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The 10 weirdest games from the weird LSU-Auburn rivalry’s last 30 years of weirdness

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From Les Miles’ last game to Fire and Earthquake games, this series has a lot of strange history.

The rivalry between LSU and Auburn will have another edition on Saturday night, as the two will face off in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tiger Bowl is almost always a big game, with both battling for SEC West positioning. But it’s more known for its many bizarre moments.

The two have played each other 52 times, with LSU holding a 29-22-1 advantage in the series, which dates back to 1901. The two have met every year since 1992. Let’s rewind some of the more fun, weird, and interesting games of this rivalry since right around when they resumed playing regularly.

2017: LSU shocks the eventual SEC West champs with a big comeback

Auburn was No. 10, with a 3-0 SEC record. But LSU stunned Auburn, coming back from a 20-0 second-quarter deficit, scoring 13 unanswered in the fourth. The game-winner came on a 36-yard Connor Culp field goal with less than a minute left.

“When we were unable to stop LSU on a fourth and goal in the second quarter, and when they ended up with a circus catch for another touchdown, I knew we were in trouble,” College And Magnolia’s Jack Condon says. “However, the team will tell you that without that loss, there’s no way they get galvanized enough to destroy Georgia and Alabama in November. Blessing in disguise?”

2016: Les Miles ran out of time

This game had one of the weirdest finishes in college football in recent years. In the final seconds, LSU quarterback Danny Etling found receiver D.J. Chark in the right corner of the end zone. Chark made a brilliant catch that appeared to give LSU a 19-18 victory.

But as it turns out, Etling never snapped the ball in time:

ESPN

“It was just another entry into the Les Miles School of Clock Management,” Condon says. “The last play was such a roller coaster of emotions, going from ‘He definitely didn’t get that snapped in time’ to ‘Oh no no no no no no stop him’ to ‘I can’t believe they won on the last play’ to ‘That had to be reviewed, there were guys moving at the snap, and the clock had run out anyway.’ Typical Auburn-LSU.”

“We all talked about this being a ‘Loser Leaves Town’ match before — it’s easy to forget how tenuous things seemed for Gus Malzahn as well at time,” And The Valley Shook’s Billy Gomila Gomila says. “And as the second half went on I had kind of resigned myself to what was happening. And then ... we won.

“But not really. As soon as the review hit, you could see that something was off (there was definitely a little home clock management a down or two earlier on a play that went out-of-bounds with an extra second or two ticked off). You had to laugh at the possibility that Les would pull another one out, but it was pretty obvious that the play wouldn’t stand.”

The game had some serious consequences — LSU dropped to 2-2, and Les Miles was fired less than 24 hours after, leaving the interim duties to Ed Orgeron.

2007: The most Les Miles moment of Les Miles’ career

This one was a nail biter throughout, coming down to a bizarre — but successful — decision by LSU.

LSU let a 15-second clock run down, and instead of kicking a field goal for the win, Matt Flynn found Demetrius Byrd for a 22-yard touchdown to seal it.

“You know, what people never remember about this game is that the touchdown pass was caught with four seconds on the clock,” Gomila says. “People also don’t know that Les Miles didn’t actually call the play — he just gave Matt Flynn the freedom to take the shot if he thought he could caught Auburn. And Flynn took his sweet time letting it all play out.”

“This one hurt,” Condon says. “It was right in the middle of Les Miles’ lucky streak, and no matter what LSU fans will tell you, it was a dumb play call. Down by one and already in field goal range, and they go for the throat? Ballsy, yes. Intelligent? Not at all. I’m still mad about this one.”

2006: Pass interference or nah?

This year marked the highest-ranked head-to-head matchup. Auburn won 7-3, but the victory didn’t come without some controversy.

“Highway robbery. A Jacob Hester catch-and-fumble out of bounds was overturned in the first quarter, and that was just the start of a series of brutal calls that all went against LSU,” Gomila says. “With the most famous one being a blatant pass interference call on Early Doucet that was, somehow, overturned as a tipped ball. Except the ball was only tipped after Doucet was tackled by an Auburn safety, which is not how the tip rule works.”

“Yeah, there was probably some sort of pass interference on the infamous play,” Condon adds. “But LSU still has to score a touchdown to win. That wasn’t even the last drive of the game.”

