Editor’s note: Each week this football season, Auburn University Journalism Instructor and The Auburn Plainsman Adviser Austin Phillips will break down the greatest games against that week’s opponent or notable games in that week’s history (for previous weeks, go here) Break it down, Austin.
Do you smell that? That hint of mustard in the air? Yes, the Corndogs are coming back to town. For the second time this year, the Auburn Tigers will take on another set of Tigers when our Corndog neighbors from the bayou visit the Plains. LSU leads the series 25-20-1, and Auburn will be looking for revenge following last season’s dismantling in Baton Rouge, 45-10. LSU enters the game as a heavy 21-point favorite, but the lights will be on in Jordan-Hare and the crowd will be rocking. Just remember to bring your mustard and relish.
No. 5: Oct. 14, 1989 – Auburn
Trailing 6-3 going into the fourth quarter, tailback Stacy Danley led Auburn’s rushing attack and the team to victory with a 1-yard touchdown burst, avenging the devastating “Earthquake” game loss in Baton Rouge in 1988. Danley and teammate James Joseph combined for 190 yards rushing, with Danley leading the way with 117 yards on the ground and Joseph with 73. While the Auburn ground game paved the way to victory, the AU defense stifled the Bayou Bengals to just 56 yards rushing. The victory proved to be a key in Auburn’s run to the SEC Championship.
No. 4: Sept. 16, 2006 – Auburn
In a match-up of No. 3 Auburn vs. No. 6 LSU on CBS national TV, the game lived up to the hype. Despite the low-scoring affair, the fourth-quarter drama all but made up for the lack of points. On the game’s final drive, LSU drove 75 yards in eight plays, but came up just short on the go-ahead score as Eric Brock stepped up in a big way for the second time in the final quarter. LSU quarterback Jamarcus Russell connected with receiver Craig Davis near the goal line as time expired, but Brock delivered a crushing blow and dropped Davis before he could reach the end zone. Just minutes earlier, with 2:43 left in the game and the Bayou Bengals facing a fourth-and-8, Brock stopped another LSU scoring threat when he deflected a pass from Russell to Early Doucet. The controversial play was reviewed as Zach Gilbert was called for pass interference, thus keeping the drive alive and giving LSU the ball at the AU 15, but officials reversed the call and ruled the ball was tipped before Gilbert hit Doucet. Although LSU dominated the stat sheet, 311 yards to 182, Auburn did just enough to seal the victory and moved to No. 2 in the nation. The victory also avenged the loss in Baton Rouge in 2005, in which AU kicker John Vaughn missed five field goals, including a 49-yarder at the end of regulation that would have won the game and a 39-yarder in overtime that bounced off the upright and would have sent the game into a second overtime.
No. 3: Oct. 23, 2010 – Auburn
It was Cam’s Heisman coming out party. Before the game, skeptics of The Chosen One’s ability said that none of the Heisman contenders had had that “Heisman moment” yet. Well, it happened with just under 12 minutes remaining in the third quarter on a first-and-10 from the LSU 49. As Newton faked a handoff to Mario Fannin, he darted through the middle of the line, nearly slipped to the turf, kept his balance, juked two LSU defenders and then carried All-American Patrick Peterson into the end zone to give Auburn a 17-10 lead. Although The Chosen One threw for just 86 yards on a 10-of-16 effort, it was the AU rushing attack that broke down the LSU defense. Auburn finished the game with 440 yards rushing on 52 carries, including 217 yards by Newton on 28 carries. Mike Dyer also finished with 100 yards and Onterio McCalebb finished with 86 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown run with five minutes remaining in the game to seal the victory. Newton’s huge day also helped break former AU quarterback Jimmy Sidle’s 47-year-old SEC record for rushing yards by a quarterback, while also breaking Pat Sullivan’s 40-year-old school record for touchdowns in a season, all in just eight games.
No. 2: Sept. 18, 2004 – Auburn
The ending of the this thriller was, shall we say, ‘Perfect.’ Hosting Nick Saban and his defending split-national champions, Auburn fell behind early and never caught up until 1:14 left in the game. With 6:37 left in the game, Auburn took the ball 60 yards in 12 plays, capping the drive with a touchdown pass from Jason Campbell to Courtney Taylor on the baseline of the end zone to tie the game at 9-9. On the ensuing extra-point attempt, John Vaughn’s kick sailed wide left and the LSU players, and fans, celebrated wildly. But wait, there’s a flag. LSU’s Ronnie Prude was called for a personal foul for jumping over the line and landing on an AU player and Vaughn was given a redemption shot. Vaughn hit the second attempt and the Tigers held on for the victory. LSU gave it one last shot on the ensuing drive, but Junior Rosegreen picked off a Russell pass and Auburn lined up in the victory formation to run out the clock. Campbell-to-Courtney proved to be a defining moment for Auburn and propelled the Tigers to a perfect season and a national championship run.
