LSU Football Vs Auburn: The Top 10 Games In Series History
Historians and fans won't rate LSU-Auburn as one of the best in the sport's history. But since the SEC split into divisions in 1992, these Tigers teams have played some of the closest, toughest, wackiest and most controversial games in college football.
Saturday's battle on The Plains will mark the 45th meeting between LSU and Auburn. The rivalry began in 1901, and LSU leads the series 24-19-1. This will also be their highest head-to-head ranking ever: LSU ranked sixth and Auburn fourth in the BCS standings.
Seven times since 1997, the winner of the LSU-Auburn game has determined who represented the West in the SEC Championship Game. The 2010 edition may also, as both teams are tied on top of the SEC West with identical 7-0 (4-0) records.
With that as the backdrop, here are the 10 most memorable games in the LSU-Auburn rivalry.
Honorable Mention: Sept. 18, 1999 — Auburn 41, LSU 7
This was the last Auburn victory in Baton Rouge. What made this contest memorable was the postgame festivities.
To celebrate the win and then-head coach Tommy Tuberville's 45th birthday, Auburn coaches and players smoked cigars on the Tiger Stadium turf. LSU fans were irate by the merriment. This set the stage for revenge two years later.
Honorable Mention: Dec. 1, 2001 — LSU 27, Auburn 14
The game was originally scheduled for Sept. 15 but was moved after the Sept.11 terrorist attacks.
Auburn only added more tension to the cigar episode. During the pregame warm-ups, Auburn players stomped on LSU's midfield logo, resulting in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Kicking off from the 50-yard line, LSU recovered the onside kick at the Auburn 36 and scored a touchdown six plays later.
Also, the Auburn special teams began their post-halftime warm-ups while the LSU Marching Band was still performing its halftime routine. Kicker Damon Duval got into a squabble with two band members. Later, Tuberville sent a letter of apology to band leader Frank Wickes for Duval's behavior.
No. 10: Sept. 16, 1995 — LSU 12, Auburn 6
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Auburn fans begrudgingly refer to this meeting as the "Whistle Game."
Trailing 10-3 with seven seconds left in the first quarter, Auburn was backed up to its own three-yard line. The Death Valley crowd got deafening.
Standing in the end zone to receive the snap, quarterback Patrick Nix thought he heard a blown whistle and stopped play. LSU safety James Gillyard continued on and sacked Nix for a safety.
Some believe there was a fan the stands who blew a whistle, but that is for conspiracy theorists to figure out.
No. 9: Sept. 20, 1997 — Auburn 31, LSU 28
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This high-scoring matchup went back and forth until the end. Auburn relied on the big arm of quarterback Dameyune Craig (342 yards, 2 TDs), while LSU cranked up Cecil "The Diesel" Collins for 232 yards and 2 TDs.
LSU led 28-24 with a little over three minutes remaining. Craig engineered a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended on a Rusty Williams 1-yard touchdown run with 30 seconds on the clock.
On the last play of regulation, LSU QB Herb Tyler threw a Hail Mary pass that fell incomplete. However, Auburn was flagged for an illegal participation penalty. LSU attempted a game-tying 64-yard FG that was blocked to end the game.
No. 8: Sept. 20, 2008 — LSU 26, Auburn 21
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The LSU faithful remember 2008 as the year of the pick-six for Jarrett Lee. In this contest, he threw one to Gabe Mckinzee to give Auburn a 14-3 halftime lead.
Andrew Hatch replaced Lee at quarterback but was knocked out on LSU's first drive of the third quarter with an injury. Lee returned to the game a different man, throwing two touchdown passes in the second half.
Trailing 21-20 and well within field goal range, Lee found Brandon LaFell for a 19-yard TD pass with 1:08 left in the game. This was LSU's first win at Jordan-Hare Stadium since 1998.
No. 7: September 17, 1994 — Auburn 30, LSU 26
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Auburn brought a 14-game winning streak into the 1994 edition of the Tiger Bowl. However, it was LSU that had a 23-9 lead with 14:17 left in the fourth quarter.
That's when LSU quarterback Jamie Howard had a complete meltdown. He threw five of his six interceptions in that quarter—three of which were returned for touchdowns.
Howard's final pass was picked in the end zone with 16 seconds remaining to secure the Auburn win. He got death threats from Bayou Bengal fans after the defeat.
