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LSU Scores 49-3 Victory in Home Opener




Website BATON ROUGE — Second-ranked LSU ran for five touchdowns, passed for two more and held Football Championship Subdivision opponent Northwestern State to minus-4 yards rushing en route to a 49-3 victory on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. LSU (2-0), which ran for 175 yards and threw for 225, built a 28-3 lead at halftime with a 30-second drive in the final minute and never looked back. The Tigers next face Mississippi State (1-1) on Thursday at 7 p.m. CT in Starkville, Miss., on ESPN. Northwestern State fell to 1-1 and 0-11 all-time against LSU. Starting quarterback Jarrett Lee played the first half and was nearly perfect, completing 9-of-10 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore transfer Zach Mettenberger saw his first action at LSU, as he played the entire second half and was almost as impressive statistically. Mettenberger was 8-of-11 passing for 92 yards with a touchdown. Wide receiver Rueben Randle had his second-career 100-yard game, as the junior caught five passes for 121 yards including a 43-yarder from Lee on the Tigers’ first play from scrimmage. Odell Beckham Jr. added five catches for 40 yards, while Kadron Boone caught his first touchdown at LSU. However, it was LSU’s ground game which did most of the damage around the goal line. Michael Ford rushed for 72 yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns, while Alfred Blue added 53 yards and a score. Spencer Ware was used only six times, including touchdown runs of 1 and 6 yards in a span of 77 seconds during the second quarter. Northwestern State struggled against the speedy LSU defense. The Demons totaled only 95 net yards, with 25 of those coming on a successful fake punt. For the first time since Oct. 30, 1982, LSU held an opponent to negative yards rushing. Northwestern State had 27 attempts for minus-4 yards. LSU registered nine tackles for losses including one sack. Starting quarterback Brad Henderson finished 16-of-26 passing for 74 yards and an interception. His backup, Don Canyon, had 25 yards passing on the fake punt. Wide receiver Justin Aldredge had a game-high seven catches for 58 yards. The Demons won the coin toss and elected to take the ball to start the game. With first-time starter DJ Howard taking kickoff and punt duties for the Tigers, Northwestern State started its first drive from its 24-yard line. The Demons gained six yards on third-and-5 for a first down, but went no further and punted to LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu. On the Tigers’ first play from scrimmage, Lee connected with Randle along the left sideline for 43 yards to the Demons 24. After four-straight runs by Ford netted 20 yards, Lee found Peterson in the right corner of the endzone for a 6-yard touchdown. After Drew Alleman’s successful PAT, LSU led 7-0 with 8:03 left in the opening quarter. A 17-yard run and catch by Northwestern State wide receiver T.C. Henry put the Demons in LSU territory for the first time at the 38. The Tigers defense again stiffened, pushing the Demons two yards back before forcing another punt. An 11-yard sack on Lee led to a quick three-and-out for LSU, and had Howard punting from the back of his endzone. The senior barely eluded the rush to get off a 36-yard punt that was downed at the LSU 40. Henderson connected with Trevor Eickman for nine yards to the LSU 31, allowing Northwestern State to earn a first down on the next play. After three plays went nowhere, Northwestern State scored its first points in its 11-game history at Tiger Stadium. Jo Shaughnessy banked a 44-yard field goal off the left upright and through the goal posts, cutting the lead to 7-3 with 14:00 left in the half. After a short kickoff designed to prevent a return, LSU quickly answered the score. Ford rolled off runs of 12 and 26 yards to the Demons 25 to open the drive. A 15-yard catch and run by Randle went to the 11 when his fumbled rolled harmlessly out of bounds near the goal line. On second-and-goal from the 1, Ware scored his third career rushing touchdown. With 9:50 remaining in the half, LSU led 14-3. Just as it did in the opening win against No. 3 Oregon, LSU’s defense put the Tigers in position for a quick score. On third-and-11 at the NSU 19, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne pressured Henderson, who tried to toss the ball to safety. However, LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers laid out for the interception at the 15. Two plays later, Ware walked into the endzone for his second TD in 77 seconds. LSU led 21-3 with 8:33 left in the half. Another three-and-out drive by the Demons ended with a 37-yard punt by NSU’s Nick Russo. With two players deep to receive, freshman Jarvis Landry caught the punt at the LSU 44 and returned 31 yards to the NSU 25. Mathieu was flagged for a dead-ball personal after the return, pushing the Tigers back to the 40. A 50-yard field goal attempt by Alleman was missed to the left. The Demons went into their back of tricks after a sack by Mathieu and defensive end Sam Montgomery gave NSU fourth-and-9 at their 33. A pass from punt formation resulted in the longest play of the game for the Demons, a 25-yard catch by Aldredge from Canyon to the LSU 42. Once again, LSU’s defense forced a turnover on downs with 50 seconds remaining in the half. Starting from his 48, Lee led a furious drive to another touchdown before the half. An 11-yard pass to Beckham Jr. started the drive, followed by 10 yards to Ware and 27 yards to Randle to the 3-yard line. Ford finished its off with his sixth rushing touchdown, this from 3 yards. With 20 seconds remaining in the half, LSU led 28-3. Mettenberger saw his first action as a Tiger to start the second half, and the 6-foot-5 quarterback took little time to find his groove. He went 4-for-4 for 44 yards on the drive, including a 24-yard catch by Randle. Mettenberger setup a 7-yard touchdown run by Ford with an 11-yard pass to Beckham Jr., and LSU extended its lead to 35-3 with 12:39 left in the third quarter. Later in the third quarter, LSU took over at its 43 and drove 57 yards in 10 plays for another rushing touchdown. Alfred Blue finished off the five with a 4-yard score to push the Tigers advantage to 42-3 with 2:36 left in the quarter. The Tigers tacked on another score after a 15-play, 68-yard drive which took 8:20 off the clock. Mettenberger connected with Kadron Boone for a 19-yard touchdown, the first in each of the Tigers’ short careers. Attendance for the home opener was 92,405.]]]]> ]]>

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