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|Sluggish LSU extends record to 7-0|
BATON ROUGE -- The Golden Band from Tigerland added the rap hit "All I Do Is Win" to the Tiger Stadium repertoire on Saturday night, which was fitting for the still-undefeated and ninth-ranked LSU football team.
Though not an instant classic, the Tigers' improved to 7-0 for the first time since 1973 with a 32-10 victory over McNeese State. As a result, LSU setup a Top-10 matchup with the now No. 7-ranked Auburn Tigers next weekend on The Plains (2:30 p.m. CT, CBS).
On a day when No. 1 Ohio State, No. 5 Nebraska and No. 10 South Carolina each lost, all the homestanding Tigers did was win -- again. Auburn did too, to the tune of 65-43 at home over Arkansas.
Head coach Les Miles improved to 26-1 in non-conference games at LSU and 42-4 at night -- though this night was a bit longer than Miles hoped.
LSU (7-0, 4-0 SEC) overcame two first-half turnovers that led the all of the Cowboys' points, while using a conservative offensive attack to grind out a victory over the Football Championship Subdivision school. McNeese State fell to 2-4.
LSU runningbacks Stevan Ridley and Michael Ford each scored twice, the first time multiple Tigers have scored multiple touchdowns rushing since 2007 (vs. Tulane). The two-touchdown effort was also the first for both Tigers, as Ford led the way with 86 yards and Ridley added 46 after playing into the third quarter. Spencer Ware and Russell Shepard added 31 and 25 yards, respectively. LSU ran 41 times for 179 yards.
Quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson continued to share time, with Lee coming off the bench to complete 9-of-14 passes for 75 yards. Jefferson was 5-of-8 for 28 yards and was sacked twice. LSU attempted only seven passes in the second half.
Shepard led the Tigers receivers with career-bests of seven catches for 53 yards. Terrence Toliver added two catches for 27 yards.
For McNeese State, starting quarterback Cody Stroud was 15-of-32 passing for 118 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Andre Anderson led the Cowboys on the ground with 79 yards on 23 carries.
LSU linebacker Kelvin Sheppard had a game-high 10 tackles and recovered a fumble that he forced. Fellow linebacker Ryan Baker added nine tackles including two sacks.
McNeese State won the toss and deferred to the second half, choosing to kickoff to LSU.
LSU entered Cowboys territory on a 15-yard pass from Jefferson to Shepard. However, a bad pitch from Jefferson to Ford put the Tigers behind the chains and forced a punt.
McNeese advanced near midfield on the ensuing drive and faked a punt on fourth-and-1 from its 41 to gain two yards and a first down. On third-and-8 from, Stroud escaped a collapsing pocket but was stopped at the 50 by LSU defensive end Kendrick Adams.
McNeese downed its punt at the LSU 13, and LSU had its back to the goalline after a 10-yard sack of Jefferson on second-and-2. With five receivers and an empty backfield on third-and-12, Jefferson sacked from his blind side and jarred from the ball by Cowboys safety Jace Paterson. Geremy Pilate jumped on the loose ball at the LSU 5.
With LSU rushing only four, a third-down pass from Stroud to wide receiver Damion Dixon was caught across the middle of the endzone for a 3-yard touchdown. McNeese State led 7-0 with 3:23 left in the opening quarter.
It took LSU only 2:31 to answer the score and tie the game with a 2-yard fourth-down run by Ridley.
LSU's Patrick Peterson stepped up to the 15-yard line to field the short kickoff, and the All-America candidate darted 45 yards along the left sideline to put the Tigers inside Cowboys territory at the 40. Lee entered at quarterback for the first time, as a pass interference penalty by McNeese against Toliver and a one-handed 11-yard grab by the 6-foot-5 LSU wide receiver gave the Tigers first down at the 13.On fourth-and-goal from the 2, Ridley took the handoff from Lee and scored. Josh Jasper's extra point tied the game with 44 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Tigers defense blitzed to force a quick three-and-out, but the Cowboys punt was so short that it hit Ware and was picked up by McNeese State's Ford Smesny at the LSU 41.
Stroud again broke free from the pocket and gained 22 yards on third-and-2 from the LSU 33. On third-and-5 from the 6, McNeese sent four receivers into LSU's coverage, but Stroud's pass was behind the receiver near the goalline. A 23-yard field goal by Josh Lewis gave the Cowboys a 10-7 lead with 11:26 left in the half.
Once again, the LSU offense answered the score quickly, as Ridley took the handoff from Lee and scored his second touchdown of the game from the 10. On the drive, Lee completed 4-of-5 passes for 36 yards including an 18-yard pass to Shepard to the McNeese State 11. LSU led 14-10 with 9:47 to play in the first half.
Another quick three-and-out forced by the LSU defense culminated with a 7-yard sack by Baker and forced a punt.
With Jefferson at quarterback, LSU wasn't able to gain a first down. However, Derek Helton's punt was fielded by Ron Brooks at the McNeese State 3. On first down, LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis stuffed McNeese tailback Andre Anderson in the endzone for a safety and a 16-10 lead.
Peterson returned the free kick to the Cowboys' 47, where Lee and the Tigers weren't able to gain a first down conventionally, so they improvised. Jasper, LSU's short-distance punter, took the deep snap and waited as the teams ran away from him toward the south endzone. After holding the ball for several seconds, Jasper took off running and picked up 11 yards for a first down at the 34.
The fake was Jasper's second in as many weeks, as he picked up a key first down on a fake field goal during LSU's game-winning drive at No. 14 Florida.
LSU advanced to the McNeese State 10 but was flagged for an penalty after picking up the first down. on fourth-and-6 with 1:09 left in the half, Jasper pushed his 32-yard field goal to the right.
LSU led 16-10 at halftime.
A 34-yard zig-zagging punt return by Peterson again put the Tigers on McNeese State's side of the field to start the second half. From the 49, Jefferson pitched to Ford for an 11-yard gain. The Tigers went to further than the 37 and Jasper punted into the endzone.
McNeese went nowhere on offense and punted out-of-bounds at the LSU 47. A 13-yard run by Shepard and a 16-yard pass from Lee to Toliver moved LSU to the Cowboys 24. Ridley and Ford traded carries until Ford scored from the 6. Jasper missed the first PAT of his career, and LSU led 22-10 with 6:12 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter with the Cowboys driving, Sheppard pulled the ball from Anderson's hands at the LSU 39 and ran for a touchdown. Video replays showed Sheppard had a knee on the ground and the touchdown was called back.
Later in the Tigers drive, a 43-yard pass from Lee to Shepard on third-and-10 was called back by an illegal man downfield penalty on LSU center P.J. Lonergan, though replays indicate he was no more than two yards past the line of scrimmage.
on the next play, Stroud was intercepted by LSU cornerback Morris Claibourne who ran to the McNeese State 31. The Tigers gained a first down to the 14 but had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Jasper to lead 25-10 with 9:32 to play.
LSU pulled many of its starters on both sides of the ball the rest of the way, and Ford dashed 36 yards for a touchdown with 1:12 left to play.
A crowd of 92,576 was announced for the non-conference game.
(Report courtesy lsusports.net)