No. 6: Oct. 22, 2005 — LSU 20, Auburn 17 OT
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As you'll see later, Auburn kicker John Vaughn was the hero of the 2004 meeting. But a year later, he was the goat.
After making a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter, Vaughn missed five straight attempts, including a 49-yard potential game-winner at the end of regulation.
Tied at 17 in overtime, Auburn won the coin toss and elected to defend. LSU kicker Chris Jackson made a 30-yard FG on the Tigers opening possession.
Auburn only gained two yards on its possession and tried a 39-yard FG. Vaughn's kick hit the left upright. The 92,664 fans in Tiger Stadium exploded in celebration, while Vaughn crumbled to the ground in despair.
No. 5: Sept. 21, 1996 — LSU 19, Auburn 15
Talk about a "Barn Burner."
The game began with the Auburn Sports Arena, nicknamed "The Barn," burning to the ground. ESPN cameras captured the scene of flames and smoke billowing higher than the west end of Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The game was just as mesmerizing. With 38 seconds left in the game and trailing 17-9, Auburn RB Rusty Williams scored on a seven-yard touchdown run.
On the two-point conversion attempt, LSU safety Raion Hill intercepted Jon Cooley's pass and returned it all the way for two points.
No. 4: Sept 18, 2004 — Auburn 10, LSU 9
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LSU came in as the defending national champions and the fourth ranked team in the country. The game was a defensive struggle, and LSU led 9-3 for most of it.
With under seven minutes to go, Auburn QB Jason Campbell conducted a 12-play, 59-yard drive that culminated with a game-tying 16-yard TD pass to Courtney Taylor.
Vaughn, who had made 190 consecutive PATs, missed the extra point. However, LSU's Ronnie Purdue was flagged for a personal foul on the play, and Vaughn connected on his second attempt to give Auburn the victory.
Auburn finish the 2004 season 13-0 and No. 2 in the final polls. Given what we know now about the USC program back then, Auburn could have been national champions.
No. 3: Sept. 16, 2006 — Auburn 7, LSU 3
LSU fans have called this game "Grand Theft Auburn" and "Ref Gate" because they feel that officiating affected the result.
In the most physical matchup ever between these teams, the only scoring came on a Colt David field goal to end the first half, and a Brandon Cox 1-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Several controversial calls were made in Auburn's favor. This most memorable was on a 4th-and-8 with 2:48 left in the game. The back judge flagged Auburn DB Zach Gilbert for pass interference on LSU WR Early Doucet. A minute later, the referee picked up the flag, ruling that Eric Brock's deflection made the pass uncatchable, even though it occurred after Gilbert's tackle of Doucet.
LSU still had one final chance to win. On the last play of regulation, JaMarcus Russell floated a completed pass to Craig Davis. But Block clobbered Davis down at the 4-yard line to clinch Auburn's win.
LSU filed a complaint with the SEC against the officiating crew, but the conference backed their decisions.
No. 2: Oct. 20, 2007 — LSU 30, Auburn 24
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There are about a dozen plays you can use to personify why LSU coach Les Miles is called the "Mad Hatter." But, this one probably does him the most justice.
LSU trailed Auburn 24-23 with 32 seconds remaining. Miles had one timeout left but chose not to use it. So, the clock kept running.
With eight seconds left, the ball was snapped. LSU quarterback Matt Flynn dropped back and found Demetrius Byrd on a 22-yard fade route touchdown pass with one second on the clock that sent Death Valley into pandemonium.
LSU would finish the 2007 season as the SEC and BCS National Champions.
No. 1: Oct. 8, 1988 — LSU 7, Auburn 6
Auburn entered the game 4-0, ranked fourth and had outscored their opponents 161-44.
But on that night, the Bayou Bengals held Auburn's high-powered offense to only two field goals. Conversely, the LSU offense struggled throughout. They gained 28 rushing yards on 27 carries, and quarterback Tommy Hodson only completed 19-of-42 passes for 185 yards.
With 6:07 remaining, LSU's offense finally found life. Hodson engineered a 15-play, 75-yard drive. With 1:41 left, Hodson rocketed an 11-yard touchdown pass to fullback Eddie Fuller. The 79,431 in attendance erupted with such force that it set off the seismograph in Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex located 1,000 feet from Tiger Stadium.
Since then, the game has been known as "The Earthquake Game."