Strong second half pushes LSU to victory

LSU overcame a sloppy start and eventually cruised to a comfortable 48-16 victory against Furman on Saturday. The Tigers did turn the ball over three times, but they found their stride offensively in the second half while the defense dominated.

The first half may have been too close for comfort, but by the end, LSU's result against FCS foe Furman looked more like what people expected.

The Tigers only led by just four at halftime but piled it on in the second half to pull out a 48-16 victory in Tiger Stadium for Homecoming.

LSU scored touchdowns on four of its first five second-half possessions and racked up a season-high 672 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the defense pitched a shutout in the final two quarters to hold the Paladins at bay.

"It's definitely good to get a win," Jeremy Hill said. "It's good to take away some of those negatives from the Ole Miss game."

Still, LSU faithful had to feel a little uneasy when the Tigers headed into the halftime locker room with only a 20-16 lead. LSU actually trailed in two separate instances in that first half.

Furman jumped ahead first on an interception returned for a touchdown. Zach Mettenberger threw another pick in the second half, making it five total that he's thrown in the last two games.

Mettenberger did get better as the game wore on though. He finished with 328 yards passing and three touchdowns, two in the second half. But those turnovers have proven to be a lingering issue for the Tigers.

"That' something we have to eliminate as a team," Mettenberger said. "We put up a lot of yards, but we have to do a better job at finishing drives. We go to start faster than we have these last two weeks."

But that early pick six did keep Furman in the game for the first 30 minutes. The Paladins actually came within a yard of tying it up shortly before halftime after a muffed punt by Odell Beckham. But the defense bailed him out by limiting Furman to just a field goal, thanks in large part to an untimely false start.

"We cannot turn the ball over," said LSU coach Les Miles. "It's that simple…Those are some things that we have to eliminate. Eventually, we caught speed and played like we were supposed to."

But as it has several times this season, LSU dominated the second half, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. After surrendering 149 yards in the first half, LSU forced three consecutive three-and-outs after Ronald Martin intercepted a pass to kill Furman's first possession of the third quarter.

"We were kind of down a little bit, but we knew we were going to come back out and play LSU football like we did," said Kwon Alexander, who led the team with 14 tackles. "We just came out there and played great."

While the defense held Furman scoreless, the LSU offense finally started clicking. The Tigers mostly pounded away on the ground, amassing 209 rushing yards in the second half. Both Jeremy Hill and Terrence Magee eclipsed the 100-yard mark and scored twice, averaging a combined 12 yards per attempt.

"If we don't turn the ball over," said Jeremy Hill, who finished 143 yards rushing, "we're going to be pretty tough to beat."

Though it may not have been pretty, LSU did get the job done and escaped Tiger Stadium with a victory and without any significant injuries. LSU can finally get a much-needed rest as they head into a bye week with that Alabama date looming in two weeks.

"I need [the bye week] bad," Hill said. "It'll be good for our whole team as well. We're going to take this bye week and use it to our advantage."


For more notes and commentary from the game, check out the TSD Game Thread at the link below.

Game Thread: LSU vs. Furman

Tiger Blitz Top Stories