Tigers whip Wildcats 45-3

Fans and experts alike thought Saturday's contest between Arizona and LSU in Tiger Stadium would be a much closer match than the week-one, 45-3 blowout turned in by the eighth-ranked Tigers over UL-Lafayette.

Turns out, the two games were almost exactly the same as the Pac-10 Wildcats left Baton Rouge demoralized by a 45-3 loss to the Tigers in front of 92,221. 

The win improved LSU's record to 2-0 in the season's infancy with the first true test lying next weekend when the Tigers travel to Auburn to take on the fourth-ranked Tigers. Arizona fell to 1-1 and has the benefit of playing at home next week against Stephen F. Austin before playing host to perennial power USC.

Despite the predictions, LSU's first week opponent may have been a bit more of a test for the Tigers though deciding who the biggest loser is in consecutive 42-point losses is a bit nonsensical.

Arizona managed just 35 yards rushing and 152 yards overall against an aggressive LSU defensive front and secondary that allowed just 176 yards in week one.

For the second straight week, the Tiger defense set an early tone and gave its offense some early help by scoring a touchdown on an interception return in the first quarter. Cornerback Jonathan Zenon scored both, with this week's coming on a 41-yard return with 7:44 remaining in the quarter to give LSU a 10-0 lead. Last week's came about 2:00 earlier in the game but both effectively eliminated the opponent from contention.

"I was pleased with the defensive effort today," LSU Coach Les Miles said. "They went out and were on Arizona from the start."

LSU held the Wildcats to just 28 yards of offense in the first half. The bulk of the Wildcat production came on its last possession of the game against a host of backup Tiger defenders. Arizona was able to drive 75 yard in 15 plays for their only score, a 22-yard field goal by Nick Folk that crossed the cross bar with 1:06 to play.

The Tigers spread their attack about as evenly as possible, amassing 231 yards rushing and passing for 230 more. Nine Tigers ran the ball for positive yards led by Charles Scott's 47 yards on four carries and a touchdown and Jacob Hester's 43 yards on eight carries and a touchdown.

Hester also led the Tigers in catches with six for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Tiger quarterback JaMarcus Russell performed more than adequately but wasn't flashy in completing 13-of-20 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns to counter his first interception of the year. If not for Russell's interception at the Arizona 34-yard line late in the second quarter and a fumble by receiver Early Doucet at the Wildcat 20 early in the third quarter, the final score could have been more lopsided.

LSU turned the ball over three times in all.

"Obviously, playing a team like LSU, they can expose some weaknesses and obviously they exposed some in this game," Arizona Head Coach Mike Stoops said. "We just didn't handle things very well."

LSU scored the first time it touched the ball thanks largely to a 33-yard end around run by Trindon Holliday that set up a first-and-goal at the Arizona 3. The Tigers were stopped at that point, forcing Colt David to break the scoring ice with a 21-yard field goal with 9:17 remaining in the first quarter.

Three plays later, Zenon became LSU's early season scoring leader when he stepped in front of a Willie Tuitama pass at the Arizona 41-yard line and returned it up the west sideline into the endzone, staking LSU to a 10-0 lead.

Arizona handed the Tigers another scoring chance before the Wildcat offense stepped its collective foot on the field again when kick returner B.J. Dennard laid the ball on the turf at his 18-yard line. LSU needed just three plays to take a 17-0 advantage. Hester grabbed a short pass from Russell on 2nd-and-goal and scored LSU's second touchdown in seconds. The David point after put the Tigers up three scores with 6:17 to play in the quarter.

Tailback Alley Broussard added the fourth score less than 1:00 into the second quarter when he took a 3rd –and-2-handoff at the 17-yard line, skipped past a linebacker at the 13 and bounded into the endzone. The impressive run capped a 57-yard, eight-play drive and gave LSU a 24-0 lead with 14:05 remaining in the half.

Hester scored again with 7:06 remaining in the third quarter, this time on the ground. He dodged through the Wildcat line, then the secondary on his way to a 28-yard touchdown run. The nifty dash capped a six-play, 61 yard drive that made up for an earlier 60-yard drive for the Tigers that ended with a lost fumble. The David point after improved the LSU lead to 31-0.

Safety LaRon Landry gave LSU its next scoring chance less than 2:00 later when he intercepted Tuitama at the Arizona 32 and returned it to the 29. On the next play, Russell calmly retreated and lobbed the ball to Dwayne Bowe who zigged then zagged the cornerback to the turf before standing alone in the middle of the north endzone. The 29-yard pitch and catch gave LSU a 38-0 lead with 5:05 to play in the third quarter.

LSU was finally forced to punt on the last play of the third quarter and several Wildcat players were able to overwhelm the LSU blockers and deflect the kick. Arizona began the ensuing drive at its 48-yard line and seemed to move the ball inside the Tiger 10 seven plays later on a screen pass from backup quarterback Adam Austin to tailback Chris Jennings. But, the positive play was called back due to an ineligible player down field penalty, setting up a 3rd-and-20 from the LSU 30.

Tiger safety Craig Steltz thwarted the Wildcat advance on the long third-down play by intercepting Austin in the endzone, ending Arizona's only legitimate scoring opportunity to that point and setting up another one for the Tigers.

After Steltz returned the interception to the Wildcat 19, LSU, guided by backup quarterback Matt Flynn, marched into the south endzone in eight plays. Scott finished the attack with a 39-yard touchdown run with 7:22 to play that ended the 5:01 drive and added to the Arizona misery.

"I like the outing," Miles said. "We need to improve. We need to see this film. We need to get better and take our best effort with us to Auburn."

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