LSU Gold

Football Comes From Behind to Beat Auburn, 21-17

by Harrison Valentine | Digital Media Graduate Assistant
Box Score Postgame Notes +0
Football Comes From Behind to Beat Auburn, 21-17

AUBURN, AL – Falling behind 17-0 in the second quarter, LSU scored 21 unanswered points to beat Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night, 21-17.

LSU improved to 4-1 with the victory, while Auburn dropped to 3-2 on the year. The Tigers return to Death Valley next Saturday for an 11 a.m. kickoff on ESPN against Tennessee.


Jayden Daniels and Garrett Nussmeier combined to go 10-of-26 under center, but Daniels continued to make big plays with his legs when needed, picking up 59 yards and a score on the ground.

Sophomore defensive end Jaquelin Roy led the Tigers with six tackles. Senior safety Jay Ward and sophomore defensive end Mekhi Wingo had second-most with five tackles each. True freshman linebacker Harold Perkins and senior safety Greg Brooks both finished with an interception and a strip fumble, respectively.

Josh Williams rushed for 68 yards on 17 carries, while John Emery finished with 42 yards on eight carries and a touchdown.


LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Auburn received the opening kickoff. LSU defended the north end zone in the first quarter.

Robby Ashford evaded pressure and found an open Ja’Varrius Johnson for a 53-yard score to give Auburn an early 7-0 lead with 12:57 in the first quarter.

On Auburn’s next offensive possession of the game, LSU’s defense was able to force a stop as BJ Ojulari and Harold Perkins teamed up to sack Ashford for a 2-yard loss. 

The Tigers picked up a first down after a 10-yard gain as Daniels scrambled to the Auburn 49-yard line, but that was all for LSU on the drive. Jay Bramblett pinned Auburn at their own 13-yard line with his punt.

Williams ran for a 15-yard gain and a first down, but the Tigers were forced to punt after Daniels was sacked for a 6-yard loss by Colby Wooden at the LSU 34. Bramblett pinned Auburn at their own 1-yard line after a booming 65-yard punt, his longest at LSU.

At the start of the second quarter, Ashford found Jarquez Hunter for a 61-yard completion over the middle of the field. Ashford then found Camden Brown for an 18-yard touchdown to give Auburn a 14-0 lead with 14:04 remaining in the first half, capping of a six play 99-yard drive.

Carlson’s 29-yard field goal attempt was good to extend the Auburn lead to 17-0 with 9:38 left.

Ojulari stripped Ashford to force a fumble, which was returned 23 yards for a touchdown by Ward to cut Auburn’s lead to 17-7 with 6:33 in the half. It marked the first sack fumble return for a touchdown since 2016, when Kwon Alexander and Danielle Hunter did it against Mississippi State.

Daniels found Emery, who took a short pass 39 yards to the Auburn 1-yard line. Two plays later, Daniels kept it himself for a 1-yard touchdown run, cutting the deficit to 17-14 with 15 seconds to play, making it 14 unanswered points for LSU heading into the locker room.

On 4th-and-10, Auburn decided to go for it. Ashford’s pass to Koy Moore fell incomplete for a turnover on downs, giving LSU the ball at their own 47-yard line with 7:06 remaining in the third quarter.

Emery rushed for a tough 20-yard touchdown to give LSU the lead 21-17 with 3:32 to go.

On 4th-and-11 with 0:18 remaining in the third quarter, Ashford’s pass to Dawson was intercepted by Jarrick Bernard-Converse, but LSU was called for a holding penalty to give Auburn an automatic first down. 

Auburn wasn’t able to take advantage as Perkins intercepted Ashford’s pass intended for Moore with 12:03 remaining in the game. LSU took over at their own 8-yard line, but the Tigers were not able to cash in any points, going three-and-out with Nussmeier under center.

With 5:31 remaining, Bramblett’s punt was muffed by Keionte Scott, which was recovered by Bernard-Converse at the Auburn 35-yard line. However, Emery fumbled with 4:56 left to give Auburn the ball back at their own 32-yard line.

Brooks gave LSU the ball right back, stripping Moore and returning it 30 yards to the Auburn 45-yard line.

Williams picked up a first down on a 6-yard gain to send the Tigers into victory formation.


Audio Highlights

Press Conference

Postgame Quotes


Brian Kelly Opening Statement…

“It was an exciting win for our guys. Certainly after coming back from a 17-0 deficit on the road is not where you want to be, but we found a way. It’s been the DNA of this group to battle – to fight. They certainty did that tonight. They found a way to win. At the end of the day, there’s a saying in golf, ‘there are no pictures on the scorecard, it is just what you score.’ Tonight, there’s no pictures on the scorecard for us. We just found a way to win this game. That’s what you are really trying to do in the SEC West. It’s tough competition going on the road with the crowd you have to overcome. Is that our best performance? I hope not. But, it was gutting. It was gritty. It was one that I was proud of how our guys hung in there after being down 17-0. That’s a program win, where you are doing the right things to win a game like that.”

On defensive adjustments…

“You saw the same game I did. We let the quarterback out and he scrambled. We were not good on the backend. We broke down onto some coverages, so we cleaned some things up with our communication. We did some things that we hadn’t done. We cut some crossers and did not do some things that weren’t fundamentally part of our package. We had some communication issues. Joe (Foucha) was starting for his first time back there. We got the communication cleaned up in the second half. They (Auburn) made some plays, too, now. They hit some seam routes. Give Auburn some credit in their passing game.”

On Jayden Daniels’ status…

“He is a dual-threat quarterback. No structural damage. He was in pain. We will have him back. He was really sore and I didn’t like the way he was moving out there, so I made the decision to take him out. He did not come out on his own.”

