NOTEBOOK: LSU to bounce back versus Cats

After its most disappointing performance of the season last week in a 23-10 loss to Florida, 14th-ranked LSU will look to bounce back on Saturday against Kentucky. Kickoff for the contest is set for 7 p.m. in a sold out Tiger Stadium.

There will be no live television for the contest. It's the first time that an LSU game will go without live television since the 2004 season when the Tigers beat Arkansas State, 53-3, in week 2.


LSU enters the game with a 4-2 overall mark and a 1-2 conference record. LSU goes into the game ranked No. 14 in the nation in the Associated Press Poll and ranked No. 16 in both the USA Today Coaches Poll and the Harris Interactive Rankings.


The Wildcats are coming off a 24-17 setback to South Carolina last week and stand at 3-3 overall and 1-2 in league play. The contest will be the first meeting between LSU and Kentucky since "The Bluegrass Miracle" in 2002 when the Tigers scored on a 75-yard Hail Mary as time expired in a 33-30 victory over the Wildcats in Lexington. It's the second meeting against an SEC Eastern Division team for the LSU this year. LSU is 0-1 vs. the SEC East this year and 2-3 vs. the SEC East under Miles. LSU is also 3-0 under Miles in games following a loss (2-0 in 2005 and 1-0 this year).


LSU brings a 9-game home field winning streak into the game LSU is 4-0 in Tiger Stadium this season after winning its final five games a home a year ago. Despite the loss to Florida, the Tigers still remain No. 1 in the nation in total defense, allowing just 209.17 yards per game. The Tigers are also No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency defense (85.27 rating), No. 3 in scoring defense (10.0 points per game), No. 4 in pass defense (135.33 yards per game) and No. 9 in sacks (3.3 per game).


Offensively, the Tigers are averaging 33.3 points and 396.3 yards per contest. LSU has scored 40 or more points in four of its six games this year. LSU QB JaMarcus Russell is No. 2 in the SEC in pass efficiency (164.8 rating) and total offense (252.3 yards per game) and No. 3 in passing yards per game (245.7). LSU's trio of receivers - Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis and Early Doucet - have combined for 83 receptions for 1,222 yards and 8 TDs. Davis leads the Tigers with 33 catches for 479 yards and 1 TD.


Defensively, DE Tyson Jackson leads the SEC in sacks with 5.5 through six games. LB Darry Beckwith is tops on the team in tackles with 35, while FS LaRon Landry has 30. As a unit, the Tigers have 20 sacks and 37 tackles for losses to their credit.




Special Teams Blunders Doom Tigers in 23-10 Loss to Florida


Fumbles on a punt return and a kickoff return along with a blocked punt were too much for LSU to overcome as the Tigers dropped a 23-10 decision to Florida in Gainesville. In all, LSU turned the ball over five times, including once at the Florida 1-yard line, leading to 16 of the Gators' 23 points, including all 14 of their first half points.


LSU took the early lead in the contest, scoring on a 2-yard pass from JaMarcus Russell to Jacob Hester midway through the first quarter. The Tigers appeared to be in control of the game after forcing the Gators to punt on their next possession. However, Chevis Jackson muffed the punt and Florida recovered at the LSU 19-yard line. The Gators tied the game six plays later. LSU again looked to have regained control of the contest, going 75 yards on 17 plays before a fumble on the center-quarterback exchange at the Florida 1-yard line. The Gators took the lead for good just before halftime on a 1-yard scoring pass play. LSU then fumbled the second half kickoff resulting in a safety for the Gators.


Florida took the ensuing kickoff and went 67 yards on five plays to take a 23-10 lead early in the third quarter. LSU had its chances down the stretch, but interceptions deep in Florida territory, erased those scoring opportunities for the Tigers. Russell finished the game with 228 yards passing and 1 TD as he connected on 24 of 41 attempts. Craig Davis led the Tigers with 8 catches for 85 yards, while Hester rushed for 43 yards on 9 carries. LaRon Landry tallied 12 tackles and blocked a fourth quarter punt to pace a Tiger defense that limited Florida to 288 yards of offense.



Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. CDT


Location: Baton Rouge, La. (Tiger Stadium - 92,400)


Television: Cox Sports Television (delay) - cable ch. 37 in Baton Rouge


Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network - 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge; Sirius Satellite Radio - ch. 153


The Series: LSU leads 37-15-1



The Series


LSU and Kentucky meet for the 54th time on Saturday in Tiger Stadium … LSU leads the series that dates back to 1949, 37-15-1 … LSU holds a 21-5-1 mark in games played in Baton Rouge … The Tigers have won three straight and five of the last seven against the Wildcats …


It's the first meeting between the teams since 2002 when the Tigers used a 75-yard Hail Mary as time expired (now known as the Bluegrass Miracle) to post a 33-30 win over Kentucky … The winner of the LSU-UK game has scored at least 30 points in six of the last seven games … The LSU-UK game has been played in October all but five times … Kentucky's last visit to Baton Rouge came in 2000 when the Tigers posted a 34-0 win over the Wildcats …


Kentucky's last win in Tiger Stadium came in 1998 by a 39-36 count … The last two LSU-UK games have been decided by a total of seven points and come down to the closing seconds … LSU scored with 13 seconds left to beat the Wildcats in 2001 and then scored with no time left to win in 2002 … LSU coach Les Miles has never faced Kentucky. 



Hosts Kentucky Under The Lights In Tiger Stadium


LSU returns to Tiger Stadium on Saturday when the Tigers host Kentucky at 7 p.m. There will be no live television for the contest. LSU brings a 4-2 overall mark and a 1-2 league record into the game following last week's 23-10 setback to Florida in Gainesville. Kentucky is 3-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play after dropping a 24-17 decision to South Carolina last week. The game will be the first between the two teams since 2002 when the Tigers used the Bluegrass Miracle to beat the Wildcats, 33-30, in Lexington.



In The Polls


The Tigers fell out of the top 10 in the AP Poll for the first time this year, dropping to No. 14 after the 23-10 loss to now-No. 2 ranked Florida. The Tigers are also ranked No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 16 in the Harris Interactive Rankings. LSU has now been ranked for 56 consecutive polls by USA Today and 55 straight polls by the AP. Kentucky is not ranked.



No Live TV For LSU-Kentucky Game


There will be no live television for the LSU-Kentucky game on Saturday, the first time a Tiger game won't be televised live since the Arkansas State contest in 2004. Since that Arkansas State game in 2004, all 29 of LSU's game have either been on network television or TigerVision. Because the LSU-Kentucky game was put on a six-day hold by CBS, and CBS chose to televise another game, a TigerVision broadcast could not be arranged on six-day notice



This Day vs. Night Thing In Tiger Stadium


Myth has it that LSU plays better at night in Tiger Stadium than they do during the day. The facts show that since 1960, LSU is 198-59-3 (.761) at night under the lights compared to a 19-22-3 (.466) mark in Tiger Stadium during the day. Since 2000, LSU is 39-6 overall at home, which includes a 31-4 (.886) mark at night in Tiger Stadium and an 8-2 (.800) record during the day. Prior to 2000, LSU had only won 11 games at home during the day in 34 tries. From 1960 to 1999, LSU posted an 11-20-3 (.368) record at home during the day.  The following is a breakdown of LSU's night record, day record and overall record in Tiger Stadium since 1960:



Tigers Have Been Tough To Beat In Tiger Stadium


LSU goes into the game against Kentucky contest having won 9 straight and 19 of its last 20 games in Tiger Stadium. LSU's last loss at home came against Tennessee on Sept. 26 of last year, a Monday night. LSU hasn't lost a Saturday game in Tiger Stadium since a 19-7 setback to Florida on Oct. 11, 2003. To take it a step further, LSU hasn't dropped a Saturday night game at home since a 31-0 defeat to Alabama on Nov. 16, 2002, a streak that stretches 17 consecutive games.



