Joe Burrow finally pays off for LSU in big win over Auburn

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For the third time this year, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow failed to complete 50 percent of his passes. Not a single Tigers fan will care about that in the aftermath of No. 12 LSU’s 22-21 upset win Saturday at No. 7 Auburn, which not only ended the Tigers’ 13-game home win streak but effectively put hot-seat talk about coach Ed Orgeron on ice.

Burrow was by no means perfect against Auburn, completing 15 of 34 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown. During one stretch he completed just 6 of 20 passes against a vicious Tigers defense.

When the situation called for it, however, he stepped up to the biggest challenge of his career, in the toughest venue, and became the difference-maker LSU needed as he brought it back from a 21-10 deficit in a huge SEC West road matchup.

MORE: Takeaways from LSU’s win

The key thing to focus on in Burrow’s stat line is the zero, as in no interceptions. He has yet to throw one this season. If you don’t think that’s important, then consider that Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham’s interception on the first pass of the game led to an LSU touchdown on its opening drive.

That, in part, is what makes Burrow so valuable. He minimizes mistakes, much like Danny Etling did before him. The difference between the two? You need only look at Burrow’s lone touchdown of the game.

The 71-yard connection with Derrick Dillon sucked the energy out of Jordan-Hare Stadium and put LSU in striking distance late in the fourth quarter. Burrow threaded the ball between three Auburn defenders, including over the defending linebacker, and Dillon did the rest, racing the final 50 yards to make the score 21-19.

Does Etling make that throw? Does Brandon Harris? Does Anthony Jennings?

That touchdown wouldn’t have meant anything were it not for LSU’s final drive, though. After forcing an Auburn three-and-out, Burrow and Co. got the ball at their 24 and drove 52 yards in 14 plays over five minutes of possession. Again, he wasn’t perfect — he only completed 2 of 6 passes — but those completions came at critical junctures: an 8-yard pass on third-and-7 at the LSU 41, and a 9-yard completion on fourth-and-7 from the Auburn 48.

There on the field was why LSU so eagerly sought Burrow’s services after he transferred from Ohio State. He didn’t sling the ball all over Jordan-Hare. He didn’t torch Auburn’s secondary or light up the scoreboard. He managed the game well enough to keep LSU in it, and then he made the big throw when his team needed it most.

In the end, that’s what the Tigers have been missing at quarterback.

MORE: Could LSU provide much-needed chaos for Playoff?

That said, LSU will need to see similar or better play from Burrow going forward. He has completed just 46.1 percent of his passes this season (36 for 78), for 440 yards and three touchdowns. That has been good enough, clearly, for the Tigers during their 3-0 (1-0 SEC) start, but will that be enough as they traverse the rest of their season?

The Tigers’ next date is against Ole Miss and its high-flying offense. Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama are three of LSU’s next four opponents after that — and all those teams have talented quarterbacks. If LSU is truly a contender in the SEC, then the Tigers can’t come away from that stretch with more than one loss, and Burrow will need to be the reason for that.

If Burrow continues to improve, then there’s no telling what he and LSU can accomplish.

Source : http://www.sportingnews.com/ca/ncaa-football/news/joe-burrow-lsu-upset-auburn-stats-derrick-dillon-sec/5end0o2k5jlj10k0vh3qgnzc0