2005: #CollegeKickers

LSU beat Auburn in overtime, much thanks to poor Auburn kicker John Vaughn, who missed a whopping five field goals, including a 49-yarder at the end of regulation and a 39-yard clanger in OT. LSU also missed two kicks of its own.

2001: The game played three months later than scheduled

This game was on Dec. 2, originally scheduled to be played the Saturday after the Sept. 11 attacks. Before kickoff, Auburn players stomped on the LSU logo in the middle of the game field, which gave Auburn a 15-yard penalty.

Here’s And The Valley Shook on the stomp:

The first time anybody ever tried stomping on the Eye of the Tiger — and it was the the equivalent of throwing raw meat into the student section on this night. It wasn’t smart then, and it ain’t smart now. I’m still amazed every time anybody does it.

Having this game in December could have been a factor, too.

“LSU was a shell of what they became by the end of the season,” Condon says. “Auburn lost Cadillac Williams to a broken collarbone against Alabama the week before this game was made up, thus losing a big part of the offense. If we play this in week three, Auburn may not have won, but it would’ve been a much higher chance for the victory.”

1999: Sure, let’s give college students tobacco!

Auburn blew out LSU on Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville’s birthday. Tubbs made this game special before his team’s season began, making his players an offer technically against NCAA rules (yeah, Bama self-reports it after beating Tennessee every year).

“He told us flat out, we’re gonna celebrate,” then-Auburn quarterback Ben Leard said. “We win this ball game, we’re going to smoke cigars.”

A stack of cigar boxes awaited them along the wall as Tuberville had promised. Auburn equipment managers handed the cigars to the players one by one. Players and coaches filtered their way back to the field puffing their lit cigars in victory. They celebrated with the Auburn fans and band, and dropped their shoulder pads in the end zone. The only people remaining in the stadium to witness the activities were Auburn fans, and the LSU and Auburn marching bands.

AuburnTigers.com

1996: Uh, part of Auburn’s campus was on fire

The country watched live as a huge cloud of smoke emerged from behind the stadium. The culprit? Auburn’s old sports arena.

While public address announcements assuring fans the fire was outside played over the stadium speakers, Auburn and LSU continued the game without stoppage.

”Then 10 minutes later you have these flames shooting hundreds of feet in the air,” said AL.com’s Josh Bean, who was covering the game for The Daily Mountain Eagle. “It’s higher than the upper deck. It went very quickly, internally, from ‘Oh, that’s an awful thing’ to, ‘Oh my goodness, how big is this fire going to get? Are we all in mortal danger?’”

Bowden’s sideline didn’t know what to think.

”It was the strangest atmosphere,” he said. “It was almost surreal, and then it was almost like a war... It looked like a major, major disaster was going on.”

“The fire was an incredible backdrop for the game (and unbelievable since it was literally across the street from the stadium),” Condon says. “It thankfully gave us a nice moniker for that year’s edition of the matchup.”

“Let the record reflect that LSU fans did NOT start this,” Gomila jokes.

1994: The pick six game

LSU got out to a 23-9 lead in the fourth quarter, but then disaster struck — Tiger QB Jamie Howard threw five fourth quarter interceptions, three of which three were returned for touchdowns for an Auburn win.

1988: The earthquake game

LSU QB Tommy Hodson’s late touchdown to Eddie Fuller that upset No. 4 Auburn made Tiger Stadium’s crowd go so wild that the LSU geology department registered vibrations on a seismograph machine:

“I saw a very distinct recording of something and my first reaction was, ‘What in the world is this?’” [Riley Milner, research associate with the Louisiana Geological Survey] said. He took the seismogram to Donald Stevenson, the researcher then in charge of LSU’s seismic program. “We tried to figure out what it might be, and we backed up the time and realized it coordinated perfectly with the time of the touchdown,” Milner said. “It was a total surprise. We never expected the seismograph to pick up the ground shaking from a football game.”

Even more of a surprise was that the seismogram showed 15 to 20 minutes of recorded ground shaking. That’s right — 15 to 20 minutes.

What will 2018’s edition hold?

Auburn is currently a 10-point favorite for Saturday. We’re probably bound to get something unexpected.