LSU Has Nation's Fifth-Best Home Mark Over Last 4 Years


LSU brings the nation's fifth-best home mark over the last 4 years into the Kentucky contest as the Tigers have put together a 22-2 record in Tiger Stadium since the 2003 season. The following is a look at the nation's best home records over the last 4 years:



LSU-Kentucky Ties


Kentucky defensive coordinator Mike Archer served as the head coach at LSU from 1987 to 1990, leading the Tigers to a pair of bowl games and a 27-18-1 mark during that span … The game will mark only the second time Archer will return to Tiger Stadium as an opposing coach since serving as head coach at LSU … Archer was on the opposing sidelines in Tiger Stadium in 1994 when the Tigers posted a 17-13 win over the Wildcats.



LSU Starting Defense Has Allowed Only 34 Points This Year


While LSU may be allowing 10 points per game, the Tiger starting defense is responsible for allowing only 34 of the 60 points scored by the opponents this year. LSU's starting defense yielded field goals against Louisiana-Lafayette and Mississippi State, a touchdown against Auburn and three touchdowns against Florida, one of which came after an LSU turnover at its own 19-yard line.



LSU Brings Nation's Top Rated Defense Into Florida Game


Despite the loss to Florida, LSU still has the nation's No. 1 rated defense in terms of total yards allowed as the Tigers are holding opponents to just 209.2 yards per game. The Tigers still remain No. 1 in the nation in pass efficiency defense with an 85.27 rating and they are No. 3 in points allowed with a 10.0 average. In six games this year, LSU's defense has allowed only 6 touchdowns (3 rushing and 3 passing). The following is a look at how LSU ranks nationally in all defensive categories:



Quick Starting Tigers


LSU's been good at getting off to quick starts this year as the Tigers have scored on their first possession in five of six games this year. The only game in which LSU didn't score on their opening possession came against Auburn.



Taking Note On The Tigers Since 2000


Here is a look at some notable trends for LSU during the 83 games its played since 2000 … LSU is 53-5 when leading at halftime and 48-4 when leading after three quarters … The Tigers are 58-5 when scoring 20 or more points and 49-2 when scoring at least 25 points in a game … On the other hand, the Tigers are 5-15 when failing to reach the 20-point mark … LSU is 19-6 in games decided by 7 points or less and 9-3 in games decided by 3 points or less … LSU is 43-4 when holding opponents to fewer than 100 team rushing yards and the Tigers are 27-1 when having a player rush for 100 yards.



First Half 3-And-Outs For The Opposition


One of the keys to LSU's defensive success has been keeping the Tigers fresh early in the game. First half drives of over three plays are anything but common for the Tiger opposition this year. Through six games, LSU has allowed only 20 first half points and of the 37 first half possessions for Tiger opponents, 22 ended after 3 plays or less. The longest first half drive allowed by the Tigers this year is 72 yards (vs. Florida - resulted in TD) and the longest the LSU defense has been on the field in the first half is 8:31 (vs. Auburn). In SEC games against Auburn and Mississippi State, LSU held both of those teams to a combined 25 first quarter yards (minus 1-yard for Auburn and 25 yards for Miss. State). The following is a look at first half possessions for LSU opponents this year:



Tigers Are 3-0 Under Miles After A Loss


LSU has done a good job of bouncing back after a loss under Les Miles as the Tigers are 3-0 under the second-year coach in games following a loss. LSU was 2-0 in games after a loss last year and the Tigers are 1-0 this season. LSU hasn't dropped back-to-back games since the 2001 season when the Tigers loss to Tennessee and Florida in consecutive weeks.




LSU vs. the SEC Eastern Division


The Tigers are 0-1 vs. the SEC Eastern Division this year after falling to Florida last week. LSU coach Les Miles has a 2-3 mark vs. SEC Eastern Division teams, which includes a loss to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Since going to the divisional format in 1992, LSU is 20-26-1 against teams from the SEC Eastern Division. However, since the 1996 season, the Tigers are 19-16 against foes from the east. 



