Auburn–LSU football rivalry
|Auburn–LSU football rivalry|
|Series record||LSU leads, 27–20–1|
|First meeting||November 20, 1901
Auburn 28, LSU 0
|Last meeting||September 21, 2013
LSU 35, Auburn 21
|Current win streak||LSU, 3 (2011-present)|
The Auburn–LSU football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Auburn Tigers football team of Auburn University and LSU Tigers football team of Louisiana State University. Both universities have been members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) since December 1932, but the rivalry dates back to 1901. The two teams did not play each other between 1943 and 1968, and then only occasionally until 1992. The SEC instituted divisional play in 1992, and Auburn and LSU have met on the football field every year since.
Auburn victories are shaded ██ navy blue. LSU victories are shaded ██ purple. Ties are white.
|1901||LSU||0||Auburn||28||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1902||LSU||5||Auburn||0||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1934||LSU||20||Auburn||6||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1935||LSU||6||Auburn||0||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1937||LSU||9||Auburn||7||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1939||LSU||7||Auburn||21||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1941||LSU||7||Auburn||7||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1969||LSU||21||Auburn||20||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1972||LSU||35||Auburn||7||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1980||LSU||21||Auburn||17||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1988||LSU||7||Auburn||6||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1993||LSU||10||Auburn||34||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1995||LSU||12||Auburn||6||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1997||LSU||28||Auburn||31||Baton Rouge, LA|
|1999||LSU||7||Auburn||41||Baton Rouge, LA|
|2001||LSU||27||Auburn||14||Baton Rouge, LA|
|2003||LSU||31||Auburn||7||Baton Rouge, LA|
|2005||LSU||20||Auburn||17||Baton Rouge, LA|
|2007||LSU||30||Auburn||24||Baton Rouge, LA|
|2009||LSU||31||Auburn||10||Baton Rouge, LA|
|2011||LSU||45||Auburn||10||Baton Rouge, LA|
|2013||LSU||35||Auburn||21||Baton Rouge, LA|
Series record source: College Football Data Warehouse.
In recent history, the Auburn–LSU game has decided the SEC West champion. The rivalry has displayed historically classic contests.
In 1988, #4 Auburn traveled to Tiger Stadium with one of its best teams in years, and national title aspirations. 4–0 Auburn entered the game outscoring its opponents 161–44, but were held to just two field goals. However, their outstanding defense kept 2–2 LSU (who had beaten Tennessee and Texas A&M before losing to Ohio State and Florida) scoreless through 58 minutes. However, with 1:47 left, QB Tommy Hodson found RB Eddie Fuller open on a crossing pattern for a touchdown on fourth and goal. Ironically, it was the same play Fuller had caught on 1st and goal, only to step out of the back of the end zone. The crowd eruption was so intense that it registered as an earthquake on the seismograph located in LSU’s Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex. Both Hodson and Fuller later said it was the most physical game of their college careers. College Football News ranks this game as the 17th best finish in the history of college football. Auburn would have likely played Notre Dame for the National Championship had they beaten LSU, as AU finished the season with six consecutive wins, giving up only 31 points in the process. Auburn and LSU tied for the SEC crown that year. Auburn ended the season losing to FSU in the Sugar Bowl 13–7. LSU lost to Syracuse in the Hall of Fame Bowl 23–10.
Auburn was on a 14-game winning streak and ranked #11 in nation under coach Terry Bowden when LSU traveled to Auburn in 1994, but it was LSU who led 23–9 entering the fourth quarter. LSU quarterback Jamie Howard threw five fourth quarter interceptions - three returned for touchdowns - as Auburn extended their winning streak to 15 with a 30–26 win. Auburn, with star running back Stephen Davis, was held to a mere 165 total yards, and Howard received death threats after the loss.
LSU donned its white jerseys for a home game for the first time in 15 years, inspiring the team to a 12–6 victory that cost fifth-ranked Auburn the chance to play in the SEC Championship Game. LSU cornerback Troy Twillie intercepted a Patrick Nix pass in the end zone on the final play of the game. This game is also referred to by Auburn fans as the Whistle Game, because Nix was sacked for a safety when he stopped play after a fan in the stands blew a whistle. However, the Sporting News reported that the LSU crowd "was so loud that Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix, standing in his end zone, thought he heard a whistle and mistakenly thought the play was dead. He was sacked for a safety."
LSU defeated Auburn 19–15 in 1996 while the old Auburn Sports Arena, affectionately called "the Barn", burned to the ground across the street from Jordan–Hare Stadium. After scoring a touchdown, Auburn trailed 17–15 and attempted the two-point conversion. LSU intercepted the pass and returned it for a 19–15 win. The fire began when a tailgater placed a barbecue grill too close to the building. Scenes of the fire were captured by ESPN during the national broadcast as flames were seen as high as the Jordan-Hare east upper-deck. The game was never delayed, and the Auburn public address announcer continually advised fans not to worry: "the stadium [was] not on fire; the flames [were] outside the stadium." Because of the fire and the thrilling finish, the game became known as the "Barn Burner".
