It wasn't the prettiest of wins, and certainly it wasn't as easy as expected, but LSU came out of its game against McNeese State undefeated after a 32-10 triumph.
"I'd have to say that was much less than our best shot," coach Les Miles said after his Tigers went into the fourth quarter with only a 22-10 lead over the FCS foe. "I don't think we played with a lot of emotion.
"I don't know that I got them ready to play."
LSU's defense, however, kept things pretty much in control even though McNeese State went to the locker room down only 16-10 at the half.
The Tigers held the Cowboys to just 219 yards of total offense, including 118 through the air.
The Cowboys got their touchdown when LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson lost a fumble at his 5-yard line while getting sacked. A fumbled punt put McNeese State in position for its field goal.
The Tigers came into the game wanting to fine-tune their passing game, and they did not do that. They managed only 103 yards through the air and gave up three sacks. The Tigers did rush for 179 yards,
"I thought we ran it well and got some other guys into the game and ran it well with them," Miles said.
Perhaps part of the explanation for the lackluster showing was the Tigers were still celebrating their win the previous week at Florida. The other part is that a trip to unbeaten Auburn is coming up next. Both teams are 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the SEC's Western Division.
"I think our team will look forward to preparing for next week," Miles said. "I think you will see a 'want to play' in this next game that will represent us best."
--Senior RB Stevan Ridley rushed for two touchdowns against McNeese State, his first multi-touchdown game in his career. He has six rushing touchdowns for the season and nine in his career.
--CB Morris Claiborne is making teams pay for trying to avoid CB Patrick Peterson on the other side of the field. Claiborne had another interception Saturday, giving him an SEC-high four on the season.
--LSU registered its second safety of the season when DT Drake Nevis tackled RB Andre Anderson for a 3-yard loss in the end zone in the second quarter. It was the second safety Nevis has been responsible for in the last two years. He had one against Alabama in 2009. The Tigers also had a safety in the opening win over North Carolina.
GAME BALL GOES TO: RB Michael Ford -- A redshirt freshman who showed much promise in the spring, Ford may have had his breakthrough game. He rushed for 88 yards on 10 carries and scored two touchdowns, one on a 36-yard burst in the fourth quarter, in the win over McNeese State.
KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Russell Shepard -- Shepard has been quiet in the last couple of games but had seven catches for 53 yards -- both career highs -- against McNeese. He also ran the ball three times for 25 yards.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Our team is relatively healthy. There were some guys who got nicked, but I don't think there is anybody who will miss the next one." -- Coach Les Miles, looking ahead to the game at Auburn.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: LSU held McNeese State to just 101 yards rushing, getting a big game out of LB Kelvin Sheppard. Sheppard had 10 tackles and forced and recovered a fumble. LB Ryan Baker had two sacks. The Tigers rushed for 179 yards with TB Michael Ford leading the way with 86 yards. WR Russell Shepard had seven catches.
STILL NEEDS WORK: QBs Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson combined to go 14-of-22 passing, but the completions were good for only 103 yards. That's not a good sign with a trip to Auburn coming up. Can the LSU offense keep pace?
--Senior PK Josh Jasper, normally a sure thing on field-goal attempts and PATs, missed one of each wide right against McNeese. He was 12 of 14 on field goals entering the game and was 56 of 56 in his career on PATs. But he did convert a first down with an 11-yard run on a fake punt.
--LT Joseph Barksdale, considered questionable because of an ankle injury, started the game but hurt the ankle again and left.