Miles Is 8-3 In SEC Games


LSU coach Les Miles is now 8-3 in SEC games, which is the best start for a Tiger coach since  1987-88 when Mike Archer won 9 of his first 11 games as the Tiger head coach.



Russell Now In Top 5 In LSU History In TD Passes And Passing Yards


LSU QB JaMarcus Russell has now climbed into the top 5 in LSU history in both TD passes and passing yards. Russell ranks fourth in school history in TD passes with 35 and he's fifth in passing yards with 4,970.



Russell's Streak of Passes Without An Interception Snapped Against Florida


LSU QB JaMarcus Russell's streak of passes without an interception was snapped at 96 against Florida. Russell's streak came to an end just before halftime.



Tiger Receiving Trio Among The Best Around


LSU's receiving trio of Buster Davis, Dwayne Bowe and Early Doucet forms arguably the nation's best receiving corps. Through 6 games, the trio has combined for 83 receptions for 1,222 yards and 8 TDs. Davis leads all Tigers with 33 catches for 479 yards and 1 TD, while Bowe has 27 receptions for 403 yards and 3 scores. Doucet leads the team with 4 TD receptions and he's caught a total of 23 passes for 340 yards. Doucet goes into the Kentucky game needing only 14 receiving yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark for his career. When Doucet reaches that milestone, all three of LSU's starting receivers will have 1,000-yards to their credit. Bowe currently leads the group with 1,816 yards on 116 receptions, while Davis has 1,751 yards on 118 receptions. Doucet has 986 career receiving yards on 67 receptions. 



LSU Turnover Streak Ends Against State


LSU's streak of not committing a turnover ended against Mississippi State when QB JaMarcus Russell fumbled late in the second quarter. Prior to the Russell fumble, LSU hadn't committed a turnover since the third quarter of the Arizona game, a streak that covered just over 10 quarters of play. LSU didn't turn the ball over at all in games against Auburn and Tulane, marking the second time in Les Miles era that the Tigers went consecutive games without a turnover. Last year, LSU didn't turn the ball over in wins over Appalachian State and Alabama. It may not seem like much, but prior to the 2005 season, the last time LSU went consecutive games without a turnover came in 2002 when the Tigers beat Florida and South Carolina in back-to-back weeks without turning the ball over. Before that, you have to back to 1998 when the Tigers did it against Mississippi State and Ole Miss.



Russell Has Career Day Against Mississippi State


LSU QB JaMarcus Russell had a career-day against Mississippi State. Russell threw for a career-best 330 yards and tied a career-high with 3 TD passes (all in the first half) against the Bulldogs. In addition, he tied a school-record with 14 consecutive completions in the contest and he tied another school record for completion percentage by connecting on 18 of 20 passes (.900 percent) in the contest. Russell did all of this despite not playing in the fourth quarter of the contest.



Russell-To-Bowe TD Combination Now Second Best Combo In School History


The pitch and catch combination of JaMarcus Russell-to-Dwayne Bowe ran their TD streak to 15 with a second quarter score against Mississippi State. The 15 touchdowns between the pair (Russell throwing and Bowe catching) ranks as the second most prolific scoring combo in school history. Russell and Bowe hooked up for 8 TDs in 2005 after combining for 4 scores in 2004. This year, the duo has combined for 3 touchdowns. Tommy Hodson-to-Wendell Davis ranks as the most prolific TD combination in school history as the duo accounted for 21 touchdowns during their careers.



Craig Davis Reception Streak At 29 Straight


With 8 catches for 85 yards against Florida, senior WR Craig Davis has caught at least one pass in 29 straight games. The streak dates back to LSU's season-opener in 2003 against Oregon State. Davis caught at least one pass in all 12 games a year ago. Davis missed the Mississippi State and Florida contests with injuries a year ago. In 11 games in 2005, Davis caught 35 passes for 559 yards and 2 TDs. This year, Davis ranks first on the team with 33 catches for 479 yards and 1 TD.



