Photo courtesy of LSU athletics
On its run to the 2010 national championship, Auburn knocked off six ranked teams. The latest battle of undefeateds that season however for the Tigers, came on this day 10 years ago.
In a match-up of top-10 teams, Auburn and LSU went back and forth. But in the end, a long fourth-quarter touchdown run was the difference in a 24-17 victory for Auburn.
Setting the Stage
Both No. 6 LSU and No. 4 Auburn were 7-0 as they arrived at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Oct. 23, 2010. To that point in the season, Auburn had won four games by eight points or less.
LSU had also become accustomed to living on the edge. The Tigers had won four games by six points or less.
The Fourth Quarter
Auburn never trailed in the contest, but it seemed like LSU had an answer all day long. Auburn led 17-10 after three quarters, but Spencer Ware’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Rueben Randle on a trick play drew LSU even less than three minutes into the final quarter.
The ensuing Auburn possession reached the LSU 40-yard-line, but a turnover on downs gave the ball back to the other group of Tigers midway through the fourth quarter. LSU was unable to capitalize on nice field position, but was able to pin Auburn at its own 10-yard-line with over six minutes to play.
The end zone sat 90 yards away. It took Auburn just three plays to get there.
Following a gain of 16 by Cam Newton and a 4-yard run by Michael Dyer, Onterio McCalebb took the hand-off from Newton to the outside. McCalebb would never be touched on his way down the left sideline for a 70-yard touchdown that would put Auburn ahead for good.
The ensuing LSU drive would last four plays. Quarterback Jarrett Lee was tackled short on fourth down as Auburn took over. LSU never saw the football again.
Auburn finished with 526 yards to just 243 yards for LSU, but things stayed close throughout. LSU had five drives that didn’t achieve a first down.
Auburn quarterback and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton got the scoring started with a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. After an exchange of field goals, LSU evened things at 10 late in the first half on a keeper by its quarterback — Jordan Jefferson.
Newton scored from 49 yards out less than four minutes into the third quarter to put Auburn back in front. The Tigers finished with 440 yards rushing in the win. Newton went for 217 yards rushing on 28 carries while Dyer added 100 yards on the ground.
The victory over LSU would keep the Auburn train chugging along. Auburn would go on to finish 14-0 and win its first national championship since 1957.
LSU beat Alabama a week later, but a loss to Arkansas in the regular season finale would prevent the Tigers from securing an at-large berth in a BCS bowl. Still, the Tigers capped the year with a 41-24 win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl to finish 11-2 and No. 8 in the AP Poll. It marked LSU’s fifth top-10 finish in eight years.
Its hard-fought loss to Auburn took place on this day a decade ago.