yards and two downs later.
Auburn's first half was a textbook on how to dominate on the road.
-- Take the crowd out of the game early.
The Tigers drove 63 yards for a touchdown on the game's first series. Nothing fancy, save for Cox's 17-yard pass to Montez Billings for the score.
-- Don't turn the ball over.
-- Take advantage of turnovers.
Auburn did, Jerraud Powers went 36 yards with the good hop recovery of Ryan Perrilloux's fumble to the LSU 4, setting up the Tigers' second touchdown.
-- Control the clock.
-- Don't commit foolish penalties.
Auburn had none, foolish or unfoolish.
-- Turn disadvantage into advantage.
Leading 14-7 midway through the second quarter, Auburn was pinned at its 5 after a Patrick Fisher punt.
A three-and-out would have given LSU great field position, but the visitors, using the elements that had carried them to success earlier in the game -- hitting open receivers underneath while never letting LSU defenders make a play for the ball and getting hard-earned rushing yards from Brad Lester -- drove 90 yards to the LSU 5, where the drive finally stalled.
Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville appeared to consider going for the first down 2 yards away, and LSU even called time out to guard against the fake. But in the end, Byrum kicked a 22-yard field goal with 1:40 left.
It was three points instead of seven, but it put an exclamation point on the half and should have given Auburn momentum for the second.
That wasn't the case, though.
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Re: Auburn no longer King of the Road
Auburn is always a solid team with some good athletes.
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