LSU coach Ed Orgeron said all week how the annual matchup with Auburn always comes down to one or two defensive and special teams plays. Unfortunately for the purple and gold, they were on the wrong side of that theory as turnovers played a key role in Auburn jumping on LSU in the first half and never looking back.
A week after controlling its game against South Carolina, LSU (2-3) was thoroughly embarrassed by Gus Malzahn, Bo Nix and Auburn, losing 48-11. All of the progress, however minimal the win over the Gamecocks provided, was shattered in a single afternoon. The 48 points scored by Auburn are the most Auburn has ever scored in its 119-year series with the purple and gold.
It was also LSU’s largest margin of defeat against a team not ranked in the AP top 25 since the poll was constructed in 1936.
Three turnovers on offense, a 4-of-14 showing on third down and a complete stoppage in the run game all contributed to the woes seen Saturday afternoon. This was to be a big week for the defense to see what kind of improvements were made and after allowing 510 total yards and countless explosive plays on the afternoon, the defense reached an all new low.
Nix threw for 300 yards and an additional 81 on the ground including four total touchdowns.
On Halloween afternoon, LSU couldn't have asked for a more nightmarish second quarter and it only got worse as the game progressed. After playing the field for most of the first quarter, Auburn absolutely punched the LSU offense in the mouth and never looked back.
Freshman quarterback TJ Finley made two major mistakes, overshooting Terrace Marshall for an interception returned inside the five-yard line leading to a touchdown and a strip sack returned for another score. While it wasn't a sharp stretch for the true freshman, there also wasn't much help from his weapons.
Three drops and an inability to get the run game going were huge issues the offense could not overcome in the opening 30 minutes before the game completely got out of hand. The duo of John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price, who exploded for 223 yards on the ground, were limited to 29 yards in the first half and 21 for the game.
The one highlight for the LSU offense in the second half was a 43-yard touchdown hookup from freshman Max Johnson, who played much of the final two quarters, to fellow true freshman Kayshon Boutte.
For a large portion of the first half, the defense held up, forcing a punt on three of five possessions and a Derek Stingley fumble also was a swing in the right direction. But explosive plays continued to be an issue, particularly on the final Auburn drive of the first half which ignited the offense.
En route to a 99-yard touchdown, Auburn rattled off plays of 28 and 26 yards and capped off by a busted coverage for a nine-yard touchdown with nobody from the LSU defense in the vicinity.
That 99-yard drive set off a chain reaction as Auburn scored touchdowns on its next four drives with misdirection, missed tackles, missed assignments and miscommunication all playing a factor in the abysmal performance.
LSU now has two weeks to prepare for its most daunting opponent to date in Alabama.