- Gary Laney, Reporter, GeauxTigerNation
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Jordan-Hare Stadium at Auburn should look familiar to LSU fans.
Like many stadiums around the SEC and around the country, it's a puzzle that's added pieces over time. It began as a modest 7,500-seat venue in 1939 and has skyrocketed over time to the 87,451-seat monstrosity it is now, the result of nine expansions since the original concrete and steel was put down around the same time World War II was beginning.
It's the same story that can be told about numerous SEC venues, including LSU's own Tiger Stadium. Unlike NFL stadiums, which tend to get built from scratch after teams win staredowns with municipalities who have to build them, college stadiums tend to be like old trees -- each layer of the stadium going out (and up) tells a more recent chapter of the arena's history.
In that regard, Jordan-Hare is just another SEC stadium.
But there is something about Jordan-Hare that doesn't sit well with LSU. Auburn has won five of its last six over LSU there, a period that coincides with LSU's rise to prominence nationally. In a place called the "Plains" because of its flat landscape, the Bayou Bengals have nevertheless found ways to get tripped up.
"We've played some really quality teams in there and haven't done as well as we would have liked," said LSU coach Les Miles, 1-2 in his first three trips to Auburn as LSU's coach. "I think it's a really live venue. I think it's a wonderful place to play. It's a very, very competitive team. We'll look forward to playing there."
If, for no other reason than to exorcise ghosts.
When the Bayou Bengals go there, extra points tend to wander off the mark (like in 2004, when a missed extra point cost LSU in a 10-9 loss), pass interference calls mysteriously get overturned (like in 2006, when a pass interference call against Auburn inside the AU 5 late in the fourth quarter was reversed, helping the home team escape with a 7-3 win) and Heisman Trophy winners record their signature moments (like Cam Newton's 49-yard touchdown run where he dragged Patrick Peterson into the end zone in Auburn's 24-17 win in 2010).
No, Jordan-Hare hasn't been LSU's favorite place.
So forget that No. 2 LSU is 3-0 after dominating three non-conference foes while Auburn is 1-2 after barely escaping an overtime win at Jordan-Hare against Sun Belt foe Louisiana-Monroe. When Auburn hosts LSU Saturday, there are plenty of reasons for LSU fans to look back and worry.
To start with, as Miles pointed out, despite Auburn's recent struggles, it's just two years removed from the Newton-led national championship season. And while Newton's Heisman moment run is what folks remember the most, it was Onterio McCalebb's 70-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game-winner.
McCalebb is still there and continues to show an ability to change a game as his national-best 40-yards-per-return kick return average suggests.
And then there's the just the weirdness that happens there.
How does one explain the 2006 (non) pass interference call where LSU receiver Early Doucet, attempting to catch a pass from JaMarcus Russell, was hit early by Zach Gilbert, drawing the flag. But the call was reversed because the ball was tipped away by Eric Brock -- but only after Gilbert made contact with Doucet.
Auburn wound up winning when Brock tackled LSU receiver Craig Davis at the Auburn 4 on the game's final play.
Or how about the weirdness from 2004, the "Extra Point" game, when LSU missed an early extra point, but still held a 9-3 lead when Auburn scored the tying touchdown with 1:14 left. Auburn's John Vaughn also missed the extra point -- but got a reprieve when a personal foul on LSU allowed another attempt. That was one good, giving Auburn a 10-9 win.
Even when LSU wins, things get a bit weird at Jordan-Hare.
Like in 1996 when, while the LSU Tigers were en route to a 19-15 win in Jordan-Hare, the old Auburn Sports Arena, just outside the stadium, burned to the ground. It was close enough to have those in the stadium a little worried for their safety even as a dramatic game unfolded. It wasn't decided until LSU's Raion Hill intercepted a would-be tying two-point conversion pass with 38 seconds left and returned it the other way for two points.
It was called "The Night the Barn Burned."
Indeed, history says that LSU-Auburn games at Jordan-Hare are usually barn burners.