September 18, 2008

Auburn-LSU a thrilling rivalry

While it's not the SEC's longest or most tradition-rich rivalry, it's certainly one of the best.

Auburn and LSU will meet for the 43rd time Saturday night in Jordan-Hare Stadium. If history is any indication, it could be another "barn burner." The last four matchups have been decided by a touchdown or less including last year's last-second 30-24 LSU win in Baton Rouge.

"Our players understand the LSU game has been one of the top games in college football the last few years, and that team that wins this usually has the upper hand in getting to the conference championship," AU head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "Last year we were one play away from winning this game. Had we not missed that last play we would have been in the conference championship game and they would not have been, and that's how close this has been."

Trailing 24-23 last year, LSU scored the winning touchdown with one second left on a pass from Matt Flynn to Demetrius Byrd in the back of the endzone, despite tight coverage from AU cornerback Jerraud Powers.

"It was a great play by him," Powers said. "I was in position to make the play, my hand was on the ball, I just couldn't get it out."

Powers said he put that play behind him a long time ago.

"I haven't put it on my wall and said, 'I can't wait to go against these guys again,' because I knew this chance was going to come," Powers said. "I just got to make sure I go out Saturday and just do my job."

Auburn has won the last four meetings at home including 7-3 in 2006 when time ran out with LSU at the 4-yard line. The 2004 game, which happens to be Tuberville's favorite, was even more dramatic as Jason Campbell connected with Courtney Taylor for a touchdown with 1:14 remaining and AU got a second chance to kick the extra point after an LSU penalty, and hung on for the 10-9 win.

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