AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Bo Nix generated 381 yards of total offense and four touchdowns as Auburn routed LSU 48-11 inside Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.
Auburn (4-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) was successful in affecting LSU quarterback TJ Finley, a true freshman who was making his first career road start in place of the injured Myles Brennan. Finley had two interceptions and one strip-sack fumble that directly led to three Auburn touchdowns.
Nix distributed the ball well in the victory, as Eli Stove, Anthony Schwartz, Seth Williams, and JJ Pegues all recorded at least three receptions. Running back Tank Bigsby added 71 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“They’re the defending national champs, and they’ve been playing well the last two weeks,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “And to dismantle them like we did, I think that says a lot about our team.”
LSU (2-3, 2-3) struggled to find any sort of offensive balance against Auburn, rushing for only 32 yards on 27 carries. Finley completed 13 of 24 passes for 143 yards before getting pulled in the third quarter for third-string quarterback Max Johnson. LSU’s offense went 5 of 17 on third downs.
“Give credit to Auburn,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “They came to play. The turnovers really hurt us. Our defense was playing better early... but we’ve got to play for 60 minutes. We always talk about coming out stronger, and we didn’t do that.”
Following a scoreless first quarter, Auburn scored six touchdowns in the second and third quarters alone. Auburn’s 48 points were the most the program has ever scored in a game against LSU, and the win snapped its three-game losing streak in the rivalry series.
LSU: Ed Orgeron’s Tigers continue their post-national championship blues, as they now have a losing record at the halfway point of their regular season. A midseason turnaround will be tough, as LSU will play three teams that entered Saturday ranked inside the top 10 during the second half of its schedule.
Auburn: After several narrow wins, Auburn has a statement victory that it can take into its final four games of the season. Nix has put together two strong performances following a rough start to his second campaign as the Tigers’ starting quarterback, which bodes well for an offense starting to hit its stride.
HOME SWEET HOME
Nix completed 75 percent of his passes for an even 300 yards and three touchdowns Saturday, continuing an impressive run for the Auburn quarterback inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.
In his 10 home starts, Nix has averaged 7.77 yards per pass attempt. He has passed for 14 touchdowns, rushed for seven additional touchdowns and thrown zero interceptions in those games.
“He’s established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in our league,” Malzahn said of Nix. “I think it’s about time people started recognizing that.”
On Saturday, Nix also became the first Auburn quarterback to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns while adding a rushing touchdown since Cam Newton in 2010. LSU’s SEC-leading pass rush didn’t sack Nix a single time, which contributed to his efficient afternoon.
“We just had a blast out there,” Nix said.
IN THE TRENCHES
Excluding sacks, LSU averaged only 2.5 rushing yards per carry against Auburn on Saturday. It was a surprise to Orgeron, as Auburn’s run defense was coming off a win over Ole Miss in which it allowed 283 rushing yards.
“We tried (to run the ball),” Orgeron said. “We couldn’t block those guys. And I saw other people block (Auburn’s) front… I was really surprised that we couldn’t run the football.”
In its two wins this season, the Tigers rushed for 440 yards and averaged more than 5 yards per touch. Now, in its three losses this season, LSU has rushed for only 161 yards combined.
“We got punched in the face,” LSU center Liam Shanahan said.
Meanwhile, Auburn’s own offense rushed for more than 200 yards for the fourth straight game. Auburn rushed for only 130 combined yards in its first two games of the season, a win over Kentucky and a blowout loss to Georgia.
LSU has an open date next week before hosting No. 2 Alabama.
Auburn also has an open date and will travel to face Mississippi State in two weeks.
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