LSU's defense had given up three-straight touchdown drives, and Auburn held a 21-10 lead.
After LSU's hot start on offense fizzled out, it seemed as if Auburn's offense — which averaged 494 yards and 42 points in the first two games of the season — was one play away from busting the game wide open in the second half.
"I told the d-line remember that lift [during summer workouts],” junior defensive end Rashard Lawrence said. “I said you find a reason why you playing this game because for whatever reason you play this game, and you just finish.”
LSU’s defense did just that. They finished, and they finished strong.
Following its third touchdown which occurred at the 10:38 mark in the third quarter, Auburn's offense only mustered 42 yards on 26 plays. Of Auburn's five ensuing drives two ended in three-and-outs, one in an interception, and another resulted in a missed field goal.
Dave Aranda's defense didn't just hold Auburn late in the game, but they dominated early. Sophomore safety Grant Delpit intercepted Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham on the second play of the game, and Delpit, who finished 10 total tackles and a tackle for a loss, appeared to have forced a fumble on the next drive that was ruled incomplete.
Then Auburn's offense started getting hot. Gus Malzhan's wide-open motion offense moved the ball into the red zone on their third drive, but LSU sophomore linebacker Devin White busted through the offensive line on 4th-and-1 ending the possession at LSU’s 17.
And starting halfway through the second quarter, Auburn’s offense rallied and put up 14 points in the quarter before adding a third touchdown on the first drive after half time, and LSU’s defense looked like they were on the ropes.
However, LSU defense clamped down soon after.
"That comes down to coaching,” LSU sophomore cornerback Greedy Williams said. “Coach Aranda came to the sidelines made some adjustments. I give all credit to him for giving us the chance to make plays like that."
Williams made one of the biggest plays of the game in the third quarter. The All-American played a go-route perfectly, and when Stidham attempted a back shoulder fade, Williams was right there waiting for his eighth career interception in 16 games.
"No receivers open, so I guess they didn't read the article,” said Williams, who referenced something he said last week after the Tigers’ win over Southeastern. “I'll give you two attempts. The first attempt alright, alright. Second attempt, no, that's a bad throw every time. Don't throw the ball my way to every college team we play this year."
Still, even after Williams’ interception, the LSU defense had to continue to hold. LSU’s offense went three-and-out on its next two possessions and put even more pressure on the defense.
The defense did just, and LSU found its break when junior quarterback Joe Burrow connected with junior wide receiver Derrick Dillon for a 71-yard touchdown pass.
Down 21-19 with 8:18 on the clock, LSU’s defense needed to make one more stop. After a holding call made it 1st-and-20, Auburn picked up 15 yards on two plays setting up a key third down. Stidham dropped back to throw and took off running when he couldn’t find a man open, but sophomore outside linebacker Andre Anthony chased him down at the line of scrimmage.
It was the last play LSU’s defense saw. Burrow and company orchestrated a 14 play, 52 yard drive that was capped off with a game-winning field goal by senior kicker Cole Tracy.
"It's amazing man,” Lawrence said. “Just to be a part of something special, a lot of people doubted you, and we believed. I'm lost for words. It was just one of those games... It was crazy.”
White, on the other hand, was a little less poetic.
"It wasn't nothing,” said White, who added that the win doesn’t rank that high for him because he expects LSU to win every game. “We knew, at the end of the day, the media is always going to say what they're going to say, they're going to write their own story, but we knew when the game started it'd be 0-0, and then as you can see when the game ended LSU came out on top.
“I think I said something to media earlier that I don't care about being no underdog, overdog, we're the LSU Tigers, and we are going to handle business. They had a 13-game [home] win streak, and guess what? It got snapped by the LSU Tigers."