No. 2 Tigers Win SEC West, Beat Bulldogs, 58-10
BATON ROUGE — LSU took a much needed break from play in the rigorous and strenuous Southeastern Conference Saturday by walloping in-state foe Louisiana Tech, 58-10, on Homecoming in Tiger Stadium.
Led by a rushing 321-yard rushing attack that featured runs of 87 and 53 yards, the LSU offense piled up 595 total yards while holding the outmanned and outgunned Bulldogs to 256.
The win improved LSU’s overall record to 9-1 and likely earned the Tigers the No.1 ranking in the country after an earlier 28-21 loss to Illinois by previously first-ranked and unbeaten Ohio State.
The Tigers also discovered they had clenched the SEC Western Division Championship after Alabama lost to Mississippi State and Auburn was defeated handily by Georgia earlier in the day. With two league games remaining, the Tigers can fall no further than a tie for the West title, and won head-to-head with both the Tide and Plainsmen.
The loss dropped the Bulldogs’ overall record to 4-6 in advance of a key Western Athletic Conference showdown next Saturday against San Jose State.
LSU took an early 10-0 lead thanks to a fumble by Louisiana Tech quarterback Zac Champion on the game’s second play and a bad snap on a punt attempt on the second Bulldog possession. Louisiana Tech was able to cut the lead to 10-7 early in the second quarter after Tiger quarterback Matt Flynn tossed one of two first half interceptions.
But, that was the only whiff of an upset the Bulldogs had as LSU reeled off 34 unanswered points before Tech added a field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Jacob Hester headed the list of eight Tiger players to gain positive rushing yards by finishing with 115 yards on 11 carries including a career-long 87-yard, third quarter scamper that tied the fifth-longest touchdown run in LSU history.
Flynn made up for the two first-half interceptions by completing 14-of-26 for 237 yards and three touchdowns before giving way to Ryan Perrilloux in the fourth quarter who had a touchdown throw of his own.
Champion completed 20-of-39 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown.
Tiger defensive end Tyson Jackson and linebacker Ali Highsmith both jumped on top of Champion’s snap fumble at Louisiana Tech 24, giving LSU the chance to take the lead before the fans ahd a chance to settle in their seats.
Two plays later, LSU receiver Terrance Tolliver carried an end around past the Tech defense to the 1-yard line. Three plays after that, Flynn plunged into the north endzone giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 12:51 to play in the first quarter and capping a 1:39 drive.
Louisiana Tech responded by driving the ball to the LSU 31 before stalling thanks to errant passes. A fake field goal attempt was then thwarted by the Tiger special teams and LSU took over at its 29.
LSU drove the ball just across midfield on the next possession but failed to advance any further and punted. The Bulldogs tried to punt four plays after that at their 20, but deep snapper Thomas Graham somehow launched the snap directly into his upper thigh and LSU recovered another fumble deep in Tech territory.
Colt David extended the LSU lead to 10-0 on a 31-yard field goal with 3:35 to play in the quarter after the Tigers failed to pick up a first down.
Louisiana Tech’s next drive stalled near the LSU 30-yard line again. LSU took its turn to turn the ball over five plays later when Flynn tired to squeeze a pass between defenders to Tolliver. Instead of landing in Tolliver’s arms, Bulldog defensive back Deon Young hit the turf with the ball at the Louisiana Tech 48.
Two plays and just 15 seconds later, Champion connected with Brian Jackson on a 37-yard touchdown pass that cut the LSU lead to 10-7 with 13:14 to play in the first half.
LSU responded by driving the ball 39 yards in the next plays to the Tech 27 yard line. But, Flynn was hurried into an incompletion by the Bulldog blitz on third down and David entered the game for his second field goal. This time, he booted the ball true from 44-yards out to give LSU a 13-7 lead with 10:40 to play in the half.
The Tigers extended that lead to 20-7 on their next possession when Flynn spotted Terrance Tolliver in single coverage streaking along west sideline and hit him in stride for a 71-yard touchdown strike. The catch and sprint ended a blink-of-an-eye short, three-play drive that consumed just 1:04.
Tolliver finished with three catches for a game-high 119 yards.
LSU extended the lead further with just 56 seconds remaining the half thanks to three passes from Flynn to Brandon LaFell and a bonus 15 yards on a late hit penalty against the Bulldogs. The Tigers claimed possession at their 25 yard line with 1:42 to play in the half before LaFell reeled in passes of nine, 17 and 37 yards on the next three plays to swell the Tiger lead to 27-7 on just a 46 second drive.
The Bulldogs appeared poised to cut into that lead after Phillip Livas returned the ensuing kickoff 76 yards to the Tiger 19. But, after a 12-yard pass gave his team a 1st-and-goal at the 7, Champion launched an ill-advised pass into the corner of the endzone that was picked off by LSU defensive back Jonathan Zenon, ending the scoring threat.
David padded the lead by three more when he capped a nine-play, 2:42 drive to open the second half with a 28-yard field goal making the Tiger lead 30-7.
The lead swelled again on LSU’s next possession as the usual sledge-hammer Hester displayed some break-away speed. He took a straight dive handoff on 3rd-and-2 at the LSU 13 and raced through the Louisiana Tech defense all the way to the south endzone. The run extended the lead to 37-7 after a 94-yard, 59-second drive.
LSU’s defense set up the next score when middle linebacker Luke Sanders tipped a Champion pass in the air near midfield, giving fellow linebacker Jacob Cutrera the chance to run under and intercept the pass.
The Tigers took over at the Bulldog 39 and needed just three plays and 49 seconds to make the score 44-7. Flynn connected with tight end Richard Dickson standing wide open for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 8:02 remaining in the third quarter.
Wholesale substitutions followed the score as LSU played backups at every position on defense. Louisiana Tech responded by driving the ball to the LSU 22-yard line on an 11-play drive that ended with a 38-yard field goal by Danny Horwedel to run the score to 44-10 with 13:09 remaining in the game.
But, the little bit of consolation granted Louisiana Tech by the field goal fleeted quickly as the Tigers marched down the field 72 yards in the next 3:29 to extend the lead to 51-10 with 9:20 to play. Trindon Holliday raced into the endzone from the 15-yard line to cap the drive and further empty the stands.
The lead was padded further when Perrilloux connected with tight end Mit Cole in the back of the north endzone for a two-yard touchdown pass with 4:39 to play in the game to extend the lead to 58-10.
LSU vs. Louisiana Tech
Nov. 10, 2007 ? Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)
1. LSU’s game captains were 19 Jonathan Zenon, 27 Curtis Taylor, 35 Luke Sanders and 89 Keith Zinger.
2. Louisiana Tech won the toss and received the opening kickoff. LSU received the second half kickoff.
3. Tigers extending their consecutive starts streak today were: CB Chevis Jackson (36), LB Ali Highsmith (24), LT Ciron Black (23), CB Jonathan Zenon (23), LG Herman Johnson (20) and DT Glenn Dorsey (18).
4. First-time starters for LSU in today’s game: DT Drake Nevis.
5. The 2007 Homecoming King is David Hunter Hartwig, a senior from Katy, Texas. The 2007 Homecoming Queen is Sydney Brown, a senior from Park City, Utah.
6. LSU’s 71-yard touchdown from QB Matt Flynn to WR Terrance Toliver in the second quarter was the longest passing touchdown for the Tigers since the 75-yard touchdown pass from QB Marcus Randall to WR Devery Henderson on Nov. 9, 2002 at Kentucky (also know as the Bluegrass Miracle). It was also the longest pass play (touchdown or non-touchdown) since the Bluegrass Miracle.
7. Defensively, LSU has held nine of 10 opponents scoreless on the opening drive of the second half. Florida was the only team this season to score in its first possession of the second half against the Tigers.
8. Jacob Hester‘s 87 run with 11:15 left in the third quarter was the longest run from scrimmage for LSU since Justin Vincent had an 87-yard run against Georgia in the 2003 SEC Championship game. Hester’s run is tied for the 5th longest rush for a TD in school history.
9. LSU extended its November winning streak to 17 games with the victory. The Tigers have not lost in the month of November since losing to Arkansas, 21-20, on Nov. 29, 2002 in Little Rock, Ark.
