Auburn, Ala. — LSU coach Ed Orgeron insisted he had no doubt Cole Tracy would make the winning kick, but setting it up was quite the adventure.
Tracy kicked a 42-yard field goal on the final play to give No. 12 LSU a 22-21 victory over No. 7 Auburn on Saturday in their Southeastern Conference opener.
Joe Burrow led LSU (3-0) down the field in the final minutes with clutch plays and two pass interference calls against Auburn (2-1). That set up Tracy’s field goal that was almost right down the middle and sent LSU players swarming onto the field to celebrate.
“There was no question in my mind that he was going to make this field goal,” Orgeron said. “It worked out perfect.”
It capped a wild fourth quarter in a rivalry that has produced many of them.
Burrow hit Derrick Dillon over the outstretched arms of Auburn linebacker Deshaun Davis for a 71-yard touchdown strike with 8:18 left. Burrow’s two-point attempt failed, leaving Auburn up 21-19.
The LSU defense held to set up another chance with 5:38 remaining. The result was a 14-play, 52-yard drive and Tracy’s kick.
“I knew on Monday that it was going to come down to this,” Tracy said. “Once we got past Southeastern (Louisiana), you know that when you’re playing at Auburn, it’s going to be a close game.”
A pass interference call against Jeremiah Dinson on third-and-11 kept the drive alive. Then Burrow hit Stephen Sullivan for 9 yards on fourth-and-7 to keep the offense on the field.
Another interference call, against Jamel Dean, got LSU into field goal position.
“When you get put out at the end of the game in that situation, you’ve got to shut it down,” Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown said of the defense’s mind-set.
Burrow held his own against Auburn’s more heralded Jarrett Stidham. He completed 15 of 34 passes for 249 yards, with Justin Jefferson gaining 97 yards on five catches.
Stidham was 16 of 28 for 198 yards and a touchdown but threw two interceptions. JaTarvious Whitlow ran for 104 yards on 22 carries.
Auburn’s Anders Carlson missed a 52-yard field goal attempt wide left with nearly 13 minutes left.
The loss snapped a 13-game home winning streak dating back to the 2016 LSU game.
LSU, which trailed 21-10 in the second half after scoring the first 10 points, overcame a 20-0 deficit against Auburn to win last season.
“It was a dogfight from the get-go,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “We had the turnover early and they got the score. We got behind but dug ourselves out of the hole with a halftime lead. Third quarter we were doing a good job.
“We were close to getting some distance with a chance to put the game away. We didn’t make the plays to do that.”
More top 25
No. 1 Alabama 62, (at) Ole Miss 7: Tua Tagovailoa threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns, Jerry Jeudy caught two scoring passes and Alabama buried Mississippi.
Alabama (3-0) gave up a touchdown on the first play of the Southeastern Conference opener, but responded by scoring the next 62 points. The Tide’s offense had 516 total yards and was so effective that Tagovailoa’s evening was over by midway through the second quarter.
The left-handed sophomore completed 11 of 15 passes during his short time on the field. The Tide then turned to Jalen Hurts, who completed 7 of 10 passes for 85 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
It was so lopsided that third-stringer Mac Jones was in the game before the end of the third quarter.
Ole Miss (2-1) suffered through a second straight blowout loss to the Crimson Tide. The Rebels fell 66-3 last year in Tuscaloosa.
(At) No. 2 Clemson 38, Georgia Southern 7: A week of worry at Clemson over an approaching hurricane ended with a resounding victory over Georgia Southern in front of a full crowd.
Travis Etienne ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns for the No. 2 Tigers (3-0) and Trevor Lawrence threw for 194 yards, including a 57-yard score to fellow freshman Justyn Ross in their first meeting with Georgia Southern (2-1) of the Sun Belt Conference.
Clemson was the lone major conference school in the Carolinas and Virginia to play, although school officials did move up the game to noon instead of its planned 3:30 p.m. start in deference to Florence, a one-time Category 4 hurricane that was a slow moving tropical storm by Saturday.
At kickoff, though, the crowd of 79,844 had sun and mild breezes for tailgates like many football Saturdays. Conditions changed by halftime with bands of grey clouds over the stadium and the wind picking up. Florence’s drenching rain was forecast to hit the area Saturday night.
Clemson outgained Georgia Southern 595-140.
