LSU uses Auburn's winning formula and wins

Updated: October 26, 2003, 1:08 PM ET

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU followed Auburn's formula for victory and beat the visiting Tigers.

Last year, Auburn jumped out to a blazing start, made an assortment of big plays and turned the game over to the defense to beat LSU 31-7.

This year Auburn was on the receiving end of that strategy and the losing end of an identical score.

"It was deja vu from last year," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We got off to a slow start and the rest is history."

LSU (7-1, 4-1) moved from No. 9 to No. 7. LSU and Auburn (5-3, 4-1) remain tied for second place in the SEC West behind No. 20 Mississippi, which beat Arkansas (4-3, 1-3) to remain undefeated in conference play.

Mississippi (6-2, 4-0) is the only one of those teams with a conference game next weekend, against South Carolina (5-3, 2-3). LSU plays Louisiana Tech and Auburn is at Louisiana-Monroe.

Ole Miss plays Auburn on Nov. 8, and LSU on Nov. 22.

LSU linebacker Eric Alexander said, "We were already confident, but it's an even bigger confidence-booster especially beating a team as good as Auburn. Mainly all the hype was about Auburn, but we came in and showed them that we can play too and that we're a dominant team in the SEC."

Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell had the same reaction as his coach. "It kind of reminded me of us last year and when we played," he said "Everything was going our way. We were making plays against them.

"It seemed just the opposite this year. They were making all of the plays and getting all of the breaks. It's kind of tough to win that way."

LSU scored 21 points on its first three series, in just under six minutes, to build a 21-0 halftime advantage. That opening surge rivaled that of Auburn last season when it opened a 17-0 lead in the first half and then coasted in the final 30 minutes.

"They did a good job ... we've got no excuses," Tuberville said. "They lined up and whipped us on both sides and we couldn't tackle in the first quarter. Offensively, we didn't make anything work. We tried it all. Weak (side), strong ... tried to run it. We tried to throw it.

"They were the better team today," Tuberville said. "You could tell by their quickness. It looked like we kind of ran out of gas early in the game. We'll regroup and go on."

Auburn's heralded running game, led by junior Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, was stopped flat.

Against the Southeastern Conference's top-rated defense Auburn, which averaged 202.3 yards on the ground, was limited to 50 yards on 34 carries. Williams, the SEC's third-leading running back at 101.9 yards per game, gained 61 yards on 20 carries and didn't score in his first action against LSU.

"We never thought they would shut us down like that," Williams said. "But this game is football and that's sometimes how the ball bounces."

Auburn finished with 193 total yards, 84 under its per-game average. The Tigers didn't score until Campbell's 6-yard touchdown to Anthony Mix with 6:10 to play.

"We got beat up front on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and when you can't control the line of scrimmage on the road, you're in trouble," Tuberville said. "We just didn't make any plays offensively."

Tuberville said his team's defensive philosophy, which was to play zone coverage, was no match for LSU's Matt Mauck's quick three-step drops and his corps of fleet receivers in Devery Henderson and Michael Clayton.

"We couldn't handle the speed of their receivers," he said. "They've got real quick receivers."

After a successful fourth-down conversion kept Auburn's initial series of the game alive, Tuberville's gamble on a subsequent fourth down try came up empty when LSU's Chad Lavalais dropped Williams for a five-yard loss.

"Obviously when you play at home, you play with a lot of emotion," Tuberville said. "We tried to take that emotion out early and we took a few chances and it didn't work."

Auburn's second opportunity on offense to try and stay within some semblance of LSU's scorching start ended in similar frustration.

Auburn maintained possession for 14 plays and nearly eight minutes but Phillip Yost, starting in his first game, pushed a 35-yard field goal attempt wide left at the 10-minute mark of the second quarter.

"This is the best football team we've played in a while," Tuberville said. "They're good. They've got a lot of speed on both sides. They've got excellent offensive and defensive lines and their quarterback played well tonight."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index