On the running game in the second half…

“We have been able to assert our will in the second half against most teams this year. The conditioning of our football team has been better than our opponents this year. That will continue to be a challenge, as we move through the month. As the game went on, it was pretty clear that we were able to exert our will and physically control the line of scrimmage.”

On the play of the linebackers…

“I thought we got really good play from our backers. We didn’t tackle quite as well at the safety positions. They (Auburn) were very, very active and tackled well. We made timely plays and timely stops. When they got in a scoring zone, we really tightened down and made big plays. Whether it be a tackle for loss or force them into making something happen. It was a combination of being really active with our backers and putting them behind the chains. Once we did that, we forced them to do some things in their passing game that they just don’t want to do.”


Auburn Head Coach Bryan Harsin

Opening statement…
“First thing, No. 1 from their team, found out that he was okay. I guess he was back in the locker room as well. It was a scary moment to start the game off and I’m just glad that he’s okay, number one.”

“Overall, I thought they played hard and for four quarters we tried to play physical. We tried to play fast against a good football team. I’m proud of our guys for that. And, you know, I thought we got off to a fast start. From that standpoint, the first quarter to second half is an area where we have to improve just throughout this year and that kind of showed up again in the game. Robby (Ashford) did some good things tonight. He threw the ball well and got some yards. So that was good to see.”

“I think the detail of the game comes down to the turnovers when you look at the numbers. We put the ball on the ground too many times and they won the turnover battle. That’s going to be a huge factor when it’s all said and done. It goes back to just a matter of fact in football. I think our guys were working this week very hard to go out there and perform and play well, and they showed that tonight. But some of those things just added up in the game and LSU is a good football team. They’re well coached, they played hard, they made the plays they were able to make and put themselves in a position to win the game. We had our opportunities and for now, we have to go back and look at what we did well, what are the things we have to work on and then just close that gap. We’ve got to find ways to finish and play four quarters. So, all the things that I’ve said before and the things that really do matter. I mean, those are the things that are going to change the game. So, I’m disappointed for our players. And those guys, they put the effort in. We all have to just do a better job and that starts with me.”

“Our fans were great tonight. The energy was great. The crowd was phenomenal. That was as expected from our fans, and they have been that way this whole entire season. I appreciate that and our players do as well. You can feel that out there. That was our advantage tonight. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to win the game.”

“Some positive things we can take away? We’ll take a look at what the offensive line did and what the defensive line did. We’ll evaluate that tomorrow and then well go back to work and get ready for our first road trip. And that’s a really good Georgia team.”

On finishing out the season…
“Well, that’s my job. Every day, I show up and make sure that I’m prepared, and that doesn’t change. I told the team that. That’s always been how I’ve approached each and every day, in every job I’ve had. That will be no different. Tomorrow, we have things to work on. Win or lose, you’re always going to find ways to improve this football team. That’s really what it comes down to. So that’s how I approach each and every day. I mean, our players know that. Everybody on our staff knows that. It’s always been the mentality that we have this football team, you know, they deserve to have a chance to go back out, prepare themselves and be a better football team next week. That’s what we’ll do. We’ll handle what we can control. And we’ll go out there and get ourselves ready for this next week, learn from this game, and move on to Georgia.”

On the two fourth-down calls…
“That was a field position. I don’t think we were in field goal range at that point. We had our marks of where we wanted to be, and we felt like if we were going to punt it, it wasn’t going to be that much of a difference if you put it in the end zone. We’ve been aggressive on that. I still think that was the right thing to do. And we were wanting to afford that divergence. It really just came down to a position standpoint.”

Brandon Council, OL

On the move to center…
“It did not really bother me. We need to put players in the best positions for us to win the game, and I do what I am asked. I have fun doing it and I just want to compete. I just want to win, and we are going to get there.”

On giving up the second-half lead…
“I mean it hurts and I know what we have to do. We just have to execute. We have to keep the same momentum we have in the first half and carry it over to the second half. We have to get better at that.”

Owen Pappoe, LB

On the defensive effort…
“We played our hearts out there. Mistakes were made and that cost us some big plays but overall, we played our hearts out that whole entire game. I am still proud of my guys, even though we did not get the outcome we had wanted.”

On giving up the second-half lead…
“It is frustrating. We just have to do a better job on our end and take care of the ball. We can’t have too many turnovers like that because that can really hurt us. We just have to be better all around.”

Derick Hall, EDGE

On his message to the team after the game…
“The biggest thing is just sticking together. We knew we had that game and there were a couple of opportunities. We gave that game away. We have to take care of the ball better and on defense and we have to get more stops obviously. We’re going to keep grinding, put in work tomorrow, and get prepared for Georgia.”

On the how much the how much did this one hurt…
“A lot, a lot. Especially when you feel like you put yourself in the position to win the game and things secure. They had things that went to their favor, but I’ll give it to them, they’re a good football team. We knew that going in and knew we had to prepare for them. Obviously, things did not fall out in the end, so it hurts really bad.”

John Samuel Shenker, TE

On the difference between the two halves…
“That’s the name of the game really. Execute for four quarters. We did really well early, and that has been the tale of our tapes lately. That’s something we have to work on. That has to be our number one on the offensive, just being consistent. I thought we played a really good game overall, some things just here and there that didn’t go our way and mistakes we do not normally make. Overall, I thought the offensive executed pretty well the entire game, a lot of yards and we were moving the ball, but you have to get in the end zone. That was the tale of the tape today for sure.”

On moving on…
“We’re flipping the page tomorrow. We want to be 2-0 in the SEC, and we are not, we are 1-1. But it’s still early in the season and we’re going to get to work tomorrow, get ready for Georgia, and just be a better team next Saturday.”