7:45 PM ET, October 22, 2005
Tiger Stadium, BATON ROUGE, LA
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- This season, there was no reprieve for Auburn's John Vaughn.
Vaughn's 39-yard field goal attempt in overtime hit the left upright, giving No. 7 LSU a 20-17 victory over No. 16 Auburn on Saturday night.
Last year, Auburn beat LSU 10-9 on Courtney Taylor's touchdown with 1:14 remaining. Vaughn initially missed the extra point, but a penalty gave him a second chance. In this season's rematch, he missed five field goals, including a 49-yarder in the final seconds of regulation that would have won it.
"About three of the kicks tonight, when I hit them I thought they were good. I got a little unlucky and they went right or left," Vaughn said. "The last one tonight, I thought I hit it pretty good and when I looked up I knew I was probably going to need a little bit of luck right there."
Auburn (5-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) had won 13 straight against SEC opponents, one short of the school record.
Auburn took a 17-14 lead with 4:52 remaining in the fourth quarter. Brandon Cox capped a 13-play, 87-yard drive with a 5-yard scoring pass to Anthony Mix on fourth down.
But LSU, which also missed two field goals in the game, tied it on Chris Jackson's 44-yarder with 1:40 to play.
Auburn's Kenny Irons rushed for a career-high 218 yards, the most allowed by LSU since Alabama's Shaun Alexander had 291 in 1996. He appeared to put Auburn in good position to win with a 19-yard run to the LSU 36 with 27 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. But Cox completed a pass inbounds to Taylor, and Auburn was out of timeouts.
The clock kept running, and Auburn spiked the ball with 6.8 seconds remaining. Vaughn missed, sending the game into overtime.
"We can't blame it on one person," Irons said. "Everybody made mistakes. We just have to keep our heads up."
LSU (5-1, 4-1) had the ball first in overtime, but had to settle for Jackson's 30-yard field goal after Early Doucet dropped a pass in the end zone. The LSU defense then held, setting up Vaughn's last miss into the wind.
"As a kicker you have to kick in the wind," Vaughn said. "They had to kick in the wind, too."
Irons was the SEC offensive player of the week after rushing for 182 yards at Arkansas last weekend. He gave Auburn a 10-7 lead over LSU with an electrifying 74-yard touchdown run in the third. Irons appeared to be stopped for a short gain, then broke free of the defense and sprinted downfield to the end zone.
LSU answered with JaMarcus Russell's 18-yard scoring pass to Dwayne Bowe, then squandered a chance to increase its lead early in the fourth quarter. On third down, Russell found Bowe open in the back of the end zone, but the receiver couldn't hold on. Colt David missed a 28-yard kick on the next play.
"Every great player drops a touchdown pass," Bowe said. "I'm just happy I got mine out of the way early. That will be the last one, guaranteed."
Auburn drove back into field goal range, but Vaughn missed from 37 yards with 11:21 left in the fourth. He also missed kicks of 54 and 41 yards.
Both teams were coming off sloppy wins. LSU beat No. 18 Florida 21-17 last weekend despite five turnovers. Auburn rallied for a 34-17 win at Arkansas after Cox threw two first-half interceptions.
Neither team turned the ball over this weekend, although they both struggled to move the ball at times. Russell went 16-of-33 for 190 yards, and Cox was 16-of-40 for 221 yards.
"JaMarcus Russell is playing with a little bit of a dinged arm, and he played well," LSU coach Les Miles said. "He fought with courage in him."
LSU led 7-3 at halftime after Skyler Green returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
"That is football. You have got to execute and tonight the kicking game wasn't there for us," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. "They ran that punt back, we made a mistake but that's part of it."
Vaughn kicked a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter, but his misses later in the game helped LSU stay in the thick of the conference title race. Alabama (7-0, 5-0) leads the SEC West.
"It was a relief to me," Bowe said. "If I had caught that touchdown pass I could have sealed the victory. When that kicker missed it I almost cried. I'm just glad we came out with a victory."
Joseph Addai rushed for 105 yards for LSU, which has won four straight since a 30-27 overtime loss to Tennessee.
Auburn has won 20 of 22 overall -- its previous SEC loss was at Georgia on Nov. 15, 2003. Auburn went 4-0 against top 10 teams last year en route to an undefeated season.
The crowd of 92,664 was the largest in Tiger Stadium history, eclipsing last week's mark of 92,402.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Auburn kicker John Vaughn's 39-yard field goal attempt in overtime hit the left upright, enabling LSU to avoid being upset at home.
Gameball goes to... Auburn's Kenny Irons, who rushed for a career-high 218 yards, the most allowed by LSU since Alabama's Shaun Alexander had 291 in 1996.
Stat of the game... 13: Auburn's win streak vs. SEC opponents, which came to an end in Baton Rouge, was one shy of a school record.
The Fan Pick
75.5% of College Pick'em players picked LSU to win the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-19||4-15|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-0|
|TD||5:20||SKYLER GREEN 66 YD PUNT RETURN (COLT DAVID KICK)||7||7|
|FG||12:49||JOHN VAUGHN 26 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 56 yards.
|TD||7:48||KENNY IRONS 74 YD RUN (JOHN VAUGHN KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||4:35||DWAYNE BOWE 18 YD PASS FROM JAMARCUS RUSSELL (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||4:52||ANTHONY MIX 5 YD PASS FROM BRANDON COX (JOHN VAUGHN KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 87 yards.
|FG||1:40||CHRIS JACKSON 44 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 48 yards.
|FG||0:00||CHRIS JACKSON 30 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 12 yards.