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Auburn Wins Battle of the Tigers, 31-28

September 21, 1997|From Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. — Auburn tailback Rusty Williams knew he was standing one yard from glory on Saturday night. He also knew that with only 30 seconds left in the game and Auburn trailing Louisiana State by four points, he could be one yard from despair.

Williams went home a hero, diving in from his second touchdown to give No. 12 Auburn a 31-28 victory over No. 10 LSU.

"I just stood there thinking, 'If I score this touchdown I go down in history and I win the game against LSU,' " Williams said.

The winning touchdown came after LSU (2-1 overall, 1-1 Southeast Conference), which had stopped two fourth-quarter Auburn drives, was penalized for having 12 men on the field, giving Auburn a second down at the one.

LSU had a final chance to tie and force overtime after driving to the Auburn 48, but Wade Richey's 64-yard field goal attempt was blocked as the game ended.

Auburn quarterback Dameyune Craig completed 23 of 45 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns against a defense which had not given up a passing touchdown in 19 quarters.

"This was one of those games that had drama, and all the excitement of a game in our division," Coach Terry Bowden said after Auburn (3-0) improved to 2-0 in the SEC West. "Both teams felt deep down in their hearts that they wanted to win this one."

LSU played a second consecutive game without All-American running back Kevin Faulk, who pulled a hamstring in the season opener. Cecil Collins, who sat out last season because of academic problems and the first game of this season for breaking a team rule, rushed for 232 yards and two touchdowns in 27 carries.

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