No. 1: Sept. 17, 1994 – Auburn
This game still gives former LSU head coach Curley Hallman and quarterback Jamie Howard nightmares. With Auburn riding a 13-game win streak, the unranked LSU Tigers didn’t seem fazed by the No. 11 Auburn Tigers. Auburn took a 3-0 lead on a Matt Hawkins field goal in the second quarter, but fell behind on LSU’s ensuing possession on a 76-yard touchdown pass. Auburn’s defense struck for the first time of the game two possessions later after falling on a fumbled ball in the end zone for the score. LSU added a field goal before the half, and then added a touchdown and a pair of field goals before the unthinkable happened. With just over 12 minutes remaining in the game and holding a 23-9 lead, Hallman decided to call for a pass play instead of chewing up clock. It was a decision he would regret for the rest of his life. In the shadow of their own end zone, Howard dropped back to pass and a delivered a strike… right to Ken Alvis who darted toward the end zone, bulldozed over three LSU defenders, stretched for the goal line and got the 42-yard return for the score. The play prompted the great Jim Fyffe to say, “Can a miracle happen?” Yes Jim, it can. Three plays later, Howard once again passed from the shadow of the LSU end zone and this time it was picked off by Fred Smith. Smith weaved his way through traffic and returned the pick 32 yards for the score to even the game at 23-23 with just 11:08 remaining. LSU finally got back on top on the following drive, but after stopping Auburn on the ensuing drive, it happened again. Yes, it happened again. Dropping back on a third-down play, Howard’s pass was tipped right into the hands of Brian Robinson, who raised a hand in the air and returned it 40 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. LSU got another opportunity and drove it into Auburn territory before it happened again. Yes, it happened again. But this time Robinson’s pick was negated when he had the ball knocked loose and LSU recovered. Facing their last opportunity, Howard dropped back and delivered a long pass into the end zone for the game-winning score. And it happened again. Yes, it happened again. Howard’s pass into double coverage fell into the hands of Chris Shelling and Auburn ran the clock out to increase the nation’s longest win streak to 14. In a series that has seen earthquakes, barns burned and games postponed due to terrorism, this one topped the cake. And if they ever decide to make a shrine to defenses, they’ll need to call it the Wayne Hall of Fame after this one.
Oct. 26, 2002 – Auburn
While this wasn’t the closest of great games, it sure was fun. Auburn dismantled the Bengal Tigers behind the running of Ronnie Brown and Tre Smith, all in the rain. The victory was just what Auburn needed after a heartbreaking overtime loss in Gainesville the week before.
Sept. 18, 1999 – Baton Rouge, La.
If the 2002 victory was fun, then this one was pure euphoria. The Riverboat Gambler Tommy Tuberville pulled out all the stops in this one on the bayou, including the over-the-shoulder toss fake field goal (yes Corndogs, Tommy did it to you on your own turf way before Les Miles arrived in Baton Rouge, so stop acting like you invented this trick play). Although Auburn fell on hard times after this win, dropping the next five games in a row in the ’99 season, the taste of cigars in the visitor’s locker room at Tiger Stadium sure was sweet.
Sept. 20, 1997 – Baton Rouge, La.
A third-quarter Jaret Holmes field goal proved to be the difference in this offensive shootout, but it was Rusty Williams’ 1-yard touchdown with 30 seconds to go that sealed the victory. Despite gaining just 65 yards on the ground, Dameyune Craig delivered a stellar performance through the air, finishing 23-of-45 for 342 yards and two touchdowns.
Sept. 19, 1992 – Auburn
Despite LSU’s 21-point fourth quarter, Scott Etheridge’s 42-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining was the clincher in this first SEC Western Division showdown between the two teams since the league expanded to 12 teams.
Oct. 25, 1924 – Birmingham, Ala.
This low-scoring affair marked three-in-a-row for Auburn over LSU dating back to 1912. It also marked the last time Auburn would win in the series until 1938, as LSU reeled off five wins in a row.
Nov. 1, 1913 – Mobile, Ala.
This showdown in Mobile marked Auburn’s fifth win of the season as the Tigers marched toward a perfect 8-0 record, the SIAA Championship and the first national championship in school history (right, Jumbotron?).
Nov. 20, 1901 – Baton Rouge, La.
Auburn’s dominating performance in the first game in series history ushered in a rivalry that still stands as one of the best in college football.
Austin Phillips is an Auburn University journalism instructor and adviser to The Auburn Plainsman. He can be reached at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @ScoopPhillips.
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