Monday Morning Quarterback

TSD recaps the weekend's 27-3 SEC win over Vanderbilt.

Quarter One:

LSU 0, Vanderbilt 0

17 plays on offense

11 plays on defense

With three touches on the ground and six passes through the air, LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton tried to get quarterback Jordan Jefferson warmed up. The junior hit on 50-percent of the throws for gains of 17, 10 and 10. Jefferson didn’t complete a pass until the fourth drive of the game, where he hit on all three of his completions in the first quarter.

Defensively the Tigers started fast, giving up just one first down on three Vanderbilt possessions.


Quarter Two:

LSU 10, Vanderbilt 0

21 plays on offense

15 plays on defense

Things got worse for Jordan Jefferson this time around, going 0-for-6 through the air. In turn, Crowton turned to the ground game for 15 of the quarter’s 21 snaps. The biggest play came from Russell Shepard, who gave LSU their first lead of the game on a 30-yard touchdown run less than a minute into the quarter. The field goal came after a bad punt by the Commodores that handed LSU the ball at the Vanderbilt 33-yard line. After three rushes resulted in 11 yards, Jefferson tossed incompletions on first and third down - leading to the three points from kicker Josh Jasper.

Once again the Tiger defense allowed just one first down, this time on four Vanderbilt possessions. Senior defensive tackle Drake Nevis began to really assert his authority, finishing the quarter with four stops, three for a combined loss of 19 yards.


Quarter Three:

LSU 10, Vanderbilt 3

18 plays on offense

11 plays on defense

After Vanderbilt scored three points to open the half, LSU answered with a pair of third-down conversions that moved the ball into opposing territory. On first down from the 37-yard line, Jefferson found Spencer Ware on a fullback wheel route for a gain of 24. Then the drive stalled. Right guard Josh Williford - making his first career start - was flagged for delay of game, which pushed the ball back to the 10-yard line. In an attempt to go one-on-one with a smaller cornerback, Jefferson went to Terrance Toliver in the corner of the endzone. The ball was well underthrown, and Casey Hayward had no problem making the easy interception.

Defensively, the only points came on a field goal after running back Warren Norman busted a 51-yard run to put the Commodores in the red-zone for the first time all game. The ball was placed at the seven-yard line after safety Craig Loston was waved for a personal foul on the takedown, but Nevis came up with a sack on third down that forced Vanderbilt to settle for the kick.


Quarter Four:

LSU 27, Vanderbilt 3

15 plays on offense

11 plays on defense

With the ball on the Vanderbilt 40-yard line, LSU went to the ground four straight times to start the quarter. When Ridley couldn’t move the chains on 3rd-and-3 from inside the 10, Jasper stepped in to net his second field goal of the game. The Commodores fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Tigers rushed the ball four times in a row, once more. This time freshman Alfred Blue took the third down carry, which he took in for the first touchdown of his career. Stevan Ridley capped the night off with a 65-yard touchdown run with five minutes to play.

For the third time in the game, the Tiger defense was on the field for only 11 snaps in the quarter. For the game the unit allowed just 65 yards on the ground and 70 yards through the air.


When it was official:

Following a field goal by Jasper that pushed the lead to double digits, special teams ace Daniel Graff got his hand in on Warren Norman, causing a fumble that gave LSU possession deep in Vanderbilt territory. Four rushes later the Tigers were in the endzone and up 20-3.


Thumbs Up:

LSU Defense

Defensive coordinator John Chavis asked his secondary to step up after they allowed 400-plus yards through the air in week one. They answered by holding Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith to 8-of-15 passing for 70 yards. Susceptible to the big play via the air attack against North Carolina, the longest play Smith managed through the air was for 22 yards. Though without an interception, the unit recorded six sacks.

Faced with stopping a pair of talented runners in Zach Stacy and Warren Norman, the defensive front held the Commodores attack to 65 yards on 32 attempts. While Warren finished the game with 71 yards rushing, 51 of those came on one play in the third quarter.


Needs Improvement:

Jordan Jefferson

Any way you want to slice the stat sheet and game film, starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson had a flat-out bad outing. He was 8-for-20 passing for 90 yards, and his third-quarter interception in the endzone gave Vanderbilt breathing room right when the Tigers looked to put the game away.

After the game Miles said that he would look closely at the quarterback situation, meaning that Jarrett Lee could see snaps if Jefferson continues


Stat of the Week:


The Tigers have allowed an average of 1.37 yards a rush through two games this season, good for fourth-best in the country.


Welcome the Youth:

Les Miles said that as many as five running back names could get touches in week one, but what resulted was snaps to only veterans Stevan Ridley and Richard Murphy.

In week two, true freshmen Alfred Blue and Spencer Ware picked up the first touches of their time in Baton Rouge and combined for six rushes for 31 yards and a touchdown. Ware, who also worked at fullback, pulled in a 24-yard catch on a wheel route on the opening drive of the second half.

In the first action of his career, redshirt freshman Michael Ford carried the ball three times – all on the final drive of the game – for gains of 5, 9 and 2 yards.


New Starters:

Linebacker Ryan Baker, safety Craig Loston and right guard Josh Williford all made the first starts of their career.

Baker, back from a broken jaw that sidelined him in week one, was everywhere for the Tiger defense, finishing with six stops, three for losses, and one sack.

Loston started over Jai Eugene at safety and came up with two stops, while Williford helped the offensive line to pave the way for 280 yards on 50 rushes.


Back to the Lineup:

Outside of Baker (broken jaw), safety Karnell Hatcher (knee) and wide receiver Chris Tolliver (concussion) came back to the field after they missed the back end of the preseason as well as the North Carolina game. Hatcher subbed in behind Loston at safety, while Tolliver immediately filled in as the fourth receiver behind Russell Shepard.


In and Out:

Left guard Josh Dworaczyk was temporarily sidelined for T-Bob Hebert in the first half, but Dworaczyk was able to go again on the back end. Miles said that Dworaczyk was sick to his stomach – something the line experienced last season against Georgia.


Game Ball:

While the defense was strong across the board, this week’s honor goes to running back Stevan Ridley.

In a chance at redemption from a two-fumble week against North Carolina, Ridley carried the ball 17 times for 159 yards and a touchdown. The score came on a 65-yard run that pushed the score to 27-3 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

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