REPORT CARD: LSU 49, Tulane 7

Coming into the 2006 season, most everyone knew the home portion of the schedule was going to be considerably less than competitive. Home games versus ULL, Arizona, Tulane, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Kentucky and Fresno State wasn't exactly a slate of games that would send people into hysterics.

Arizona and ULL were supposed to be better. And everyone saw how that turned out – 90-6.


Tulane performed about to the level as expected and things likely won't get any better when Mississippi State visits on Saturday, considering the Green Wave, which lost to LSU 49-7, beat the Bulldogs in Starkville two weekends ago.


But the good thing about this two-game lull in the schedule, the Tigers can get all the kinks worked out before they face the second major obstacle of this 2006 season – a trip to Gainesville and a showdown with the Florida Gators.


The biggest problem with having back-to-back snoozers is the fact that all anyone wants to talk about is what went wrong two weekends ago in Auburn. As far as the defense goes, there wasn't a lot wrong with the performance at Auburn. The offense is catching most of the flack as the criticism is aimed at quarterback JaMarcus Russell, the running backs and offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher.


All three of those components took a turn for the better in the Tulane game. Fisher opened up the playbook a little more thus allowing Russell to use his talents to direct the LSU offense. And Charles Scott emerged as the running back to beat in the Tigers' crowded cabin.


All of that and more as we break down LSU's performance versus Tulane.





Many people thought Fisher and Les Miles got too conservative in the 7-3 loss at Auburn.

The Tigers were predictable on offense typically running on first down. Plus, Miles refused to give the ball the talented freshmen Charles Scott and Keiland Williams and insisted on sticking with Justin Vincent, Alley Broussard and fullback Jacob Hester.


Obviously in the Tulane game, Miles decided to experiment a little.


The Tigers opened the game in a spread formation with Russell in the shotgun. One discussion that arose last week was that with Russell at the helm, Fisher should revert back to the playbook he had when Rohan Davey was quarterback.


The Tigers' offense looked very similar to that 2001 team with Russell throwing the ball all over the place. The bubble screen returned to the Tigers' repertoire and the end-around play was used as well.


Miles started Vincent at tailback, but quickly opted for Scott after Vincent managed just six yards on his first two carries. Vincent never returned to the action.


Alley Broussard didn't play in the game.


Scott, in the meantime, erupted for 101 yards on 15 carries and scored two touchdowns in an impressive performance. The true freshman showed the burst LSU needed in the Auburn game and it looks as if the youngster may be here to stay.


Russell was an impressive 17 of 23 for 198 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Early Doucet. Doucet scored three touchdowns in the game, including his first-ever rushing touchdown on an end-around in the first quarter.


All of LSU's quarterbacks played in the game, that included fourth-string walk-on James Welker.


The Tiger receivers were dominating as Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis and Doucet outmuscled Tulane's helpless secondary.


In all, LSU gained just 373 yards on the night, but the Tigers executed well and made the most of every opportunity.


Grade: A-





For the fifth straight game, the LSU defense nearly pitched a shutout.


But defensive coordinator Bo Pelini doesn't care, considering the fact he has held the Tigers' last five opponents to a combined 23 points.


LSU emerges from the Tulane game ranked as the No. 1 defense in all of college football allowing a mere five points per game. The Tigers did surrender 231 yards of total offense to the Green Wave and a rare touchdown, but LSU was again dominant the entire way.


The Tigers picked off two passes from Tulane quarterbacks, including No. 3 on the season for safety Craig Steltz. He and cornerback Jonathan Zenon are tied for the team lead with three a piece.


True freshman Jacob Cutrera led the team with six tackles and three of LSU's four starting defensive linemen (Marlon Favorite, Chase Pittman and Tyson Jackson) all had a sack in the game.


Tulane coach Chris Scelfo was very impressed with what he saw.


"They're 10th-ranked, the No. 1 ranked defense in the country," Scelfo said. "They're a dad gum good football team."


Grade: A





One thing is for sure in a 49-7 victory, Chris Jackson got a lot of work.


Special teams rarely play a big role in a blowout of this magnitude, but the Tigers were flawless in the kicking game against Tulane.


Jackson punted for a 50.2 yard average on five kicks and hit a long kick of 58 yards.


Colt David extended his lengthy streak of made PATs to 54 in a row.


LSU did a great job of pressuring the Green Wave specialists. Tulane punter Barrett Pepper spent most of the game running for his life punting six times for a 36 yard average. Green wave kicker Ross Tevenot attempted one field goal, a 44-yarder in the second quarter, but it was blocked.


Grade: A+





It was a breath of fresh air to see the coaching staff open up the playbook a little bit in terms of how JaMarcus Russell performed in the game.


The offense showed a few more wrinkles that will be effective is several of the bigger games on down the schedule. The emergence of Scott will play a huge factor in the future success of the LSU offense. It is disappointing to see Vincent and Broussard fall by the wayside, but it is apparent they haven't fully regained the burst of years past.


Miles seems to have this team headed in the right direction and another solid week of practice and another dominating performance against a lame opponent like Mississippi State should have LSU in the right frame of mind heading into the Florida game.


Grade: A

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