Saints, Tigers rally for wins
You get nothing more in the win column for style points and that is good news for both the LSU Tigers and the New Orleans Saints this past weekend.
Both teams struggled in the first half of their respective games, but both also had the football muster to come back with late game heroics. For LSU the stakes were high because without a win against Auburn any chances of a possible run for the national championship would be all but over with.
And in the first half it looked as though Tommy Tuberville and his Tigers were going to do just that.
The Auburn Tigers dominated on the football field taking a 17-7 lead into the half and they held the football in their possession 18 minutes and 27 seconds of the first two quarters.
It was the third straight week LSU would be taken to the final minutes of a game against a tough Southeast Conference foe, but unlike against Kentucky, the Tigers were able to pull this game out of the fire.
Quarterback Matt Flynn, who had struggled throwing the ball since the midway point of the third quarter against Kentucky, got “red hot” in the second half throwing 2 touchdown passes and he also led his team in a position for Colt David to kick three field goals.
But it was the final couple of minutes of play that wrote another chapter in the LSU/Auburn rivalry.
With LSU clinging to a 23-17 lead Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox masterfully led his team to a 9 play, 82 yard drive that resulted in a 3-yard touchdown pass to flanker Rodgeriqus Smith and a 24-23 Auburn lead with 3 minutes and 12 seconds left to play.
Now, it was LSU quarterback Matt Flynn’s turn to lead his troops to a game-winning drive. Flynn, who finished the night with 319 yards passing and 22 pass completions, put the Tigers in a position to possibly kick a game-winning field goal inside the Auburn 25-yard line, but Tiger head coach Les Miles wanted one shot at the endzone before going for three.
With the clock ticking less than ten seconds, Flynn launched a 22-yard strike to wide receiver Demetrius Byrd with just one second left on the clock to give the Tigers a come-from-behind 30-24 victory.For the crowd of 92,630 it was a moment to remember and it kept the Tigers breathing in their attempt to make their run to the BCS Championship game.
High stakes were on the line for the New Orleans Saints also. After digging themselves a 1-4 start the Saints needed a win against the Atlanta Falcons in the worst way if they wanted any chance to get back into the playoff picture, but earlier on the Falcons looked as though they would play spoilers.
Despite the Saints jumping out to a 7-0 lead after quarterback Drew Brees hit wide-out Devery Henderson with a 37-yard touchdown throw, it was the Falcons who dominated play in the first half. With Falcons quarterback Byron Leftwich successfully throwing darts to a tune of 15 completions on 22 attempts and 145 yards passing, the ‘Dirty Birds’ took a 13-7 lead into the lockerroom.
Despite the fact that the Falcons, like Auburn, dominated time of possession in the first half 20:34 to the Saints 9:26, they only had a 6 point advantage.
In the second half quarterback Drew Brees started to heat up and with both lines dominating at the point of attack the Saints made a late-game rally to post a 22-16 victory.
The Saints winning drive was set up by a 33-yard pass play hook-up from Brees to Marques Colston midway into the fourth quarter and then Reggie Bush took over.Bush, who rushed for 54 yards against the Falcons, scored on a 4-yard tackle-breaking catch that may go down as his finest effort in a Saints uniform. On the following play Bush outran three Falcon defenders to the corner of the endzone for an additional two points.
The Saints defense, led by defensive end Charles Grant, who totaled 5 tackles and 1 quarterback sack, forced the Falcons to punt, which all but killed any chances for a late game comeback.
For the fifth consecutive week the Saints defense held an opponent to under 100 yards rushing and that hasn’t been done since 1992.
For both teams the victories weren’t pretty, but what matters more is that both can post a “WIN” in the record books and that is all that really matters.
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