On coach Tommy Tuberville's birthday, Auburn blew out LSU 41–7 during a rare day game in Baton Rouge. In celebration, Auburn players and coaches smoked cigars on the field at Tiger Stadium, much to the chagrin of LSU players and fans. This is cited among LSU faithful as the day the rivalry officially began, and it was used as motivation in 2001 when LSU beat Auburn 27–14 on the way to their first SEC title since splitting it in 1988. Auburn finished Tuberville's first season 5–6, while LSU ended the season 3–8 and with the resignation of coach Gerry DiNardo, who left before the third win of the season. Auburn has not won in Baton Rouge since, losing every game by an average margin of 17 points.
Originally scheduled for September 15, the game was moved to December 1 because of the September 11 attacks. The rescheduling resulted in an SEC mini-playoff, as the winner of this game would be the West champion while the winner of the Florida-Tennessee game the same night would take the East. The game was marked by bad blood from the 1999 cigar incident. Auburn added further fuel by stomping on LSU's midfield logo during pregame warmups. The action drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, allowing LSU to kick off from the 50. LSU successfully ran a surprise onside kick which, along with a hit by Michael Clayton on Auburn returner Roderick Hood a few minutes later, set the tone for the game resulting in a 27–14 LSU victory. In addition, Auburn kicker Damon Duval got into an altercation with LSU marching band members Mark Aycock and Joey LaHatte during their halftime performance. It was believed that the Auburn special teams units prematurely started post-half time warmup while the LSU Band was still performing its halftime show. After this incident, Duval did not make another field goal that night. Tommy Tuberville later sent a letter to the band leader Frank Wickes apologizing for Duval's actions.
Defending national champion and fourth ranked LSU visited Auburn just days after Hurricane Ivan. LSU took a 9–3 lead but missed the extra point. Auburn tied the game with 1:14 left when Jason Campbell threw a 16-yard TD pass to Courtney Taylor. Entering the game, Auburn had successfully converted on 190 straight extra points; however AU kicker John Vaughn missed the extra point. A personal foul penalty was called on Ronnie Prude for violating a new rule restricting jumping on a field goal attempt, and Vaughn connected on the second chance. Auburn would go on to win the SEC Championship, finish 13–0 and No. 2 in the final AP poll.
The hero of the 2004 game, John Vaughn quickly became the goat in Baton Rouge, as the normally reliable kicker missed five field goals - his final kick bouncing off the right upright in overtime. All of the attempted kicks were over 35 yards and 3 of the kicks would have been career long kicks for Vaughn. Auburn and LSU tied for the SEC West championship, but the win allowed LSU to play in the SEC Championship Game. Auburn tailback Kenny Irons, caught by ESPN cameras prior to the game guaranteeing a 200-yard game, provided a 218-yard performance and cemented himself as the starter for the remainder of the season.
The two Tigers met in Auburn, Alabama with their highest head-to-head ranking ever, and played what several athletes on both teams considered their most physical game of the season. Both teams were early season national title contenders. At the end of the first half, LSU managed a last second field goal to take a 3–0 halftime lead. Auburn took the lead with a third-quarter touchdown, and had two fourth quarter stops to win 7–3 in the lowest scoring game since an LSU 6–0 victory in 1935. In the final moments, playing with no timeouts left, JaMarcus Russell threw short of the end-zone to Craig Davis and Brock delivered a hit on the four yard-line to seal the Auburn victory.
Questionable calls led LSU to file an SEC complaint against the officiating crew. The media focused primarily upon an interference call being waved off during LSU's next-to-last drive as the ball was ruled to be uncatchable, but the complaint addressed several calls and the crew's officiating consistency. The SEC supported the officiating crew.
The victory helped Auburn climb to No. 2 in the AP Poll, while LSU fell to No. 10.
Demetrius Byrd made a last-second catch in the end zone to win it for LSU, 30–24. Down 24–23 and driving late in the game, LSU was in field goal range with the clock running and one timeout left. However, in one of the most discussed play calls of the 2007 season, Les Miles decided to try a long pass to the end zone before a possible FG attempt. Afterwards, Miles stated there was enough time for a 41-yard FG had the pass been incomplete, and the game clock proved him correct, although conventional wisdom argued the safer bet was to advance the ball a few yards, use the time out, and try the field goal. LSU would go on to win the SEC and BCS National Championship that year.
The next game between these two teams was played at Jordan Hare in Auburn, and the College Gameday crew that set up there only increased the heated rivalry. LSU got up 3–0 early with a field goal until Ben Tate ran for a touchdown to give Auburn a 7–3 lead. Quarterback Jarrett Lee threw an interception to Gabe McKinzee on his first pass of the game which was subsequently returned for a touchdown, giving Auburn a 14–3 lead at halftime.
