Trailing Auburn 24-17, LSU had an opportunity for new life in the closing minutes.


Trailing Auburn 24-17, LSU had an opportunity for new life in the closing minutes.

The Tigers had the ball and faced a fourth-and-6. The stage was set for another improbable finish, just as LSU had against Florida and Tennessee earlier in the season. Somehow, some way, the Tigers were able to finish those games victorious.

But Saturday was different. There was no fake field goal to convert, like against Florida. And there was no defensive penalty to allow the Tigers another play, like against Tennessee.

Instead, LSU?turned the ball over on downs as quarterback Jarrett Lee scrambled desperately looking for a miracle.

From there, Auburn ran out the remaining time.

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton added another dazzling performance to his Heisman Trophy campaign. He ran for a career-high 217 yards and two touchdowns. That total gave him 1,077 yards so far, the most in a single season by a quarterback in SEC?history.

So forgive the Tigers for not pulling another victory out of the clutches of defeat. They faced some quality competition in a hostile environment.

TWO?STEPS?BACK

The Cleveland Browns, the owners of just one win coming into Sunday, surprised the New Orleans Saints with a 30-17 victory in the Superdome.

If the Saints took a step forward in dismantling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, they took two steps back in losing to the Browns.

The game was similar to the Saints’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals two weeks prior. Just as the Cardinals went with a rookie quarterback, the Browns started Colt McCoy.

All the former Texas signal caller had to do was avoid making any major mistakes, which he did. He only passed for 74 yards on just 16 attempts.

The Browns made some gutsy calls to take the lead and stay there. The most notable was the decision to go for a fake punt. Reggie Hodges pulled down the snap, then rumbled 68 yards. The play set up one of Phil Dawson’s three field goals.

Cleveland also relied on running back Peyton Hillis, who grinded out 69 yards and a 4-yard touchdown run.

Meanwhile, the Browns defense came up with back-breaking plays.

Linebacker David Bowens pulled down two interceptions, returning both for touchdowns. His second pick-six deflated the Superdome crowd as the 12-year veteran side-stepped a diving tackle then barrel-rolled into the end zone.

Those big plays on defense were typical for the Saints last year. Combined with an offense that was clicking, New Orleans cruised to the Super Bowl.

This is a new season. The Saints have had their share of injuries to deal with so far. There’s still time to get things going back in the right direction.