It was hot. Not just summer hot. Not just hot in the sun. It was unbearably hot. The hot where you just have to zone out and pretend you aren’t there. So I wasn’t totally surprised that Auburn did that in the first quarter.
It didn’t start too hot with Jarrett Stidham throwing a pick on the 2nd play of the game(see what I did there?). And despite needing about 50 plays to go around 30 yards, LSU punched it in. The Auburn defense didn’t make it easy, but they eventually let them in.
When it was 10-0 in the 2nd quarter, a small bit of worry began to sneak in. Auburn wasn’t getting anything going on offense. There was the one drive that ended with a stop on 4th down inside the 20. It’s been a big point of contention for Auburn fans since the game. Had Auburn just kicked the field goal at that point, and you pretend nothing else changes in the game, Auburn wins.
But that’s not how the universe or football works. There is absolutely no way the game would’ve gone on the exact same way. Why would LSU kick a last second field goal down five points? See how dumb you sound?
Also, can all the retroactive coaches out there turn in their whistles? You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you would have boo’d your little head off had Gus sent out the field goal team, needing a yard inside the 20 having just completed their best drive of the game. You would’ve boo’d and logged onto the Bunker at the same time firing up a hot post on his new contract.
You know how I know? Because I’ve heard you do it before. I don’t remember the exact game, but there was a similar situation last year and people boo’d like crazy. Since then, Gus hasn’t done it. You’re welcome. That said, it was one yard. It was a run play. It should get one yard. It was execution.
But despite all that, Auburn’s offense finally did get it going and took a 14-10 lead into the half. Then the defense stopped LSU to start the 2nd half, and Auburn scored again. It was 21-10, and things were good. It wasn’t so hot anymore.
Then things slowed down and both teams punted back and forth. After an LSU field goal, Auburn was still up by eight. Things were still okay. Then officials felt the game wasn’t exciting anymore.
Needing to get a good clock-draining drive going, Stidham threw deep to Slayton. Slayton was grabbed, spun around, and fell to the ground. No call. Auburn punts.
Then LSU threw a 10-or-so-yard pass that was almost intercepted, instead it was caught and run 3/4 of the football field for a touchdown. The game was now close and it somehow got hotter. But you know what wouldn’t have happened had the official thrown his flag when Slayton was mugged? That touchdown. At least not that way, not then, with that much time on the clock.
After some more nothing, LSU got the ball back with around five minutes left in the game and ran into a third down situation. They threw the ball deep. I don’t remember who it was, but he didn’t touch the receiver, and was called for pass interference. Drive extended.
Then LSU was faced with 4th-and-7 and converted. Drive extended.
Then LSU was faced with another third down situation. They threw the ball deep. I don’t remember who it was, but he didn’t touch the receiver, and was called for pass interference. Drive extended and LSU was officially in field goal range.
You know the rest.
The sentiment from fans that enjoy to hate things and pretend they are better coaches than whoever is coaching says it shouldn’t have been that close. Get over yourself. It was 100 degrees and it was an LSU game. They are never normal. It was a close SEC West game. Both teams played two good quarters. Both made plays. Both made mistakes.
It came down to one drive, with one team leading by two points. Calls in the first quarter didn’t matter anymore. Decisions in the 2nd quarter didn’t matter. You know why? Because Auburn was still winning when LSU took the ball down the field with 30 free yards and kicked a field goal to win.
LSU didn’t win because of the officials. They won because they made a field goal. They were given the chance to kick that field goal by two decisions that affected the game. Referees should not affect or help determine the outcome of a close game, especially on the last drive. But that’s what happened.
Auburn certainly could’ve played better, but they played well enough to win. If that kick is shanked, Auburn wins. If the official keeps one of those flags in their pocket, they likely win. They did enough, but they didn’t make sure enough was enough.
They’ll learn. They have to. But now it’s time to eat pork.