NOTEBOOK: Blowouts mirror recent/distant past

LSU's win over Arizona last Saturday night made it feel like 2004, 2003, 1959 and 1929 all over again. Taking things in reverse chronological order, it was in 2004 that the Tigers last scored the same amount of points in winning efforts in back-to-back games.

Actually, LSU did so three times in a row. That year, the Tigers beat Florida, 24-21; Troy, 24-20; and Vanderbilt, 24-7.


The year 2003 marked the last time prior to 2006 that LSU had scored 40-plus points in back-to-back games. Ironically, Arizona was a part of those two games as well when the Tigers opened their most recent National Championship season with a 49-7 win over UL-Monroe before pounding the Wildcats, 59-13.


One needs to travel back to 1959 to find the last time the Tigers won back-to-back games by the exact same score. Under then coach Paul Dietzel, LSU won consecutive games on the road against Kentucky and Florida by identical scores of 9-0.


Finally, 1929 has the distinction of being the last time the Tigers won their first two games of the season by the identical score. LSU opened that campaign by blanking both Louisiana College and Southwestern Louisiana by margins of 58-0 to start their nine-game schedule. 


There's no question stout defense was the reason the Tigers were able to burst out to a fast start against the Wildcats. LSU held Arizona to two punts and an interception on their first three possessions.


"I think we had a good bead on Arizona," LSU Coach Les Miles said. "I think we kind of knew what they were about. We felt like we had some match-up advantages. So, no, I kind of expected our defense to play well all year. Next week will be more of a challenge."





A week after picking off two passes against UL-Lafayette, LSU cornerback Jonathan Zenon replicated half of that performance. He turned an interception into a 41-yard return for a score to give the Tigers their first touchdown against Arizona.


"We covered the ball well," Miles said. "Zenon comes off with another pick for a score two weeks in a row. Defense is playing awfully well and needs to continue to do so."


Not since Jack Hunt in 2003 has LSU had a defender return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same season. Hunt, however, didn't accomplish the feat in the first two games of the season. It took him nine opponents to do so.


Zenon's pick-six was only the highlight of a first quarter-showing that saw the Tigers hold the Wildcats to -7 yards of total offense. That included an 0-for-3 performance on third down attempts by the visiting team. By contrast, LSU amassed 101 yards of offense with just 15 plays in the first 15 minutes of play.





Sophomore linebacker Darry Beckwith recorded the first and second sacks of his LSU career in the first and third quarters against Arizona, respectively. Saying the 6'1", 232-pounder hit Wildcat quarterback Willie Tuitama with the force of a Mack Truck isn't flattering enough.


"It appeared there were some seriously big hits out there, didn't it?" Miles asked rhetorically. "I mean, if you look at Darry Beckwith, he gets speed to the ball pretty fast. Anytime you put great speed in with the size of a defender and contact – I suspect there are some bumps and bruises on that Arizona team."


In fact, Beckwith's second sack rattled Tuitama enough that on the very next play the Arizona starter threw his second pick of the night, all but assuring he would be replaced on the Wildcats' next possession.





When Chris Jackson's foot hit the ball with three seconds left to go in the third quarter it marked the first time the Tigers punted against the Wildcats. Aside from a JaMarcus Russell interception that all but ended the first half of play, LSU's other four possessions up until that point ended as follows: Field goal, touchdown, touchdown, fumble.


Thus far this year, Jackson has been called upon to kick the ball away following failed third down attempts three times. He is averaging 39 yards per punt, and the Tigers have not allowed a single return yard to be recorded.





LSU's defense has now gone 14 consecutive quarters without giving up a touchdown, a run that dates back to the third quarter of last year's SEC Championship game. Since then, the Tigers have given up a grand total of 12 points.


Nine consecutive Pac-10 opponents have fallen to LSU, dating back to 1980. The Tigers have converted on 34 straight opportunities in the red zone (26 TDs and eight field goals), and Colt David has been perfect on 47 consecutive PATs, tying him for the third longest streak in school history.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories