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Sport The Legend of Joe Burrow began at Auburn at about 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 15, 2018

00:50  24 october  2019
00:50  24 october  2019 Source:   statesmanjournal.com

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BATON ROUGE — It was just over a year ago, but the college football world may be shocked to realize that quarterback Joe Burrow completed just 11 of 24 passes for 140 yards and zero touchdowns in his first LSU game in a 33-17 win over No. 8 Miami in the 2018 season opener.

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The next week, he hit but 10 of 24 for 151 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-0 victory over Southeastern Louisiana.

Meager numbers compared to Burrow's behemoth digits produced so far this season as he is tied for No. 1 in the nation with Washington State's Anthony Gordon with 29 touchdown passes. He is No. 2 in the country in efficiency at 216.2 on 173-of-218 passing for 2,484 yards, and Burrow is second nationally in passing yards a game with 354.9 — or 209 more a game than he averaged before going to Auburn last season. 

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Burrow has thrown for less than 300 yards only twice this season and never lower than 278 as the No. 3 Tigers (7-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) prepare to host No. 10 Auburn (6-1, 3-1 SEC) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS.

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a group of people racing each other: LSU's Joe Burrow (9) at Auburn on Sept. 15, 2018. The Tigers beat Auburn, 22-21, after Burrow threw a 71-yard TD in the fourth quarter and led his team to the game-winning field goal. © Jake Crandall LSU's Joe Burrow (9) at Auburn on Sept. 15, 2018. The Tigers beat Auburn, 22-21, after Burrow threw a 71-yard TD in the fourth quarter and led his team to the game-winning field goal.

But it was not until Sept. 15, 2018, that "The Legend of Joe Burrow" began ... at about 5:30 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. It was No. 12 LSU at No. 7 Auburn in the 2:30 p.m. CBS game.

"That's when I guess the legend of Joe Burrow began," LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry mused Monday.

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On first down from the LSU 29 with Auburn leading 21-13 midway through the fourth quarter, Burrow found wide receiver Derrick Dillon across the middle for a 71-yard touchdown to get the Tigers within 21-19 with 8:18 to play. Burrow's bullet just missed the reach of Auburn linebacker DeShaun Davis.

"I thought I had it," Davis said after the game. "I judged the ball wrong I guess."

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Davis had just been Burrow-ed.

Dillon caught the ball at the tip of the "AU" at the 50-yard line and sprinted through the Auburn secondary for the touchdown.

a group of baseball players playing a football game: LSU's Derrick Dillon (19) catches it over Auburn's Deshaun Davis (57) and runs in for a 71-yard TD in the fourth quarter of LSU's 22-21 win at Auburn last season. © Jake Crandall LSU's Derrick Dillon (19) catches it over Auburn's Deshaun Davis (57) and runs in for a 71-yard TD in the fourth quarter of LSU's 22-21 win at Auburn last season.

After LSU's defense produced a three-and-out stop, Burrow converted a fourth-and-7 play at the Auburn 48 in the final minutes with a 9-yard completion to tight end Stephen Sullivan. Two plays later, Auburn defensive back Jamel Dean was called for pass interference against wide receiver Justin Jefferson to give LSU a first down at the Auburn 24 with under a minute to go.

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With :02 remaining, it was LSU's Cole Tracy who became the hero with a 42-yard, walk-off field goal for the 22-21 win. But LSU became Joe Burrow's team.

"It was a great throw," Cushenberry said.

It was more than that.

"Auburn had a little momentum at that time," Orgeron said Monday. "I think Cole got most of the credit for that game, but obviously, we started believing in Joe. No question. That was his team. I thought he felt more comfortable."

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And Burrow was off. He finished with 249 yards passing - modest compared to his 2019 season - on just 15-of-34 passing after a rough start. Before the 71-yard completion, Burrow was just 12-of-29 passing for 161 yards with no touchdowns.  

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"You could see him playing better after that touchdown," Orgeron said.

He threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns two weeks later in a 45-16 win over Ole Miss and had his first 300-yard passing game against Rice with 307 in a 42-10 win on Nov. 17. Then he threw for 270 and rushed for 100 in the 74-72 seven-overtime loss at Texas A&M. In the 40-32 Fiesta Bowl win over Central Florida, he threw for 394 and four touchdowns, setting the stage for this season.

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"I just tried to be a leader," Burrow said after the Auburn game last year. "That's usually what gets me going. Trying to get my guys going, because when they go, I go. We kept confidence with each other."

Burrow was frustrated entering the fourth quarter as he was just 3-of-9 passing for 43 yards in the third quarter.

"But my coaches kept trusting me, and my teammates kept trusting me," he said a year ago. 

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Ever the teammate, Burrow says now it was LSU that arrived at Auburn last year, rather than himself.

"I think that was a big moment for our team," he said Monday. "We were struggling that game on offense pretty badly, and we kind of needed a spark. And Derrick gave it to us. He made a great play, great catch, and obviously a great run after the catch, too."

LSU will likely need more of those Saturday.

"Joe knew he could make a play like that before he did it," Cushenberry said. "Hopefully, he makes some more of them."

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: The Legend of Joe Burrow began at Auburn at about 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 15, 2018

Nix, No. 11 Auburn hold on, 20-14 over Ole Miss .
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Bo Nix passed for a career-high 340 yards and had a 1-yard touchdown and No. 11 Auburn held off Mississippi 20-14 on Saturday night. The Tigers (7-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) mostly dominated on the stat sheet but struggled to put the 19-point underdogs away after repeated stalled drives and three missed field goals. Anders Carlson's third miss, a 47-yarder with 1:14 to play, gave Ole Miss (3-6, 2-4) a shot at a winning drive.© Provided by The Associated Press Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral scrambles for yardage during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Auburn, Ala.

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