HomeSportsImmediate Analysis: Auburn loses 17-point lead in 21-17 loss to LSU

Immediate Analysis: Auburn loses 17-point lead in 21-17 loss to LSU

LSU (4-1, 2-0 SEC) cornerback Greg Brooks Jr picked up a pass from Robby Ashford in 2nd and 11th place with 2:18 left in the game to seal a 21-17 comeback against Auburn on Saturday in Jordan Hare. Auburn knocked on the door in LSU territory before Brooks Jr. sent the interception back to the Auburn 45-yard line for 30 yards.

Auburn lost its second game of the 2022 season after leading by 17 points against LSU. Head coach Bryan Harsin’s squad ends its five-game opening season 3-2 with wins against Mercer, San Jose State, and last week’s overtime win against Missouri. Losing 29 points to Penn State and taking a 17-point lead while a shutout in the second half looms as significant downsides to Harsin.

Ashford had 337 passing yards on 19-38 passing attempts with two touchdowns on his birthday. However, he fumbled four times, lost one and was defeated twice.

Auburn (3-2, 1-1 SEC) heads to Athens for a game against the University of Georgia.

Here are some key observations:

Blown lead

Auburn took a 14-0 lead for the second straight week on Robby Ashford’s 18-yard pass to Camden Brown in first place with 14:04 remaining in the second quarter. Ashford led the offense 99 yards in six games, Auburn’s eighth 99-yard drive since 1996 and the first since 2020 against LSU.

Brown caught his first career touchdown on Ashford’s pitch. It was the second touchdown pass to a wide receiver of the game and season. Auburn’s second touchdown was set up by a 61-yard throw from Ashford to running back Jarquez Hunter from the backfield. Ashford saw the game breaking and scrambled until Hunter opened up.

Ja’Varrius Johnson caught a 53-yard touchdown pass from Ashford on Auburn’s opening drive to give the home side Tigers a 7-0 with 12:57 left in the first quarter.

Anders Carlson scored a 29-yard field goal with 9:38 to go in the first half, giving Auburn a 17-0 lead.

LSU started its comeback with a defensive play. Ashford rolled out for a pass attempt down in first for the 29 with less than seven minutes to go into the second quarter. LSU defensive tackle BJ Ojulari hit Ashford in the backfield causing a fumble. Jay Ward scooped the ball at the 23-yard line and rushed it in for a touchdown.

Omari Kelly caught a 25-yard pass on Ashford’s ensuing drive on the Auburn 49 in first. Ashford put in a third on a quarterback sneak out of 47 on the previous game.

Kelly’s catch put the Tigers within range of the field goal. Carlson had a chance for a 40-yard field goal with less than minutes left in the first half after Auburn’s drive came to a stop on the 23-yard line. Carlson missed the kick, but Auburn still had a 10-point lead, so it was all good, right?

Questionable decisions.

Auburn would probably have gotten the ball back with some time to perhaps get into the field goal range if not for a 3rd facemask penalty against Derick Hall with 1:45 left in the game. Here’s the thing, Harsin called a timeout on the game before and two during what should have been a three and out. If that penalty doesn’t happen, then Harsin’s call will work. However, the penalty resulted in a 78-yard touchdown drive.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels scored the touchdown on a one-yard QB sneak. Auburn went from a possible 20-7 lead to a three point lead at halftime.

Koy Moore, who had four catches for 55 yards, threw a precious interception in the second half when Auburn was in LSU territory.

Execute game failed.

Auburn struggled again in the run game. Tank Bigsby had a few plays from 24 yards before Moore’s interception, but was mostly quiet. Bigby led the team with a 45-yard rush. Jarquez Hunter had 35 yards on six carries. Ashford won 37 yards, but lost 18 on sacks. His net profit was 19, and Auburn had 101 rushing yards on 31 carries. LSU had 185 yards on 49 touches.

Auburn played another game against a Power 5 opponent, who was outscored in the second half. Auburn scored zero points in the second half for the second consecutive game.

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