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September 16, 2006

Auburn-LSU notes: The No-Call Game

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Game Story

AUBURN, Ala. -The Auburn-LSU series has produced so many memorable games that they've been given titles.

"The Earthquake Game" was played in 1998. "The Interception Game" was played in 1994. "The Night the Barn Burned" was played in 1996, and the "Extra Point Game" was played in 2004.

Auburn's 7-3 victory on Saturday may be remembered as the "No-Call Game."

LSU was facing fourth-and-eight on the Auburn 31 with 2:26 remaining when quarterback JaMarcus Russell passed to Early Doucet, who had beaten Zach Gilbert on a post pattern.

Gilbert reached out to tackle Doucet just as safety Eric Brock arrived to deflect the football. An official threw a flag for a pass interference penalty, which would have given LSU a first down at the Auburn 16.

However, the officials ruled Brock had already deflected the ball and the call was overturned.

"The explanation was not readily forthcoming," LSU coach Les Miles said. "I'm waiting and the officials say he tipped the ball. I know the rule, if the ball is tipped at the line of scrimmage, there is no pass interference.

"The ball was tipped downfield. The proper explanation will be forthcoming."

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, of course, felt the call was correct.

"I got sick to my stomach (when he saw the flag)," Tuberville said. "I guess they called pass interference, but Eric Brock tipped it. That was a judgment call and thank goodness it went our way. They still had to get the ball in the end zone."

The quiet game

What makes a crowd of 87,451 go eerily silent?

A starting quarterback writhing on the ground.

The mass of Auburn fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium collectively held their breath Saturday with 4-1/2 minutes remaining in the first half as quarterback Brandon Cox stayed down after he was hit by LSU's Glenn Dorsey and Marlon Favorite.

Cox held his, too.

"I thought that was it," said Cox, who was relieved when numbness in his leg subsided. "Then I went to the sideline and my ankle started hurting."

Cox never left the game. Auburn called a timeout so he could stay in. He was pressured and threw the ball away on the next play, which led to a failed field goal attempt.

Cox struggled in the first half, completing 6 of 10 passes for just 43 yards and an interception. In the second half he completed 5-of-10 for 67 yards and scored the game's only touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.

A Bliss-ful outing

Punter can be an overlooked and underappreciated position, but the Auburn Tigers acknowledged the key role Kody Bliss played in its 7-3 victory.

Bliss averaged 48.2 yards on six punts and had kicks that covered 61 and 62 yards. His shortest boot went for only 31 yards, but went out of bounds on the LSU 8.

"One guy that was probably the difference in our game was Kody Bliss," Tuberville said. "I have never seen a punter change the field position like he did today. He did just an unbelievable job."

Irons shows metal

Last season Kenny Irons rushed for 218 yards against LSU, but this time the going was much tougher. He managed only 70 yards on 25 carries, with a long gain of 12.

However, he carried eight times for 38 yards, mostly around the right side behind Tim Duckworth and Jonathan Palmer, on Auburn's first drive of the second quarter which culminated on Cox's touchdown run.

"That is about as tough as it gets," Tuberville said of the LSU defense, which allowed Auburn only 182 total yards and just 72 rushing. "They weren't going to let Kenny run the ball. I don't know what Kenny got, probably 70 yards. He earned every bit of it. That's about like 150 against anybody else."

Dorsey dominates

When LSU had three defensive linemen from last season's team taken in the NFL draft, it raised questions about how good the Tigers' defensive front would be this year.

There are no more questions, especially about junior tackle Glenn Dorsey, who appears on his way to All-American acclaim.

Although playing primarily across from Auburn guard Tim Duckworth, also an All-American candidate, Dorsey posted eight tackles, including three for loss, and was credited with 1-1/2 sacks.

Vaughn avoids déjà vu

Auburn kicker John Vaughn had converted 6 of 7 field goal attempts this season, and said that success had helped him get over last year's 20-17 overtime loss to LSU in which he missed five field goal attempts.

But in the second quarter he hit the left upright on a 26-yard attempt, which would have staked Auburn to a 3-0 lead.

"There is going to be some talk about John missing his field goal," Tuberville said. "But he did make his extra point, and that is all that counts. It did give us a four-point lead where we didn't have to go into one of those long overtimes again."

Etc. Auburn's third-quarter touchdown ended LSU's streak of 16 quarters without allowing a touchdown. That streak extended to last season. … Auburn's defense now has a streak of nine quarters without allowing a touchdown. … Auburn has won seven of its last eight games against teams ranked in the Associated Press top 10 dating to the 2004 season and has won 18 of its last 19 SEC games. … Auburn's 182 yards of offense was its lowest output in a victory since defeating LSU 30-26 in 1994. … LSU had a streak of scoring on 34 consecutive trips into the red zone snapped when it failed to score from the 18-yard line on the last play of the game. The streak had dated to last year's game against Auburn. LSU had scored 26 touchdowns and eight field goals in the streak.

For more coverage of the Auburn Tigers, check out AuburnSports.com; for more coverage of the LSU Tigers check out TigerBait.com.

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