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Auburn falls to LSU 21-17

The game could not have started much better for Auburn. The Tigers received the ball first and put together a six play touchdown drive that concluded with a 53-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Robby Ashford to receiver Ja’Varrius Johnson.

Auburn’s defense would go on to force LSU to punt each of the first five possessions that they had the ball.

In front of the home crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn would tack on another touchdown and a field goal to jump out to a 17-0 lead over LSU.

It appeared that a brand new Auburn team had arrived for the matchup.

Auburn’s offense seemed to find some new answers behind a reshuffled offensive line, a more spread attack that aligned almost exclusively out of the shotgun, and personnel groups that featured many more wide receivers on the filed than tight ends.

This new offensive paradigm produced 17 points in the first 20 minutes of game action and helped set Auburn on course for a huge SEC win at home.

Then, after the Auburn defense had forced LSU to punt for the fifth consecutive time to open the game, everything changed.

Quarterback Robby Ashford, who had played a clean game to this point and showed flashes of brilliance along the way, fumbled while being sacked and LSU returned the turnover for a touchdown to cut the lead to 17-7 with just over six minutes remaining in the second quarter.

It was a tough break for Auburn on a great play made by standout defensive end BJ Ojulari from LSU. However, looking back, this is where everything changed for Auburn in this game and possibly for the season.

Auburn would get the ball back after the turnover, drive the field with some success, and have a chance to answer this misstep with a score of their own.

Unfortunately, kicker Anders Carlson pushed his field goal attempt wide right, missing the kick, and the score remained at 17-7 in favor of Auburn.

LSU would get the ball back with about 4 minutes left in the half following the missed kick and the Bayou Bengals put together their only touchdown drive of the first half which was heavily aided by Auburn penalties and a blown coverage.

So, after Auburn’s outstanding 17-0 start, the score was 17-14 at halftime and all of the momentum of the contest was squarely behind the visitors.

The second half of the game versus LSU was somewhat reminiscent of the matchup against Missouri last week for Auburn.

It was very ugly for both teams, aside from LSU’s lone touchdown drive in the third quarter.

The final thirty minutes of of action saw five punts between the two teams, four combined turnovers, unsuccessful fourth down and long attempts, and a ton of penalties.

When it was all said and done, LSU managed a 17 point comeback on the road to notch a 21-17 win over Auburn.

It was just the latest disappointment for Auburn in a continuous chain of collapses that reach back to the 2021 season.

At this point, there is a set of numbers and statistics from these Auburn Tigers that are almost impossible to believe, much less achieve.

Auburn has now earned a double-digit lead lead in five consecutive SEC matchups dating back to 2021 where the Tigers jumped ahead 28-3 against Mississippi State.

The mind-blowing part of the story is that Auburn has managed to give away the lead in every one of those SEC matchups.

The only SEC win since November of 2021 was last week’s absurd victory over Missouri in overtime.

Aside from the wins and losses themselves, what stands out the most is Auburn’s complete lack of ability to score points in the second half of games.

This issue has ailed Auburn since the end of 2021 as well. The struggles have been highlighted for a while now, but the ineptitude has peaked in the last two weeks.

Auburn has scored zero points in the second half against Missouri and LSU combined. In that same time frame, Auburn has punted eight times, turned the ball over on downs twice, and committed three turnovers.

In fairness, one of those turnovers was on special teams. So, the Auburn offense has had 12 possessions in the second halves of SEC games in 2022. Those 12 possessions have yielded zero points.

If Auburn is going to turn this around, the second half offensive failings must be corrected at all costs.

If improvement can’t be made, then the cost is going to be coaches’ jobs in the not too distant future.

Zack Shaw is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and former walk-on for the Auburn Tigers.




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