wave of hand does wonders in LSU victory
BATON ROUGE, La. - With one wave his hand to the press box, LSU wide receiver Demetrius Byrd put the fate of the Tigers' season on his shoulders.
In the final minutes of LSU's contest with Auburn, Byrd wanted to run a go route to the endzone. After Jacob Hester's 10-yard run on the final drive, Byrd waved his hand toward the sky, instructing offensive coordinator Gary Crowton to call the play.
Three plays later, Crowton did so. The result was a 22-yard catch by Byrd with one second left and a 30-24 LSU win, keeping the Tigers' national title hopes alive.
"I waved my hand to Coach Crowton, and I'm glad he saw it," Byrd said. "[The final play] was exciting."
The catch was Byrd's third of the night and capped possibly the best performance of quarterback Matt Flynn's career.
Against an Auburn defense that entered the game allowing only 169 passing yards per game, Flynn completed 22 of his 34 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
Those numbers could have been better if LSU receivers did not drop seven passes on the night.
Auburn jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and led 17-7 at halftime.
But it seemed that Auburn's offense shut down in the third quarter while LSU's thrived.
The home team gained 283 yards of total offense in the third quarter.
"Somebody had to lose," said Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville. "Unfortunately, we did. We played hard. We didn't do too much on offense in the third and half of the fourth quarter."
Auburn finished with 296 total yards compared to LSU's 488.
Quarterback Brandon Cox handled the jeers from the Tiger Stadium crowd of 92,630 extremely well, completing 18-of-28 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns.
LSU's defense stepped up in the second half without its best player, defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey.
Dorsey was hurt twice in the game. He left in the first half because of an apparent leg injury. He returned but left again in the third quarter after a nasty block from an Auburn offensive lineman took out Dorsey's right leg.
Miles said he would review the play that caused Dorsey's second injury and possibly send the film to SEC officials for further analysis.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Byrd's game-winning touchdown catch ... There were many questions for LSU coach Les Miles about the final play in his postgame press conference. The Tigers had one timeout left at the end of the game and had played conservatively for the final drive. Miles said he didn't expect the final play to take as long as it did to get from the coaches to the huddle.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: LSU quarterback Matt Flynn ... After inconsistent performances in the past two games, Flynn threw for 300 yards for the first time in his career. His performance came against the No. 2 total defense in the SEC.
WHAT THIS MEANS: For LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC), the win keeps its national title hopes alive and well. With South Florida's loss Thursday night to Rutgers, LSU figures to move up to No. 3 in the BCS rankings ... Auburn (5-3, 3-2 SEC) no longer controls its own destiny in the SEC West. The Tigers had won four in a row before traveling to face LSU. They are now one game behind LSU and Alabama for the SEC West lead.
NEXT UP: LSU has a bye week before traveling to face Alabama and former LSU coach Nick Saban on Nov. 3. Auburn returns home Saturday to take on Ole Miss.
NOTES: LSU wide receiver Early Doucet returned from injury to catch seven passes for 93 yards ... The loss snapped Auburn's eight-game SEC road winning streak ... The home team has now won eight straight games in this rivalry.