LSU quarterback Danny Etling orchestrated what could have been an unforgettable 14-play, 75-yard scoring drive to send an already reeling Auburn to a seventh straight home loss to a conference opponent.
Etling rolled out to his right on the final snap of the game with Carl Lawson barreling down on him. The junior somehow found D.J. Clark in the back corner of the end zone with no time on the clock.
For a moment, the entire LSU bench piled on Clark while a stunned crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium silently watched.
The game was over except it wasn’t.
Officials reviewed the play and found LSU snapped the ball with no time left on the clock sending Auburn players racing to the student section with a 18-13 win in hand.
“It was terrifying, to know as an athlete there’s nothing you could do about it,” Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson said.
Linebacker Deshaun Davis had a similar reaction to the final sequence calling it the “most intense moment of his life.”
Auburn gave its SEC West rival the ball back with 2:56 to go in the game following Daniel Carlson’s sixth field goal.
Etiling moved the ball across midfield where LSU came up empty on two short passes to Leonard Fournette setting up a third and eight.
Davis broke up the second attempt shaking Fournette up in the process. Fournette left the field under his own power, but wasn’t on the field for the important third and long.
Etling dropped back to throw, but had one side of the field all to himself. The quarterback immediately ran towards his own sideline getting the first down and more.
A 9-yard throw to Travin Dural gave LSU a short yardage situation inside the red zone, which they converted on a slant.
Carl Lawson looked like he might have put the game away with his second sack of the game for a 6-yard loss on second down, but LSU managed to get two more shots at the end zone setting up the final second exchange.
It was Auburn’s punchless offense that made the game a nailbiter.
LSU scored a touchdown with 2:47 to go in the first quarter when Danny Etiling found Foster Moreau on a short 3-yard pass, but it was the only time either team found the endzone.
The teams spent much of the game moving the ball back and forth across midfield with little payoff.
Auburn ended up going 4 of 5 in the red zone with all four trips ending with Carlson trotting out to the middle of the field. Johnson accounted for much of the offense with 161 total yards (93 rushing and a career-high 68 receiving).
Last year’s finalist for the Lou Groza proved he is once again one of the most reliable kickers in college football with each one of his kicks perfectly splitting the uprights.
Coach Gus Malzahn likes to call Daniel Carlson a “big weapon” for Auburn.
He might be the team’s only weapon.
“It’s automatic,” Johnson said. “All we have to do is get across our side of the field. It sounds bad, but that’s really all we have to do to get points.”
The kicker connected from 51-, 31- and 37-yards and added three more from 29-yards out, extending his perfect start to the season to 12 kicks without a miss and tied Auburn’s school record in the process for field goals made in a single game.
Auburn’s defense ensured Carlson’s field goals were enough by grounding LSU’s offensive attack and limiting Leonard Fournette to a handful of big plays.
AUB—FG Carlson 51, 6:38
LSU—Moreau 3 pass from Etling (Delahoussaye kick), 3:21
AUB—FG Carlson 29, 12:25
AUB—FG Carlson 29, 5:18
AUB—FG Carlson 31, 9:48
LSU—FG Delahoussaye 29, 5:41
LSU—FG Delahoussaye 25, 2:38
AUB—FG Carlson 37, 12:41
AUB—FG Carlson 29, 3:01
Time of Possession
RUSHING—LSU, Le.Fournette 16-101, Der.Guice 3-62, Chark 1-35, Etling 11-23, Darrel Williams 1-(minus 1). Auburn, K.Johnson 22-93, Pettway 17-61, Truitt 2-5, Franklin 1-4, M.Davis 0-0, Stove 1-0, S.White 6-(minus 9).
PASSING—LSU, Etling 15-27-0-118. Auburn, S.White 19-26-0-234.
RECEIVING—LSU, Dural 4-47, Dupre 4-21, Chark 3-11, Le.Fournette 2-4, Jeter 1-32, Moreau 1-3. Auburn, R.Davis 5-31, K.Johnson 4-68, Stevens 4-58, M.Davis 3-17, K.Davis 2-24, Slayton 1-36.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—LSU, Delahoussaye 51.