(At) No. 3 Georgia 49, Middle Tennessee 7: Jake Fromm threw three touchdown passes and Elijah Holyfield ran for 100 yards, each playing only the first half for Georgia.
Georgia (3-0) led the Blue Raiders (1-2) 42-7 at halftime. It was an impressive warmup for the Bulldogs’ stretch of seven straight Southeastern Conference games, beginning next week at Missouri. There were clouds but no rain in the game that was moved up to a noon kickoff due to Tropical Storm Florence.
Freshman Justin Fields ran 15 yards for a touchdown in the first half and threw a touchdowns pass in relief of Fromm. Jeremiah Holloman caught three passes for 90 yards, including an 11-yard scoring pass from Fromm in the first quarter. Mecole Hardman had a touchdown catch and a 70-yard punt return touchdown, and Tyler Simmons had a 56-yard touchdown run.
No. 5 Oklahoma 37, (at) Iowa State 27: Kyler Murray threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns and Oklahoma held off Iowa State 37-27 in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
Marquise Brown had 191 yards receiving and a TD to help the Sooners (3-0), a year removed from a stunning home loss to the Cyclones, extend the nation’s longest road winning streak to 17 games.
Murray also ran for a team-high 77 yards.
Iowa State (0-2) rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to make it 34-27 late in the third quarter. But the Sooners killed nearly eight minutes on a drive that ended with a 42-yard field goal from Austin Siebert with 2:51 left, and Parnell Motley’s interception with 1:11 to go sealed.
Backup Zeb Noland threw for a career-high 360 yards and a pair of long touchdown passes to Hakeem Butler for the Cyclones. Starting quarterback Kyle Kempt sat out with a knee injury.
(At) No. 8 Notre Dame 22, Vanderbilt 17: Jalen Elliott knocked the ball loose from Vanderbilt receiver Kalija Lipscomb with 1:07 remaining to give Notre Dame a fourth-down stop.
Kyle Shurmur threw for 326 yards and a touchdown for Vanderbilt (2-1), rallying his team from a 16-3 halftime deficit. His fourth-and-4 pass from the Notre Dame 31 to Lipscomb, who caught 11 passes, was nicely thrown and the receiver almost made a reaching catch at the 11. But Elliott, with some help from the ground, knocked the ball loose and incomplete.
Tony Jones Jr. finished with 118 yards on 17 carries for Notre Dame (3-0). He also caught two passes from quarterback Brandon Wimbush for 56 yards.
Wimbush, who had 297 passing yards but three interceptions in the 24-16 victory against Ball State, threw for 122 yards and added 84 yards on the ground, including a 13-yard scramble for a touchdown as Notre Dame took an early 10-0 lead late in the first quarter. But despite a 2-yard TD pass from backup quarterback Ian Book to tight end Nic Weishar early in the fourth quarter for a 22-10 lead, the Irish struggled over the last three quarters and had to hold on.
(At) No. 9 Stanford 30, UC Davis 10: K.J. Costello overcame a rough start to throw two touchdown passes to JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Stanford beat FCS-level UC Davis.
Costello threw interceptions on two of the first three drives of the game for the Cardinal (3-0) before settling in a bit against the overmatched Aggies (2-1).
The game kicked off at the unusually early time of 11:01 a.m. local time in front of a sparse crowd at Stanford Stadium. The Cardinal even played without star running Bryce Love, who got the week off to heal some minor ailments. Costello finished 17 for 30 for 214 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.
The defense did the rest against a UC Davis team that averaged 49 points per game and more than 500 yards of offense in season-opening wins over San Jose State and San Diego.
No. 10 Washington 21, (at) Utah 7: Myles Gaskin ran for 143 yards on 30 carries and added a touchdown, and Washington’s defense forced three turnovers as the Huskies beat Utah for the third straight season.
Jake Browning threw for 155 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Aaron Fuller led the way with 108 yards on six catches. Washington (2-1, 1-0 Pac-12) holds an 11-1 lead in the all-time series.
Zack Moss rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Tyler Huntley threw for just 138 yards with one interception and added 40 yards on the ground.
Utah (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) lost its conference opener for the first time since 2014. The Utes fell to 0-4 all-time against ranked Washington teams after generating 261 total yards.
(At) No. 16 Mississippi State 56, Louisiana-Lafayette 10: Nick Fitzgerald accounted for 350 yards of offense and six touchdowns to lead Mississippi State.
