Auburn didn’t need any tricks on Halloween this year. It was all treats for the Tigers on Saturday as they dominated LSU, winning 48-11 inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.
It was Auburn’s largest margin of victory over LSU, surpassing the previous total of 35 (1999, 2014), and it was also the most points either team has scored in series history.
“I’m real proud of our team,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. “We talked about getting better each week. We’ve continued to do that, and we put things together today.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Auburn struck first in the opening minutes of the second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Bo Nix to Eli Stove. The score was set up by the Auburn defense and cornerback Nehemiah Pritchett who pulled down his first career interception and returned it 48 yards. Stove scored on the next play.
The Auburn defense made its presence felt again later in the quarter when Christian Tutt recovered a fumble and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers up 14-0. The fumble was caused by Derick Hall who sacked LSU quarterback T.J. Finley on the play.
From that point on it was all Auburn, dismantling the defending national champions in all three phases.
The offense found its rhythm, scoring touchdowns on each their next five drives, including a 99-yard drive to close out the first half and a 75-yard drive to open the second half. The defense kept LSU out of the end zone until a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter with Auburn ahead 48-3.
Nix was responsible for four of Auburn’s seven touchdowns. The sophomore quarterback finished 18 of 24 through the air for 300 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a career-high 81 yards on 11 carries, adding a fourth score on the ground. It was the third career 300-yard passing performance from Nix, who finished with a pass efficiency rating of 221.3.
“He was focused,” Malzahn said. “He played extremely well today and led us to a victory. He’s establishing himself as one of the best in our league, and I think it’s about time people start recognizing that.”
On his final play before exiting the game, Nix connected with junior wide receiver Anthony Schwartz on a 91-yard touchdown pass – the third-longest touchdown pass in school history. With the catch, Schwartz finished as Auburn’s leading receiver. He had four receptions for 123 yards.
Stove and fellow wide receiver Ze’Vian Capers also caught touchdowns Saturday. The early score from Stove was his third of the season and fifth of his career. The junior recorded a team-high five receptions for 64 yards and added 21 yards rushing. Capers, a true freshman, was wide open in the end zone when he caught a 9-yard pass from Nix. It was his first career touchdown at Auburn.
For the first time since week two, Tank Bigsby failed to go over 100 yards rushing. But the freshman running back still ran for 71 yards on 15 carries and scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to bring his total to five on the season. Bigsby is now ninth among Auburn freshman rushers all-time with 503 yards on the season.
As a team, Auburn rushed for 206 yards in Saturday’s win. The Tigers have now surpassed 200 yards on the ground in four straight games.
On the visiting side, LSU finished with only 32 yards rushing thanks to an inspired performance from the Auburn defense. The group forced three turnovers, held LSU to 5 of 17 on third down and recorded four sacks – two from Hall, one from T.D. Moultry and one from Marquis Burks. It was the first two sacks of Hall’s career.
Auburn was so dominant on defense that LSU never made it inside the Auburn 30-yard until midway through the fourth quarter. LSU crossed midfield just three times on its first 12 drives.
“Our defense really came to play today,” Nix said. “They caused a lot of turnovers, had the fumble for a touchdown, gave us great field position. They just were excited, and they were running around hitting people today. They set us up for success, and that was because we all came to play and we played together.”