Flip through the history books of LSU football and you’ll come across four national championships, 16 conference championships, two Heisman Trophy winners and way too many amazing plays since Louisiana State University’s first season in 1893.
Billy Cannon’s “Halloween Run” and the “Bluegrass Miracle” are classics that every LSU Tigers fan should have engrained in their memory. Plus, anything from Joe Burrow’s Heisman-winning season and the 1988 “Earthquake Game” against Auburn deserve recognition.
But if we were crafting a list of the greatest plays in school history, there’s one that absolutely can’t be left off: Matt Flynn to Demetrius Byrd to beat Auburn in 2007.
Let’s just refer to it as “Flynn to Byrd.”
LSU’s 2007 Season
That 2007 LSU Tigers team was loaded with players who went on to the NFL. Glenn Dorsey won the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Tyson Jackson and Craig Steltz were also studs. Quarterback Matt Flynn had playmakers like Trindon Holliday, Brandon LaFell and Early Doucet at his disposal.
It’s no wonder they’d go on to win the national championship that season.
Halfway through the season, that wasn’t so obvious. LSU destroyed their first three opponents — Mississippi State, Virginia Tech and Middle Tennessee — by a combined score of 137-7.
Then, a six-game stretch that looked like this:
- No. 12 South Carolina
- At Tulane
- No. 9 Florida
- At No. 17 Kentucky
- No. 18 Auburn
- At No. 17 Alabama
After winning a battle against the defending national champion Florida Gators at home, the Tigers fell to Kentucky in triple overtime. The loss was deflating and questions about their national title hopes followed.
They needed a bounce-back. A pick-me-up. A game-winning touchdown that nobody saw coming.
LSU vs. Auburn 2007
Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox and LSU quarterback Matt Flynn each threw touchdown passes in the first quarter, keeping the game tied at 7. A Carl Stewart rushing score and Wes Byrum field goal put Auburn ahead, 17-7, by the end of the second quarter.
LSU made headway after halftime on kicker Colt David’s two field goals in the third quarter, cutting Auburn’s lead to 17-13. Flynn’s touchdown to running back Jacob Hester and a David 33-yard field goal put LSU in front, 23-17, before Auburn drove down and scored to take a one-point lead with about three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Flynn and the Tigers offense drove comfortably down the field into Auburn territory. At first-and-10 from Auburn’s 25-yard line with 1:28 to go, LSU sat pretty. All it needed was a simple field goal. Nothing fancy.
LSU head coach Les Miles did not seem urgent. He let the clock run on each play. Everyone in Tiger Stadium and Baton Rouge braced for the timeout and Colt David’s inevitable field goal attempt. Could he be the hero?
Not so fast, said Miles.
Flynn to Byrd: The Game-Winner
Flynn shocked the Auburn defense and dropped back to pass. He let it fly down the sideline for wide receiver Demetrius Byrd, who was one-on-one with Auburn cornerback Jerraud Powers.
Byrd beat him and hauled it in for the touchdown. Ballgame.
“The stadium shook,” Byrd told AL.com. “That’s how crazy it was. I wish they had the earthquake monitor on because it would have registered… All Matt Flynn had to do was throw it up to Mr. Clutch, and Mr. Clutch did it. I can’t thank him enough for giving me the opportunity.”
Mr. Clutch, indeed.
Will Muschamp, Auburn’s defensive coordinator at the time who just three years prior was on the LSU sideline, never saw it coming either. He called a run pressure.
“Give them credit, they took a shot in the end zone to try and win the game… They made the play when they needed to make it and Jerraud was in position to make the play. I’d take my chances again with Jerraud Powers I’ll assure you of that,” Muschamp told AL.com.Advertisement
Miles has been known to take chances in football games throughout his career, and on October 20, 2007, he caught head coach Tommy Tuberville completely off-guard.
LSU fans remember how the rest of the season went, of course. The Tigers football team lost another triple overtime game to Arkansas but beat Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game. They then trounced Ohio State in the BCS National Championship to win their second NCAA national championship in five seasons.
The play, and the call of the college football season, that set it all up? Matt Flynn to Demetrius Byrd in the 2007 LSU-Auburn game.
This article was originally published May 11, 2020.