Offense notes: Randle breaks loose

Junior wide receiver starts off with a bang on a 43-yard catch on LSU's first snap and finishes with 121 receiving yards to spark the offense.

It wasn't like receiver Rueben Randle was non-existent in LSU's season opener against Oregon.

He did, after all, catch a touchdown pass and draw two key pass interference penalties in the 40-27 victory.

But the 6-foot-4, 208-pound junior said during the week leading up to Saturday's Northwestern State game that he was frustrated by a creaky knee that limited is explosion off the line of scrimmage.

Rueben Randle: Five catches for 121 yards
It took one snap Saturday to change all that.

When the Tigers got the ball the first time, quarterback Jarrett Lee dropped straight back and launched a pass down the left sideline toward Randle, who had split left and broken off the line of scrimmage on a fly pattern.

Randle torched cornerback Cashas Pollard right off the bat and then blazed past safety Bert White and made a nice adjustment to haul in the 43-yard pass.

"It was something we looked forward to," Randle said. "I was really excited before the play started because I saw the corner kind of cheating in a little bit. I got vertical on the safety and had him beat.

"It was very exciting for me because last week I didn't get a lot of opportunities to make plays."

That was just the start of a huge night for Randle. He caught four more throws for 15, 11, 28 and 24 yards – three of those four resulting in first downs that moved the ball inside the 20-yard-line to help set up LSU touchdowns.

"I love to have the ball in my hands so I can create mismatches in the secondary," Randle said.

Competition or gaining experience?
Always coy, LSU coach Les Miles left some intrigue about why backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger started the second half and played all six series.

Starter Jarrett Lee took every snap in the first half and guided the Tigers to four touchdowns in six series. He hobbled off after he was sacked early in the game, but led three more TD drives after that.

Mettenberger trotted out to open the second with LSU ahead 28-3, which Miles said was by design. But then…

"We needed to get our second-team quarterback ready to roll," Miles said. "You never can tell when you might turn to him and see if we can get a hot hand and go."

Committee work
Sophomore Michael Ford got the starting nod at tailback against Northwestern State and responded with a game-high 72 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 13 carries.

But there was plenty of work to go around as five different backs got carries, paced by Alfred Blue's career-high 15 attempts for 53 yards, also his most in a game.

Alfred Blue: Busy night with 15 carries for 53 yards
Ware ran the ball only six times for 20 yards with a pair of scores after a grinding 26-carry night against Oregon for 99 yards.

"Whoever goes out there we're going to make the most of it," Ford said. "We're like a family and we all root for each other, whoever is in the game."

Ford said Blue is on even footing with Ware and himself and adds a different wrinkle.

"Blue is a very hard runner," Ford said. "He's got speed, too, but he can run it between tackles. He's kind of a mix of both of us. He's a very big guy, so he can run between the tackles or outside."

Moving the chains
Starting punter Brad Wing was out of action Saturday and former walk-on D.J. Howard filled in, averaging 41 yards on three attempts. Howard also handled kickoff duties and produced 62.5 yards on eight tries. … Seth Fruge was the holder on extra points and field goals with Wing on the sideline. … Ford's 26-yard rush early in the second quarter was LSU's longest this season and one of three for the Tigers for 12 yards or longer Saturday. He added a 12-yard burst and Odell Beckham Jr. ripped off 15 yards on a reverse. … Freshman Jarvis Landry contributed a 31-yard punt return when he sprinted back to give LSU two return men when Northwestern's Nic Russo lined up for a rugby-style kick.

LSU churns past NW State 49-3

Defense notes: LSU plays without Ryan Baker

Confidence builder

Scoring recap: LSU 49, NW State 3

Video: LSU-Northwestern State wrapup

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