Photo courtesy of LSU athletics

After a strong finish to 2003 and a perfect season in 2004, Auburn went nearly two years without an SEC loss. That streak came to an end on this day 15 years ago.

Following a late field goal in regulation to force overtime, LSU slipped past Auburn in overtime on John Vaughn’s miss. The 20-17 victory for LSU ended Auburn’s 16-game SEC winning streak.

Setting the Stage

After dropping its opener to Georgia Tech, Auburn was riding a 5-game winning streak and 3-0 in SEC play as it made its way to Baton Rouge on Oct. 22, 2005. The Tigers used a missed extra point to beat LSU the year prior, 10-9.

LSU had won three straight after letting a 21-point lead slip away against Tennessee. At 4-1, the Tigers were ranked No. 7 in the county.

To Overtime

Through three quarters, LSU found itself in front, 14-10. After a Chris Jackson punt pinned Auburn inside its own 15-yard-line with less than 10 minutes to play, the Tigers put together their best drive of the day.

On the arm of Brandon Cox, Auburn marched down to the LSU 5-yard-line where it faced a critical fourth down. With less than five minutes remaining, Cox came up big, finding Anthony Mix for the 5-yard score.

LSU now trailed 17-14, but Jamarcus Russell found Dwayne Bowe for a 31-yard gain on the fourth play of the ensuing drive. The Tigers ultimately stalled, but with less than two minutes to play, kicker Colt David came through in the clutch. His 44-yard field goal evened the game with 1:40 left, but there was still a lot of time for Auburn.

Cox completed three passes on the final drive, but it was an 18-yard run by Kenny Irons, who tallied a career-high 218 yards on the ground, that put Auburn in field goal range. With six seconds to go, Vaughn was sent on to try a 49-yard field goal.

Vaughn had a chance to put three prior misses behind him, but it was not to be. The kick sailed left and the contest went to overtime.

In Overtime

In overtime, the defenses did their jobs. LSU managed just one first down before David’s 30-yard field goal put it back in front.

After a short run by Irons to open Auburn’s possession, Cox misfired on consecutive passes. That left it up to Vaughn once again — this time from 39 yards away. Vaughn’s kick didn’t sail wide this time, but it did hit the left upright as LSU survived.

Leading Up

Auburn finished with 452 yards to 339 for LSU, but special teams played a major role. Skyler Green returned a punt 65 yards to give LSU a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Vaughn’s lone make came in the second quarter before Irons’ 74-yard touchdown run in the third gave Auburn its first lead. LSU found the end zone for its only offensive touchdown on the ensuing drive on an 18-yard strike from Russell to Bowe.

In Hindsight

The victory for LSU would loom large. Neither team lost for the remainder of the regular season as both finished 7-1 in SEC play. By virtue of the head-to-head victory, LSU earned a spot in the SEC Championship.

The Tigers would lose to Georgia in Atlanta, but rebounded to blast Miami in the Peach Bowl, 40-3. Although a conference title wasn’t in the cards, the Tigers won the SEC West for a third time in five years. It wouldn’t have been possible without the thrilling win over Auburn that took place 15 years ago today.

References

ESPN

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.