In the second half, LSU quarterback Andrew Hatch was knocked out of the game with an injury, causing Jarrett Lee to spark his season with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Chris Michell, narrowing it to a four-point lead for Auburn. Later, Lee handed off to running back Keiland Williams who tossed a touchdown to Demetrius Byrd, giving LSU a 17–14 lead. LSU would later kick a field goal and go up 20–14. Auburn fought back and Chris Todd threw a TD pass to Robert Dunn that put Auburn up 21–20. With 1:03 left in the game, Jarrett Lee threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Lafell from 18 yards out to seal the game - giving LSU a 26–21 victory and their first victory at Jordan Hare in 10 years.
In 2010, the game was played at Jordan–Hare Stadium in Auburn. Both teams were undefeated and ranked in the top 10: Auburn was 4th in the nation, and LSU 6th. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton excelled on the ground. He ran for a career high 217 yards with 2 TD. Auburn totaled 440 yards rushing, which was the most ever achieved by the team against an SEC defense. The game was tied at 17 late in the fourth quarter, when Auburn tailback Onterio McCalebb ran 70 yards for the go-ahead score with 5:05 left. Auburn won the game 24–17. Auburn finished the regular season with a 12–0 record, and won the SEC title by beating South Carolina 56–17. Auburn went on to win the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game against Oregon in Glendale, AZ on January 10, 2011.
Between 2000 and 2005, Auburn or LSU won or tied for the SEC Western Division championship every season. In 2002, the Arkansas Razorbacks won a three-way tiebreaker (Alabama had finished atop the division but was ineligible); in 2003, Ole Miss Rebels tied LSU for the title, but the Tigers won the right to represent the division in the SEC Championship Game by virtue of a head-to-head victory tie-breaker. The 2006 season marked the first time since 1999 that neither team won or shared the SEC West title, as the Arkansas Razorbacks won the division championship out-right.
From 2000 to 2007, the home team won eight straight games. (Immediately before then, the visiting team had won four straight, from 1996 to 1999.)
The 2006 game was the lowest scoring contest between the two schools since 1935, when LSU defeated Auburn 6–0 in Baton Rouge.
The winning squad pitched a shutout 11 of the first 13 games to start the series. Since then, neither team has been shutout.
LSU leads the series 27–20–1. LSU leads the series in games played in Baton Rouge and Montgomery, Alabama, with a 15–5–1 and 2–0 record, respectively. Auburn leads for games played at Jordan-Hare Stadium (10–6), Birmingham, Alabama (3–2), and Mobile, Alabama (2–0). The rivalry between Auburn and LSU has developed only since the expansion of the SEC in 1992. Prior to then, the two teams played each other irregularly. When the SEC expanded, Auburn and LSU were placed in the Western Division conference, along with Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and new conference member Arkansas. As part of the conference’s realignment, division members now play all five opponents within their division every season, thus beginning the annual match-ups between Auburn and LSU. While Auburn lost annual rivalries with Tennessee and later Florida due to the SEC’s expansion and realignment, the LSU game has quickly become a heated and highly anticipated rivalry for both teams. For Auburn, the intensity of the LSU rivalry is surpassed by only the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry with Georgia and the Iron Bowl rivalry with Alabama.
Due to the September 11th attacks, the game was moved to December 1. This marked the first time since 1947 - when the Alabama legislature forced a game between the two - that Auburn played a team after Alabama in the Iron Bowl during the regular season. For LSU, the game marked the first time since 1991 that the Tigers played a team other than Arkansas as the final game of the regular season. Prior to Arkansas joining the SEC, LSU traditionally closed its season against in-state rival Tulane Green Wave. However, with the Florida-Tennessee game also having to move to that particular weekend due to the terrorist attacks, members of the news media joked that a silver lining on the break-up of the traditional season-finale rivalry games was that the SEC now had a rare, de facto semifinal playoff round to go with its conference title game, because the winners of both the Auburn-LSU and Florida-Tennessee games would advance to the SEC's title game. LSU and Tennessee won that weekend.
Since becoming permanent SEC opponents in 1992, the majority of the series has been played in September. Only seven times have games been scheduled in October (2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011), with Auburn winning two (2002, 2010) and LSU winning five (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011). Generally speaking, games in Baton Rouge tend to be in October, while games in Auburn have been in September.
- College football Data Warehouse, Auburn vs Louisiana State. Retrieved December 1, 2011.
- Eddie Pelz, "Auburn, LSU vie in other headliner", The Sun Herald, September 17, 1997, p. D5.
- Harrison, Steve (1997). "Booty's Bounty". The Sporting News, February 24, 1997. Retrieved 22 November 2006.
- "LSU AD Bertman criticizes SEC for defending officiating". ESPN. 2006-09-19. Retrieved 2008-01-23.