Colt David PAT Streak At 58 Straight


LSU PK Colt David ran his streak of successful PATs to 58 straight by connecting on lone attempt against Florida. The 58 straight successful PATs ranks as the third-longest streak in school history, trailing only David Browndyke (109 straight) and Andre' Lafleur (69).



Tyson Jackson Leads The SEC In Sacks


Despite going sackless against Florida, LSU DE Tyson Jackson continues to lead the SEC in total sacks with 5.5 to his credit this year. Jackson's 5.5 sacks have resulted in 25 yards in losses for opposing quarterbacks. LSU's other DE Chase Pittman is seventh in the league in sacks with 4.0 through the first six games of the season.



2005: A Year of Firsts For LSU and Les Miles


A year ago, Les Miles set several milestones for first-year LSU coaches as he guided the Tigers to 11 wins, making him the winningest first-year Tiger coach in school history. In addition, Miles became the only coach in school history to beat Florida, Auburn and Alabama in the same season. LSU beat Florida 21-17 on Oct. 15, then followed that with a 20-17 overtime win over Auburn a week later. The 16-13 overtime win over Alabama clinched the feat for Miles. He was also the first coach in SEC history to lead his team to the SEC Championship Game in his first year in the league. Miles currently is 15-4 as LSU's head coach and he's 43-25 overall in 5-plus seasons as a collegiate head coach.



LSU'S Dorsey Has Been Named SEC Defensive Lineman Of The Week Twice In 2006 


LSU DT Glenn Dorsey has been named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week twice during the 2006 season. He earned it the first time for his efforts in a 45-3 win over Arizona and then he was the recipient against last week following his play in the 7-3 loss to Auburn. Dorsey, a junior from Gonzales, recorded eight tackles, three tackles for losses and 1.5 sacks in LSU's 7-3 loss to third-ranked Auburn. Dorsey's three tackles behind the line of scrimmage resulted in 17-yards in losses for Auburn. He also added a quarterback hurry. Dorsey led an LSU defense that limited Auburn to only 182 yards of offense.



Pittman Named SEC Defensive Lineman Of The Week For Performance Against Tulane


For the third straight week LSU claimed the defensive lineman of he week honors in the SEC as senior Chase Pittman picked up the award following the Tulane game. Pittman, a defensive end from Shreveport, La., joins defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, who picked up the honor in consecutive weeks following games against Arizona and Auburn, as Tigers who have been named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week this year. Against Tulane, Pittman paced a Tiger defense that limited the Green Wave to just seven points and 231 yards of offense. Pittman finished with four tackles, one sack for a 7-yard loss and he forced a fumble. As a unit, the Tiger defense recorded four sacks of Tulane quarterbacks and forced the Green Wave into three turnovers. The honor is the first of Pittman's career.



LSU's Russell Named SEC Offensive Player Of The Week


LSU QB JaMarcus Russell was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Tigers' 48-17 win over Mississippi State on Sept. 30. Russell set one school record and tied two others in the win over Mississippi State. His 272 yards passing in the first half set the school record for passing yards in a half. Russell also tied a school-record by completing 14 straight passes at one point during the game. He tied another school-record for completion percentage by connecting on 18 of 20 passes for the contest for 90.0 percent. In all, Russell threw for a career-best 330 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdown passes, all coming in the first half. 



LSU's Allowed Only 6 TDs In Last 32 Quarters


The LSU defense goes into the Kentucky game having allowed only 6 touchdowns over the last 32 quarters of play. The streak dates back to the second half of the SEC Championship Game against Georgia. LSU ran its streak of quarters without allowing a TD to 16 straight before Auburn scored on a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter in week 3. Tulane and Mississippi State are the only other teams to score a TD against the Tigers this year, both of those coming in the fourth quarter against LSU backups. Through 6 games in 2006, LSU has allowed only 20 first half points. Florida became the first team this year to score a touchdown in the first half against LSU.



