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College football: Tracy’s field goal lifts LSU to come-from-behind victory over Auburn in SEC opener

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Todd Politz
LSU Director of Digital Media

AUBURN, Ala. — Cole Tracy made a 42-yard field goal as time expired, as the No. 12-ranked LSU football team defeated No. 7 Auburn, 22-21, on Saturday on The Plains.

LSU (3-0, 1-0 SEC) knocked off its second top-10 opponent – No. 8 Miami and No. 7 Auburn – in the first three weeks of the 2018 season, each away from Tiger Stadium. The last team to beat two AP top-10 teams in the first three weeks of a season was Missouri in 1976.

The Tigers will return home to face Louisiana Tech (2-0) on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 6 p.m. CT. Tickets are available at www.LSUtix.net. The game will be televised by ESPNU and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network starting at 4 p.m.

“Very proud of our team,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said. “Hard‐fought battle. Great job by our coaching staff. Total team victory. We talked about poise going into this game. We knew it was going to be tough. We talked about exploding
at 2:39 Central Standard Time and not before.

“Give Auburn credit, they are a very, very good football team. They are very well‐coached. Give our coaching staff credit, we never gave up. We always thought we were going to win the football game. A lot of things went well, a lot of things didn’t go well, but we won the football game. We are 3‐0. That’s the reason we came and we were playing. Give the credit to our players, our coaches, and our leadership of our football team. The way they prepare, the way they believe in each other. They are a galvanized group right now.”

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, a transfer from Ohio State, earned his first SEC victory in one of the most hostile environments, as the visiting Tigers won at Auburn for the first time since 2012.

Burrow was 15-of-34 passing for 249 yards including a 71-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Dillon that pulled LSU within two, 21-19, with 8:18 to play.

On the final drive of the game, he led the Tigers on a 14-play, 52-yard drive that used the final 5:38 of the clock and ended with Tracy’s 42-yard field goal that split the uprights with the clock at 0:00.

The walk-off field goal was LSU’s first in regulation since at least 1941.

“I’ve just seen him make a bunch of field goals in practice,” Orgeron said. “I feel good about the kid. I know his character. I watch him practice. I watch him prepare. There was no doubt in my mind that he would make it.”

Running back Nick Brossette led LSU with 69 rushing yards on 19 carries, while Burrow had 22 net yards on 10 carries including a sack. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson had a team-best 97 yards on five catches, while Dee Anderson added 41 yards on three grabs including a key first-down catch-and-stretch to keep LSU’s final drive alive.

Tracy, a senior graduate transfer from Division II Assumption College (Mass.), made 3-of-4 field goals with makes from 33, 27 and the game-winner of 42 yards. The miss – his only in nine attempts in 2018 – was from 53 yards in the first quarter.

Save 21-straight points by Auburn in a 10-minute segment of the game spanning the second and third quarters, LSU’s defense controlled the game. Auburn was held scoreless in the first 24:54 and the final 25:38 of the game.

Safety Grant Delpit led LSU with 10 tackles, while linebackers Devin White and Jacob Phillips each had eight. Both Delpit and Greedy Williams had interceptions.

LSU outgained Auburn, 370-328, held the ball for 10 minutes longer than Auburn, converted 8-of-20 third downs and overcame a season-high nine penalties for 91 yards. Auburn also had nine penalties for 111 yards, including a key pass interference penalty that setup LSU’s winning field goal.

Quarterback Jarrett Stidham led the Auburn offense, completing 16-of-28 passes for 198 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Redshirt freshman JaTarvious Whitlow had 104 rushing yards on 22 carries with a 7-yard touchdown run, while back Shaun Shivers had 25 yards and a 7-yard score. Darius Slayton caught a 4-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal to give Auburn a 21-10 lead with 10:38 left in the third quarter.