Tigers tame Tucson

The optimism gained by Arizona's opening night win over UTEP quickly vanished as LSU stormed into Tucson and left with a 59-13 win. LSU scored on its first six possessions and was never threatened.

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It was Arizona's worst loss since a 54-0 shutout at Washington in 1991.

"We've got to look deep inside ourselves and bounce back," said Reggie Sampay. "We never hung our heads and gave up."

LSU had its way with Arizona on both sides of the ball. In addition to its offensive prowess, LSU stifled the UA defensively. Arizona did not gain a first down until its initial possession in the second quarter and didn't complete a pass until almost four minutes later.

Frankly, the Tigers were able to do what they wanted. Nic Costa got the start but did not complete a pass until the second series of the second half when he found Sean Jones on a quick out. He was rushed all night and never settled in. After last week's strong debut, he finished his second start 3-of-11 for 21 yards.

Ryan O'Hara was not much better. The redshirt freshman completed his first pass, but it was downhill from there. Like Costa, O'Hara faced a lot of pressure and was on the run for much of his time in the game. O'Hara was a paltry 7-of-20 for 70 yards and one interception.

LSU quarterbacks faced their fair share of pressure, but were still able to make big plays. Arizona's blitz packages did a nice job, but the big offensive line was able to establish the run against Arizona's thin defensive line. When Matt Mauk and Marcus Randall had time to throw they were on the mark. Respecting the speed of the LSU receivers, Arizona defensive backs gave them a big cushion. The SEC representative picked the secondary apart. Mauk was a stunning 8-for-9 for 124 yards before being relieved by Randall. Randall was 10-for-16.

LSU gained 182 yards on the ground.

"Hats off to them, they are a great team," said Biren Ealy.

The Arizona defense started strong, and got a good push on the initial two plays of the game, but an apparent missed call seemed to take some of the wind out of the unit's sails. On third and long Mauk found Michael Clayton on a crossing pattern, but it appeared the ball was knocked away by Darrell Brooks. The officials ruled it a catch, and from there LSU proceeded to march down the field, grinding out a 15-play, 6:25 drive. Joseph Addai capped the drive as he leaped over the pile and just got the ball over the goal line before being crushed by Joe Siofele.

The defense rebounded on the next possession, despite being put in bad position by the special teams. Shyrone Carey ran a punt back 35 yards to give the Tigers great field position at the 29. The Cats twice put pressure on Mauk and sacked him on third and two to force a 29-yard field goal by Ryan Gaudet.

Arizona gift-wrapped the next LSU possession when it turned the ball over at the nine-yard line. Costa failed to tuck the ball away and had it stripped by Lionel Turner. LSU recovered. Two-plays later Addai took an option pitch and strolled in for an eight-yard score.

Even when Arizona did do something right, it followed it up with a mistake. Thanks to a sack and a well-defended screen play, the Tigers faced third and 18. With the Cats' defensive backs giving a huge cushion, Mauk and Henderson connected on a 21-yard gain. After that the LSU line and its option attack paved the way for another LSU score and a 24-0 lead.

LSU took a 38-0 lead into the locker room at halftime and came out with the same success. It held Arizona to a three-and-out, then marched 38 yards en route to a 45-0 lead.

As clean as the Wildcats played last week, they were sloppy this week. They would make good plays only to shoot themselves in the foot with silly penalties and mistakes. They'd get good penetration, only to miss the tackle. A pair of sacks were nullified by personal fouls. The defense made a nice stop on fourth and goal, but did so with 12 players on the field. After committing just two penalties against UTEP, the Cats were flagged 11 times for 91 yards against the Tigers.

Arizona finally got on the scoreboard and it was a walk-on who set up the score. Justin Stewart forced a fumble and Zeonte Sherman pounced on the ball in the end zone to snap the shutout.

"It isn't all about individual goals," Sherman said. "We are a team and all successes and failures are as a team."

Skylar Green concluded LSU's scoring onslaught with a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown. Clarence Farmer touched paydirt for the Cats with 4:01 remaining to culminate the scoring. The outcome was the third-worst home loss in Arizona history.

The UA opens Pac-10 play next Saturday at home against Oregon.

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