10. LSU extended several streaks tonight with the win: The Tigers won their 19th straight home game, which is the longest streak in school history … LSU has won 26 straight Saturday night home game.
11. With the victory tonight, LSU improved to 55-25-3 in homecoming games, including seven straight wins.
12. LSU’s 321 rushing yards tonight are a season high and the most by the team since racking up 360 yards versus Ole Miss on Nov. 20, 2004.
13. LSU has outscored Louisiana Tech, 616-49, in the all-time series now.
14. LSU’s 58 points tonight are the most by the team since posting 59 points in a 59-13 win at Arizona on Sept. 6, 2003.
15. The 58-10 win is the largest margin of victory by LSU over an in-state opponent since blanking UL-Lafayette, 48-0, on Oct. 5, 2002.
16. Tonight’s attendance of 92,512 is the sixth largest crowd in Tigers Stadium history.
17. As a result of Auburn’s loss to Georgia and Alabama’s loss to Mississippi State, LSU has clinched at least a share of the SEC Western Division title. As a result of the league’s tiebreaker, the Tigers will represent the Western Division in the SEC Championship Game.
18. LB Ali Highsmith‘s fumble recovery in the first half was the third of his career and the first of his season.
19. QB Matt Flynn scored his second rushing touchdown of the season and the third of his career on a 1-yard run with 12:33 left in the first half.
a. Flynn tossed three touchdown passes tonight (his 12th, 13th and 14th of the season and the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of his career. His three TD passes came on a 71-yard pass to WR Terrance Toliver with 8:12 left in the second quarter, a 37-yard pass to WR Brandon LaFell with 0:56 left in the second quarter and a 14-yard pass to TE Richard Dickson with 8:02 left in the third quarter.
b. Flynn has now tossed three touchdown is a game for the fourth time in his career and the third time this season. He has now tossed three TDs in three straight games.
20. With first quarter tackles, LB Ali Highsmith extended his streak to 36 straight games with a tackle, DT Glenn Dorsey extended his streak to 26 straight games, S Craig Steltz extended his streak to 20 straight games. A second quarter tackles by CB Chevis Jackson and CB Jonathan Zenon extended their streaks to 20 straight games with a tackle.
21. PK Colt David‘s seven successful extra points kicked in tonight’s game extended his consecutive PAT streak to 57, the fourth longest streak in LSU history.
a. David kicked a 31-yard field goal with 3:35 left in the first quarter, a 44-yard field goal with 10:40 left in the second quarter and a 28-yard field goal with 12:17 left in the third quarter. The successful kicks were the 29th, 30th and 31st of his career and the 17th, 18th and 19th of the season.
b. David’s third FG of the game, his 19th of the season, tied him for the LSU single-season record with David Browndyke’s 19 FGs in 1988.
c. David’s 16 points tonight give the senior kicker 111 points this season, moving him into second-place on LSU’s single-season points.
22. WR Terrance Toliver pulled down his third touchdown pass of his career and the season with a 71-yard catch and run with 8:12 left in the second quarter.
a. Toliver’s 119 receiving yards are a career-high for the freshman.
23. WR Brandon LaFell scored his second receiving touchdown of the season and the fourth of his career on a 37-yard pass from QB Matt Flynn with 0:56 left in the second quarter.
24. CB Jonathan Zenon picked off a pass deep in the end zone late in the second quarter for his second interception of the season and the eighth of his career.
a. Zenon recovered a fumble in the third quarter, his second of the season and his career.
25. RB Jacob Hester scored a touchdown of an 87-yard run with 10:15 left in the third quarter. The rushing TD was his eighth of the season and the 16th of his career.
a. Hester’s 115 rushing yards are a career-high for the senior RB. It also marks his second 100-yard rushing game of his career. His previous high was 106 yards against Florida earlier this season. Hester’s 100-yard rushing game was the third by an LSU running back this season
26. LB Jacob Cutrera‘s interception in the third quarter was the first of his career.
27. TE Richard Dickson pulled down his third receiving touchdown of his career and the season with a 14-yard pass from QB Matt Flynn with 8:02 left in the third quarter.