Fitzgerald ran for 107 yards and four touchdowns, the second time he’s had four rushing touchdowns in a game. Fitzgerald also completed 14 of 21 passes 243 yards and two touchdowns.
Aeris Williams added 101 yards and a touchdown on the ground for Mississippi State (3-0). The Bulldogs totaled 607 yards of offense with 331 yards on the ground.
Andrew Nunez was 21 of 29 for 224 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Louisiana (1-1). He threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Jamarcus Bradley in the fourth quarter.
(At) No. 24 Oklahoma State 44, No. 17 Boise State 21: Taylor Cornelius ran for two touchdowns and passed for another to help Oklahoma State beat Boise State.
Justice Hill ran for 123 yards and a touchdown, and Tylan Wallace had five catches for 105 yards for the Cowboys (3-0). Boise State’s Brett Rypien passed for 380 yards and three touchdowns, but was sacked seven times and pressured throughout the day. Jordan Brailford had three sacks, Jarrell Owens had two and Devin Harper had 1.5. Oklahoma State held the Broncos (2-1) to 34 yards rushing on 31 attempts.
A blocked punt by Oklahoma State’s Amen Ogbongbemiga led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Cornelius that gave the Cowboys a 14-7 lead. Oklahoma State led 17-7 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Oklahoma State’s Jarrick Bernard blocked another punt, and Za’Carrius Green scored on the return to push the Cowboys’ lead to 34-14.
(At) No. 20 Oregon 35, San Jose State 22: Justin Herbert threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns and Oregon beat San Jose State.
Freshman Cyrus Habibi-Likio scored on both of his carries and Johnny Johnson III caught a pair of touchdown passes to help Oregon win its 23rd straight nonconference game at Autzen Stadium.
Josh Love completed 15 of 31 passes for 238 yards and a score for San Jose State (0-3).
No. 21 Miami 49, (at) Toledo 24: Malik Rosier threw for two touchdowns and ran for three more to help Miami beat Toledo.
The Hurricanes (2-1) never trailed and led 21-0 late in the first half, but Toledo (1-1) twice pulled within a touchdown.
Rosier threw for 205 yards and ran for 80, and Jeff Thomas had five catches for 105 yards and a TD.
The Hurricanes lost standout safety Jaquan Johnson late in the second quarter to an apparent injury. He was back on the sideline using a stationary bike during the second half.
(At) Texas 37, No. 22 USC 14: Sam Ehlinger passed for two touchdowns, Anthony Wheeler returned a blocked field goal 46 yards for a score and Texas beat Southern California.
Texas, which had started 1-2 in four of the previous five seasons, trailed 14-3 in the first quarter before shutting down freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels and scoring 34 unanswered points.
The win could be a huge boost for a Texas (2-1) program that desperately needs one after eight years without a Big 12 title and a run of bad seasons.
Ehlinger threw touchdown strikes of 47 yards to Lil’Jordan Humphrey and 27 yards to Joshua Moore. Wheeler’s scoop and score came in the third quarter after Texas blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt. The touchdown put the Longhorns up 30-14.
Daniels passed for 322 yards, but the Trojans (1-2) were held to minus-5 yards rushing.
(At) San Diego State 28, No. 23 Arizona State 21: San Diego State made a statement with another win against Arizona State, even if it took until the final play to seal the upset.
Junior Ryan Agnew threw his first career touchdown pass to cap an impressive drive to tie the game just before halftime, Juwan Washington rushed for 138 yards and one score and San Diego State's defense came up huge as the Aztecs survived a crazy ending Saturday night.
The Aztecs (2-1) beat the Sun Devils (2-1) for the second straight year. This one spoiled the homecoming of new ASU coach Herm Edwards, who played his final college season with the Aztecs in 1976 and then graduated from SDSU with a degree in criminal justice.
ASU's Manny Wilkins appeared to complete a 48-yard pass to Frank Darby to the SDSU 2-yard-line with 6 seconds left, and SDSU's Trenton Thompson was called for targeting. After review, the targeting call was upheld but the referees determined that the pass was incomplete. ASU got the ball at the SDSU 35 for one final play and SDSU batted away the desperation pass in the end zone.
SDSU rushed for 311 yards, including 112 by sophomore Chase Jasmin, whose critical fumble gave ASU one last shot.