AUBURN, Ala. — LSU came into the game against No. 7 Auburn as 10-point underdogs. It was one the largest spreads against LSU this century.
That didn't matter, and once again, then-No. 12 and now No. 6 LSU proved their naysayers wrong.
Game Ball: Cole Tracy, kicker, senior
There were so many things that went LSU's way on Saturday. This could have gone to sophomore wide receiver Derrick Dillon, sophomore safety Grant Delpit among others.
However, it's impossible to pick anyone other than senior kicker Cole Tracy, who junior defensive end Rashard Lawrence said was, "Mr. Automatic."
The graduate transfer was 3-of-4 with his only miss coming from 52 yards out, and his 41-yard game-winner with no time left on the clock may have been the biggest kick of his career.
Honorable mention: WR Justin Jefferson, S Grant Delpit, QB Joe Burrow
Biggest Play: Cole Tracy's game winner
Like the previous category, there are so many options to choose from. The 71-yard catch and run gave LSU a fighting chance late, Burrow's 4th-and-7 completion to Stephen Sullivan, and Delpit's interception in the first quarter were all crucial.
It's hard to pick anything else. Even though there were so many precursors to this, the game-winning kick was on the road in a hostile environment where LSU hadn't won since 2012.
Biggest positive: Joe Burrow delivers when it mattered most
All the talk about Danny Etling was about how he failed to win the big games and never delivered wins against top teams. Etling was 5-5 against ranked opponents as LSU's starter.
Burrow is 2-0 against top 10 teams in three career starts with both wins coming away from home. While Burrow said he doesn't believe he played particularly well against Auburn, he never did anything so bad that it took away from LSU's chances to win.
In the fourth quarter, Burrow completed 5-of-9 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. Two of those completions came on the final drive and extended LSU's possession. The first being an out route to junior receiver Dee Anderon for eight yards on 3rd-and-7, and the second was the fourth down conversion to Sullivan.
Biggest negative: Penalties popped up in crucial times for LSU
LSU had chances to step on Auburn's throat early in the game, but multiple penalties in the first half led to LSU drives stalling deep in opponent's territory.
Sophomore right tackle Austin Deculus jumped early multiple times, an illegal block downfield by junior right guard Damien Lewis erased a gain by sophomore running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire that would've put LSU close to the first down marker, and sophomore outside linebacker Andre Anthony's roughing the passer penalty on third down kept an Auburn drive alive that the home team scored a touchdown from.
Each team was called for nine penalties, and the only difference was the yardage. LSU had 91 penalty yards, whereas, Auburn had 111 penalty yards.
Going forward: LSU given a reprieve before beginning the meat of its schedule
LSU survived the first half of September and will close out with home games against Louisiana Tech and Ole Miss. Both teams will be big underdogs against LSU, who looks to make it out of September unscathed for the first time since 2015.
The two games are a nice change of pace for the Tigers before they hit the road for Florida and follow that up with a three-game home stand against Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama.