Defense Dominant, Offense Balanced in 41-3 Win
by Todd Politz, Director of Digital Media
BATON ROUGE -- Third-ranked LSU (2-0) held Washington (1-1)
to 26 yards rushing and shook off a fumble on the opening kickoff to
thoroughly dominate the Huskies, 41-3, on Saturday night at Tiger
Washington's field goal less than a minute into the game came after Odell Beckham Jr.'s fumble at the LSU 20 to start the game.
But the Huskies' lead was short-lived, as the Tigers grabbed the lead
less than three minutes later and never looked back, tying the NCAA
Football Bowl Subdivision record with 39-straight non-conference wins
in the regular season. The win was also tied the school record of
19-straight victories in Tiger Stadium.
Running back Alfred Blue eclipsed 100 yards for the second-straight
game, as the junior led the way for the Tigers with 101 yards on 14
carries and the 21-yard touchdown run that gave LSU the lead.
"Everyone knows that when you go into Tiger Stadium, LSU is going to
play dominant," Blue said. "Michael Ford and Spencer Ware played
dominant. When their number's called, they see the opportunity at hand
and see the moves."
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger was again efficient, completing 12-of-18
passes for 195 yards with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Kadron Boone in
the third quarter. Wide receiver James Wright had a team highs of 75
yards and five catches. Beckham Jr. finished with 40 yards on two
catches despite the fumble and uncharacteristic dropped passes early in
"I was definitely more comfortable this week and getting used to
playing the game again," Mettenberger said. "We still made some
mistakes out there that we have to iron out. We just have to get better
for next week. If we can keep improving every game, we'll be a pretty
good football team."
The Huskies suffered four sacks for minus-28 yards and netted 26 yards
rushing on 24 attempts. LSU outgained Washington, 437-183, including a
242-26 advantage on the ground.
Washington quarterback Keith Price was 17-of-36 passing for 157 yards
and an interception by LSU freshman cornerback Jalen Mills. Along with
the four sacks, Price was hurried seven times and had seven passes
broken up. His favorite targets were tight end Austin Seferain-Jenkins
(six catches, 51 yards) and wide receiver Kevin Smith (four catches, 48
Erich Wilson had a team-high 25 rushing yards on four carries. Starting
running back Bishop Sankey was limited to 16 yards on eight touches.
"It's pretty clear from the naked eye that's a pretty good football
team that got after us tonight," Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian
said. "We had a couple opportunities early in the game that maybe could
have changed the complexion of it. It was great getting the turnover
right off the start on the kickoff. We had a couple plays on second and
third downs where we just couldn't quite execute. We just weren't able
to execute against a team like this. When you play an elite team in the
country, you have to execute well."
Washington won the coin toss but deferred to the second half, as the Huskies kicked with a northern breeze to start the game.
Beckham Jr.'s decision to return the opening kickoff three yards into
the south endzone was the only mistake that cost the Tigers points. The
sophomore fumbled after a hit by Washington's Tax Stevenson along the
right sideline and Thomas Tutogi recovered at the LSU 20.
After a dropped pass by Sankey on second down that would have put the
Huskies in a goal-to-go situation, Price's pass to Jaydon Mickens was
bobbled in the endzone and Washington settled for a field goal. With
14:03 remaining in the opening quarter, Travis Coons' 34-yarder gave
Washington a 3-0 lead.
Another return by Beckham Jr. from his endzone netted 34 yards,
however, the wide receiver dropped two would-be-first-down catches and
Brad Wing was called upon to punt. Wing, who missed the opener with an
injury, hit a 62-yard, low line drive into a stiff breeze that landed
softly inside the Huskies 5 and rolled out of bounds at the 4.
The special-teams gem instantly turned the momentum in the Tigers'
favor. Washington punted after gaining only two yards, and LSU took
over at Washington's 38 after a 32-yard punt by Korey Durkee.
On the next play, Mettenberger found Wright slashing across the middle
for 17 yards to setup a 21-yard scamper by Blue around left-side blocks
by tackle Josh Dworaczyk and fullback J.C. Copeland. Drew Alleman's
point after touchdown gave LSU a 7-3 advantage that it would not
A quick three-and-out by Washington put the ball back in LSU's hands at
its 23. However, a chop block on sophomore offensive guard La'el
Collins put the Tigers in a first-and-25 that they couldn't overcome.
Wing's second punt of the evening bounded just short of the goal line
but wasn't able to be downed short of the endzone.
LSU's defense picked up its first sack of the season on third-and-5
when Lavar Edwards hit Price from behind for a 6-yard loss. Durkee's
punt off the side of his foot traveled only 18 yards and put the Tigers
in Huskies territory to start a drive for the second time.
From the 47, a defensive holding penalty added 10 yards to a Kenny
Hilliard 4-yard run for a first down at the 33. Two 8-yard Ford runs
and rushes of 7 and 8 yards by Spencer Ware setup Copeland's 1-yard
touchdown. LSU increased its advantage to 14-3 with 2:11 to play in the
Washington had one first down and 18 yards of total offense on 17 plays
in the first quarter. Things didn't get much better for the Huskies in
the next 15 minutes of the half.
A 23-yard pass from Mettenberger to Wright on the first play of the
second quarter pushed LSU into Washington territory again. After three
runs for 20 yards, Wright added a 22-yard catch to the 7-yard line.
However, two runs and a pass left LSU at the 1, and head coach Les
Miles elected to allow Alleman to kick an 18-yard field goal. The
Tigers led 17-3 with 10:02 left in the half.
With an 18-yard pass to Seferian-Jenkins on third-and-15, Price gave
Washington its second first down of the game. Three plays later, the
Huskies punted for the fifth-straight possession.
The Tigers added three more points on the ensuing drive, but could have
had a touchdown when Russell Shepard lost control of a pass from
Mettenberger in the endzone. Passes of 20 yards to Jarvis Landry and 14
yards to Blue put the Tigers at the Washington 30, and Blue's running
gave LSU another first down at the 15. But, the drive stalled and
Alleman came on for a 32-yard field goal.
The Tigers took a 20-3 lead into the lockerroom.
LSU scored on its first drive of the third quarter, a 3-yard run by
Hilliard setup by a 24-yard reception by Beckham Jr. With 10:35 left in
the third, LSU led 27-3.
Of LSU's 26 plays in the final 27 minutes, the Tigers threw three
passes: an incomplete pass to Landry, a 32-yard touchdown grab by Boone
who had gotten behind his defender, and a 10-yard first-down catch by
Wright early in the fourth quarter.
Hilliard added a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:04 to play for his fifth-career multi-touchdown game.
LSU returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 15, for a 7 p.m. pay-per-view broadcast against Idaho.
The announced crowd of 92,804 was the second-largest against a non-conference opponent in Tiger Stadium history.