By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
STOCK UP: Intestinal Fortitude
Auburn raced out to a 17-0 first quarter lead in what could only be described as a series of disasters for LSU between D.J. Chark’s fumble and a coverage bust by Grant Delpit. It’s believed to be the first time since 2001 that LSU found itself in such a hole at Tiger Stadium so quickly. Auburn appeared primed to hang 50 on the home team, but Ed Orgeron’s troops didn’t quit and fought their way back. LSU scored twice before halftime and the defense pitched a shutout in the third quarter, setting the stage for another dramatic finish.
STOCK UP: Special Teams
Maybe LSU doesn’t need a special teams coordinator after all? For the second time in as many weeks, LSU’s third phase of the game made all the difference in a close victory. It started of course with D.J. Chark’s electrifying 75-yard punt return for a touchdown to cut the deficit to two. Then Russell Gage downed a punt at the Auburn 2-yard line late in the fourth quarter. After forcing a three-and-out, LSU picked up a first down and sent Connor Culp on for the game-winning 42 yard field goal. Culp then drilled a 36-yard kick to put the result on ice.
STOCK UP: Jet Sweeps
LSU looked dead in the water offensively until Russell Gage took a jet sweep running left in the second quarter and ripped off a 70-yard run, juking an Auburn safety out of his shoes along the way. Derrick Dillon gained six yards on a subsequent jet sweep and Stephen Sullivan scored from a yard out on fourth-and-goal to finally get LSU on the scoreboard. In the second half, Gage attempted a pass off a jet sweep. It didn’t work, but it gave the defense another element to think about. That all served to protect an offensive line missing both its starting tackles.
STOCK DOWN: Tackling
Ed Orgeron said Dave Aranda barley slept after LSU’s 17-16 victory over Florida because he spent the balance of the weekend charting every one of his defense’s missed tackles. Well, there’s more sleepless nights coming for LSU’s defensive coordinator if he chooses to make this a weekly routine. LSU had a nightmare of a time getting Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson on the ground. He gashed the Bayou Bengals for 123 yards and a score on 21 carries in the first half alone. LSU tackled better after halftime, but the hole was dug.