It was, after all, just what the senior expected after three years of growth and an offseason of working hard to become better at his trade as a tight end.
“They just called some plays my way and I made some catches,” Peterson said after he grabbed four passes for 62 yards. “The thing I think I most improved on was my running after the catch. I did some stuff in the offseason to get better and worked hard on what I can do after the catch.”
With top receiver Rueben Randle slowed by a tender knee and Russell Shepard suspended for two more games by the NCAA, Peterson figures to be a key target for Jarrett Lee in the passing game in the short term.
Peterson would like to make sure he’s a key part of the game plan for the long haul as well.
“I have to be a big part right now because Russell isn’t playing right now and the young guys are gaining their experience,” Peterson said. “If the defense is going to double-team Rueben, somebody has to be ready to make big plays. I’m ready for that role, and Jarrett has a history of throwing to the tight ends, so we work real well together.”
Lee completed 10-of-22 passes against Oregon, but there were a handful of drops and missed opportunities, something Peterson said the receivers and tight ends have to shore up.
“I thought Jarrett did a really good job,” Peterson said. “We have to catch the ball better from him. He made good reads and stepped up in the pocket when he needed to and made good throws.”
There already seems to be good chemistry between Lee and Peterson. They paired up for two key connections against Oregon, one on a quick, hot read when Peterson caught the ball just past the line of scrimmage and tacked on 29 yards before he was dragged down.
As promising as that play was, Peterson is eager to get free in the second and third levels of a defense to see what kind of damage he can do.
A converted wide receiver, Peterson should get those chances once the younger Tigers get comfortable with how to run routes and find space underneath. He said he split wide eight times against the Ducks.
“I think I’ll be better if I get them downfield against a safety or a linebacker,” he said.
Man on a mission
Sam Montgomery had a quietly successful first game back from major knee surgery with four tackles, 1.5 for loss, and a forced fumble against Oregon.
He was anything but quiet on the field – or afterward for that matter.
LSU’s personable defensive end set the swagger tone for his team right off the bat last week, smacking both hands on the Cowboys Stadium turf when the Tigers’ defense lined up for the first snap.
“It was the first game (in) Dallas, Texas vs. No. 3 Oregon,” Montgomery said. “That (game) was hyped up. We’d been through so much adversity off the field. I was just fired up and ready to get back out there and prove that we were a stable team.
“The referee came up to us about the third quarter and said ‘Make sure you give No. 99 some medicine.’ I was just having a lot of fun being back out there again.”
After the game, Montgomery was – as always – popular with the media. He provided one memorable sound bite about the SEC’s dominance that Tigers’ coach Les Miles chided him for Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
Besides that gentle scolding, Montgomery said he and his defensive line mates were also brought back to earth by coach Brick Haley.
“Brick re-humbled us when we all made a lot of mistakes,” Montgomery said. “That game is over with.
“This is just the beginning. This is far from over. This ride is just beginning.”
Oregon might’ve been expecting speed from some members of the LSU defense last week.
They may not have expected it from every corner.
Ducks’ star LaMichael James was twice run down from behind – once by defensive end Barkevious Mingo before James could ever escape the backfield and again when safety Brandon Taylor tracked him down, surgically repaired foot and all.
“I had a bad angle and Coach told me that and he didn’t really think I could make that tackle,” Taylor said. “That shows a lot that I’m back healthy and can run just like everybody else on the field.”
James was obviously flustered when Mingo smothered him.
“They didn’t really respect our speed I guess,” Mingo said.
“They couldn’t do what they wanted to. They couldn’t run, they couldn’t throw deep. … It just threw off their whole game plan.”
Moving the chains
Tyrann Mathieu’s 3-yard fumble return from punt coverage was the 14th touchdown LSU has scored on special teams in Les Miles’ seven-year tenure. … Lee has gone 95 throws without an interception, dating back to the fourth quarter against Tennessee last season. … Northwestern State’s comeback from 17 points down last week was its second biggest rally in 35 years of Division I football. The only bigger comeback came in 2005 when the Demons erased a 23-0 deficit against Louisiana-Monroe en route to a 27-23 victory. … NSU quarterback Brad Henderson was offered a chance to walk on at Alabama, but accepted a scholarship offer instead.