28. RB Richard Murphy‘s 53-yard run in the fourth quarter was a career-long run.
a. Murphy finished with a career-high 62 yards rushing.
29. WR/RB Trindon Holliday scored his second rushing touchdown of this season and the third of his career on a 15-yard run with 9:20 left in the fourth quarter.
30. QB Ryan Perrilloux threw his seventh career touchdown pass on a 2-yard toss to Mit Cole with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter.
31. TE Mit Cole hauled in his first career TD pass on a 2-yard pass from Ryan Perrilloux with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter.
LSU vs. Louisiana Tech Quotes
November 10, 2007
LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES QUOTES
“We enjoyed the victory. Certainly I credit our opponent. I felt like they came in and gambled some and did the things they needed to do. Anytime you play that style of defense and you break plays, they break for long ones. That is kind of what happened in the second half. We rushed the ball well. We hit some good passes. Defensively, they (Louisiana Tech) made some plays early on to score some points. The defense played better in the second half, the style that we expect. Special teams gave up a couple of long returns and it is something that we will look at and scrutinize. It seemed like a pretty easy return against us, they just hit a nice seam. All in all, we got a number of guys off the field early and got the victory. We now look forward to the remainder of our schedule.”
On winning the SEC West…
“I am told with the losses of Alabama and Auburn today that we are the SEC Western Division representative. I enjoy that. That is an accomplishment to this team and something we should certainly be grateful for and a job well done. We enjoyed that for a moment and now we look forward to playing our remaining two regular-season opponents.”
LSU OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
TE Richard Dickson
On the game …
“We really did what we needed to do. We needed to come out and get a big win. We played so many close games the last couple of weeks. We can’t continue to play games like that.”
“We started out a little slow, but we ended up doing what we needed to do and put 58 points on the board.”
On the team’s confidence …
“We could have the best offense in the country. We just don’t come out and click every night. Tonight, especially in the second half, we were running on all cylinders. The confidence will help us in the next two SEC games.”
On clinching the SEC West …
“That’s a great honor. But we still have to go to the SEC Championship and win. Hopefully we can win out, and if the cards fall right, we’ll play in the big game.”
RB Jacob Hester
On his long TD run …
“That was my longest run since I ran a 96 yard touchdown against Captain Shreve High School during my freshman year of high school.”
On the hole the offensive line created …
“There aren’t too many holes like that between tackles.”
On when he knew he had the TD …
“When I got to the 40 yard line, I thought that I should turn on the jets. I thought that I might have a chance to score at that point.”
QB Matt Flynn
On Terrance Toliver …
“He’s really coming around. He’s at that point where he’s really not a freshman anymore. Every time he touches the ball, he has a chance to make a big play.”
On clinching the SEC West …
“It feels nice. We are going to the SEC Championship. That’s a good goal that we have accomplished. But there is a lot of football left to play.”
LSU RB JACOB HESTER QUOTES
On the victory…
“We came out and really played football. The defense played great as they always do. In the second half, we really made a statement. We came out and put a lot of points on the board. We really needed a game like this.”
On the 87-yard touchdown run…
“When I saw a hole that big between the tackles, I knew I had to hit a second gear. It’s fun to have a run like that in my career.”
On staying focus against Ole Miss…
“Ole Miss plays us tough every year no matter what the records are. We know we have a tough game with them and another tough game against Arkansas. We still have a long way to go before we can start thinking of a possible National Championship or even the SEC Championship.”
LSU DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
On their performance in the second half…
“We started off a little slow. We talked things over at halftime and made some adjustments. We came out big in the second half.”
On the performance of the defense tonight…
“Everyone is hungry for the ball. Everyone wants to get to the ball, and no one takes plays off. It’s just all-around good defense. They fire off every play.”
LSU SPECIAL TEAM QUOTES
PK Colt David
On winning the SEC West Title…
“It’s a big honor, but we can’t stop there. We have to keep pushing and take it game-by-game. Whatever happens, happens.”
On setting the single-season field goal record for LSU tonight…
“I have to thank the team for putting me there. It’s really nothing I did. Everything just fell into the right place.”
On getting ready for Ole Miss…
“We have to be prepared and can’t take advantage of our position, because we have been there before. We have to go there and play hard.”
LOUISIANA TECH HEAD COACH DEREK DOOLEY QUOTES
“Let me start by saying LSU is an outstanding football team. I’m sure they have the best chance of anybody to win the rest of (their games). I’ll be shocked if they are not the national champions at the end of the year. They are doing a great job coaching. They have a lot of good football players, and they put it to us tonight. I’m very disappointed in how we played, especially the second half. I’d like to say we should hold our heads up high because that was a great football team, but we made too many mistakes. We didn’t tackle very well and didn’t get any movement up front to run the ball, so there’s not a whole lot of good that comes out of it.”
On if LSU should have just run the ball late in the game …
“They are just running their offense. That doesn’t bother me a bit. What bothers me is how we’re playing. I don’t care what they run or throw. They are just running their offense. They put their backup guys in and let them manage the offense, and they need work too. We’ve got to cover the guy, and we’ve got to tackle.”
On LSU getting out to a 10-0 lead …
“We spotted them 10 (points). We went out their and fumbled a snap, which is ridiculous. It has nothing to do with who you are playing. We could have played the Dallas Cowboys, and we shouldn’t fumble a snap. Then we go out there and punt, and the snapper messed up. He got out there in Tiger Stadium, he got nervous and screwed up. Again, we could have played the greatest all-pro team of all time, and that shouldn’t happen. But we spot them 10. Then we come back and score, put together a good drive, and we are kind of clawing our way and it’s 13-7. Then they (LSU) hit a big play. We really can’t match up with those guys in space, so if you give the quarterback time back there, you can’t hold up in the back end. We didn’t get any pressure. They had a lot of time to throw it, and they launched one on us.
“The real disappointment is we pop a punt return to the plus 45 (yard line) right before the half, and I’m feeling like we can get some points and go in at half down 10 or so. We get a penalty. Then we give it up two minutes before the half. That was it.”
Louisiana Tech Offensive Player Quotes
QB ZAC CHAMPION
On if he thinks the team can take anything positive away from the game…
“When you get beat 58-10, it’s tough to find any positives. We just didn’t do what we needed to do. I felt good about things and thought we were moving the ball well. We would have little slumps, but we would come out of them. I can’t find any positives in this game.”
On where the team goes from here…
“We’ve got two big WAC games, one at home against Nevada. We have a big season left with two more big games and it’s important to get a win in both of those.”
On if the timing of the game hurts their season…
“You can’t worry about it. Every game is a football game, their players are still players. Yeah, they’re number two in the country, but you’ve just got to go out there and play. I’m disappointed. We just didn’t give ourselves a chance to win at all and they played well. They’re a heck of a team, obviously, and you can’t do anything about it when you don’t play well.”
On if the LSU defense is the best he has ever faced…
“I don’t know. It’s hard to say. They’re very talented. They’re probably the best up front. They’re a good team, but I don’t know. We played Clemson when they were really good and Nebraska, but [LSU] is a good team, no doubt.”
On the TD pass to WR Brian Jackson…
“That was a big play. Brian made a big time catch. We hit him on that play twice before that. He made a good catch, the linebacker sank down. It was big time. On the first interception, I thought we were going to score. [WR Phillip Livas] is usually a sure-handed guy, but he just didn’t catch that one. You’ve just got to keep fighting. That’s all you can do. They pulled away right there. They’re a good team ? if they smell blood, they come after you.”
LOUISIANA TECH DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
FS Antonio Baker
On La Tech’s early on defense in the game…
“Early on our defense was good. We were pretty solid on defense. We need to execute the scheme and not give up the big plays.”
On LSU running up the score…
“I noticed that they were trying to be insulting and run-up the score on us. I didn’t pay any attention to that. I went out there and played hard every snap. A team is supposed to go out there and play has hard as they can. We went out there too and played hard nose to the end.”
On bouncing back from this lost…
“Overall, we need to regroup and get back on the drawing board. We need to come back hard on Monday.”
On if LSU is the best team La Tech has ever played…
“Overall, LSU is a good team. We have played a lot of good teams but overall LSU is a good team. I give them (LSU) credit for their National ranking.”