Tigers start slow, trounce Vandy 34-6

NASHVILLE -- The 11th-ranked LSU football team overcame four turnovers and 14 penalties to turn in a brilliant defensive performance in beating Vanderbilt, 34-6, in front of 37,309 in Vanderbilt Stadium.

LSU statistically dominated the game with 479 yards of total offense but had little to show for it until a 22-point fourth quarter due to miscues. The Tigers had five fewer penalty yards than Vanderbilt's total offense (138-133).

Meanwhile, the LSU defense came up big for the second straight week, holding the Commodore offense that led the SEC in passing offense and ranked second in total offense to only 138 yards of total offense.

The Tigers also recorded six sacks of Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler, giving the Commodores 25 net yards rushing on 26 attempts for the game. The final play of the game was a 40-yard run.

Quarterback JaMarcus Russell finished the game 21-of-32 passing for 285 yards with two touchdown passes. Dwayne Bowe caught five passes for 98 yards and a touchdown, while Early Doucet added 94 yards on five receptions.

Running back Joseph Addai had 102 yards rushing on 24 carries, while Justin Vincent tallied 77 on only 11 rushes.

LSU placekicker Chris Jackson had a 47-yard field goal hit the left goal post and a 42-yarder missed to the right to end the first half. He converted from 36 yards in the third quarter.

Vanderbilt managed only 138 yards of offense on 59 plays. Cutler, who leads the Southeastern Conference in total offense, was held to 11-of-32 passing for 113 yards with a pair of interceptions.

Vanderbilt won the coin toss and elected to defer until the second half. LSU took the ball to start the game and defended the south endzone.

Russell and Bowe connected three times for 77 yards on the game's first drive, including the second of two 30-yard receptions that went for a touchdown. The Tigers took the early 7-0 lead after only 2:33 of play.

The Tigers' next seven LSU possessions comprised of two punts, two fumbles, two missed field goals and an interception, resulting in a 303-41 advantage in first-half total yardage but only a 9-3 lead.

Cutler was tackled in the endzone by LSU's Chase Pittman for a safety with 5:33 to play in the first quarter giving LSU a 9-0 lead.

The safety was the first recorded by the Tigers since the 2003 SEC Championship game when the Georgia punter muffed a deep snap and was tackled by Alley Broussard in the endzone.

The Commodores' lone score of the half was a 36-yard field goal with 3:37 to play in the first quarter after a David Jones fumble was recovered at the LSU 20.

The Tigers started the second half in the same manner as the first: forcing Vanderbilt to punt from further back than they began a drive before fumbling on the next play.

Russell's fumble on a blind side hit again gave Vanderbilt the ball in LSU territory at the 36-yard line. The Commodores gained only five yards before placekicker Bryant Anderson converted a career-long 48-yard field goal.

The lead was cut to 9-6 with 11:36 to play in the third quarter.

After punting for third time, LSU answered defensively by intercepting Cutler for the second time. Cornerback Chevis Jackson recorded his first pickoff as a Tiger.

LSU was able to match the field goal with a 36-yard conversion by Chris Jackson late in the third quarter to extend the lead back to six points, 12-6.

On their next offensive possession, the Tigers went 62 yards on eight plays to score on a 2-yard run by Addai. The run put Addai at 100 yards rushing. A 30-yard reception by Early Doucet setup the score.

Leading by 12 points, LSU head coach Les Miles decided to attempt the two-point conversion. The pass from Russell to Doucet was completed for LSU's first successful two-point try since Sept. 4, 2004, against Oregon State.

LSU led 20-6.

Russell again connected with Doucet for an 8-yard touchdown with 7:42 to play in the game to put the game out of reach, 27-6. The touchdown was Doucet's second of the season, coupled with his game-winner at Arizona State.

With the game clearly in hand, Miles pulled his first string en lieu of his defensive backups midway through the fourth quarter. With 4:25 to play, LSU linebacker Ali Highsmith sacked reserve quarterback Chris Nickson, forced the ball loose and ran into the endzone for a touchdown.

LSU returns home for four scheduled games at Tiger Stadium including a makeup game against North Texas on Oct. 29. The Tigers will next take on Florida at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, in Tiger Stadium.

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