AUBURN, Ala. — Remember the Bayou.
It’s not quite the battle cry for Auburn this week, but last year’s 35-21 loss in a soggy Tiger Stadium is still very much in the mind of Auburn’s coaches and players.
“I’ve still got a bad taste in my mouth from the LSU game last year,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said.
“First half, we were embarrassing. I think they let us have it. … That was one of the negative things you remember from last year.”
Auburn stumbled and fumbled through the first 30 minutes of last year’s meeting, falling in a 21-0 hole at halftime.
“They whipped us last year, especially in the first half,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “Our guys should be very motivated to play better in this game, and there’s no question we’ve struggled a little bit against LSU in the past.”
Auburn fought back though, nearly recovering an onside kick late in the fourth quarter, which Malzahn felt it would have “definitely been interesting” if his team did get the ball at the time.
Athletic director Jay Jacobs tells the story of Tre Mason saying Auburn would not lose again after the LSU game, which became the “defining moment,” as Malzahn put it, of what became a magical Southeastern Conference championship season and run to the BCS title game.
“I think last year that was a turning point in our season,” center Reese Dismukes said. “We didn’t play very well in the first half. We came out in the second half and were able to fight and get back in the game to some extent.
“I think it was just kind of a motivating factor for our team moving forward that we had that in us and we didn’t give up and we fought to the end of that game.”
For Auburn’s seniors there is also the incentive to snap a losing skid to LSU, which has won the last three meetings of the teams.
Quan Bray reminded the other seniors of LSU’s streak of success in the series after Sunday’s practice.
“Last year was heartbreaking for us,” said Bray, who has his own personal motivation after a costly muffed punt return in the 2012 game with LSU.
Dismukes, a four-year starter and two-year captain of the offense, would like to cross another conference team off the proverbial list of SEC foes he’s beaten, with only LSU, Kentucky and Vanderbilt left, and the latter two don’t face Auburn this season.
“That would be nice, but it’s not about that,” Dismukes said. “It’s about being 5-0 and doing whatever you’ve got to do to help this team win and be 5-0.”