Tigers Have Outscored Opponents 240-63 Over Last 28 Quarters


Dating back to the Miami (Fla.) game in last year's Peach Bowl, the Tigers have outscored their opposition 240-63. That stretch has had the Tigers scoring over 40 points five times, while holding their opponents to a combined 7 touchdowns (3 by Florida, 2 by Miss. State and 1 by Auburn and Tulane), 4 field goals (by Miami, UL-Lafayette, Arizona and Miss. State) and a safety (by Florida).



Tigers First In SEC In Sacks By And Second In Sacks Against


LSU goes into the Kentucky game ranked first in the SEC in sacks, having recorded 20 through its first six games of the year. In addition, the Tigers are second in the league in sacks allowed as the LSU offensive line has yielded only five sacks this season. 




LSU Has Second-Best Record In SEC Over Last 5-Plus Seasons


LSU's record of 55-15 over the last 5-plus seasons is the second-best record in the SEC during that span. Only Georgia, who has a 57-13 mark over that span, has a better 5-year record than LSU.



Redzone Success Streak Snapped At 48  


LSU's streak of successful trips inside the redzone jumped came to an end at 48 straight against Florida when JaMarcus Russell fumbled at the Gator 1-yard line in the second quarter. Prior to that fumble, the Tigers hadn't missed on a redzone opportunity since the Auburn game in 2005. The 48 successful trips to the redzone had LSU scoring 40 touchdowns and kicking 9 field goals.



Tigers Have 10 Picks In First 6 Games; Rank Fifth Ninth Nationally 


With 10 interceptions over the first 6 games of the year, the Tigers rank ninth in the nation in interceptions. The 10 interceptions rank second in the SEC to Florida's 11. Ohio State and Baylor lead the nation with 12 picks. LSU didn't record its 10th interception last year until the bowl game against Miami.



Tiger Defense Has Scored In Two Games This Year


LSU's defense has supplied points for the Tigers in two games this year as CB Jonathan Zenon has returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns for the Tigers. Zenon opened the year by returning an interception 20 yards for a first quarter score against Louisiana-Lafayette. A week later he followed with an interception return of 41-yards for a touchdown against Arizona. The Zenon interception return for a score against Arizona marked the fourth time under defensive coordinator Bo Pelini that the Tiger defense has scored a touchdown.



Keeping Them Under 20 Points


LSU goes into the Kentucky game having held 15 of its last 17 opponents, 9 of which are SEC foes, to 20 points or less, a streak that dates back to early last year. Prior to the Georgia game in the SEC Championship, LSU held 9 straight opponents to 20 points. It was the longest streak since 2003 when the Tigers did it for the first 11 weeks of the season on their way to claiming both the SEC and National titles.



Russell Is 18-4 As LSU's Starting QB  


LSU QB JaMarcus Russell is now 18-4 as a starter for the Tigers after last week's loss to Florida. Russell won 17 of his first 20 starts for the Tigers, ranking him second behind Matt Mauck as the quickest LSU quarterback to 17 victories. Mauck won 17 of his first 19 games and 18 of his first 20 starts. Mauck finished his career with an 18-2 mark as the Tiger starter. Russell posted a 10-2 mark in 2005 after going 4-0 as a redshirt freshman in 2004. He's 4-2 this year. 



Landry Runs Starting Streak to 41 Straight


LSU All-America free safety LaRon Landry ran his streak of consecutive starts to 41 straight against Florida. Landry, from Ama, La., has been in the LSU lineup since the Mississippi State contest (week 5) in 2003. The 41 straight starts ranks as the fifth-longest streak in the Division IA. 



10 True Freshmen Have Seen Action For The Tigers In 2006


A total of 11 true freshmen have seen action for the Tigers this year. Here's a list of true freshmen who have played so far this season: WR/RS Trindon Holliday, RB Charles Scott, DB Danny McCray, LB Jacob Cutrera, LB Perry Riley, TE Richard Dickson, WR Chris Mitchell, WR Jared Mitchell, DT Al Woods, and RB Keiland Williams.

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