Tigers clobber Kentucky 49-0

LSU had soundly beaten every team it played in Tiger Stadium this season. But, none more soundly than the man-handling it displayed in a 49-0 crushing of Kentucky last Saturday in Baton Rouge.

The visiting Wildcats had offered some resistance to opponents so far this season and even beaten three out of six of them entering Saturday's contest. But, Kentucky resembled a team stepping on the field for the first time against LSU.


The Tigers gouged the Wildcat defense for 546 total yards; 268 on the ground and 278 in the air. Meanwhile the LSU defense held Kentucky to 227 total yards and recorded its first shutout of the year.


The win improved LSU's record to 5-2 overall and evened its conference record to 2-2 while Kentucky sank to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the SEC. LSU plays host to its last non-conference opponent of the season next week when Fresno State comes to Baton Rouge. Kentucky has two weeks to stew in the memories of Saturday's drubbing before traveling to play a very winnable game at Mississippi State on October 28.


"This team (Kentucky) has played some teams very, very well," LSU head coach Les Miles said. "So, for us to handle them as we did, this football team came out today in a fashion where they were needy. They needed victory."


Perhaps the Tigers were venting some frustrations after a tough road loss much like Miles suggested they did when Tulane was demoralized by LSU 49-7 earlier this year just a week after dropping a heart breaker to Auburn. Though the 49-0 tromping of Kentucky doesn't absolve the Tigers of the mounds of mistakes that led to a 23-10 loss at Florida the week before, Miles said it was nice to see his team play the way it is capable of playing again.


LSU was led by its offensive star JaMarcus Russell who gave way to backups early in the third quarter after leading his team to its fifth touchdown in six possessions. Russell ended the game with 15 completions in 18 attempts for 226 yards and two touchdowns.


Jacob Hester started at tailback for the first time in his career and handled the rushing duties admirably in the first half with 44 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. He eventually gave way to Charles Scott, who rushed nine times for 58 yards. Scott eventually gave way to Keiland Williams who rushed eight times for 47 yards.


Kentucky quarterback Andre' Woodson was battered and beaten by the aggressive LSU defense most of the night and was limited to 14 completions on 37 attempts for 151 yards and one interception. He had thrown for more than 200 yards in five of his six previous games and thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game so far this year.


Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks said he knew the LSU defense was very good and his team did little to counter the Tiger defensive attack.


"It's hard to understand that they're (LSU) sitting here with two losses at this point because they've got some really good players," he said. "They can throw it. They can run it. And, their defense was as good as advertised."


LSU scored the first opportunity it had by driving straight at Kentucky with an eight play march that featured three passes by Russell and five runs by Hester. The drive was buoyed by an interference and personal foul penalty whistled against Kentucky on the punt that moved LSU's starting field position from inside its 15-yard line to the 29-yard line. Hester carried the ball for the last time in the drive from the Wildcat 7-yard line to give LSU a touchdown advantage with 8:56 to play in the first quarter.


The Tigers scored from seven-yards out again a little more than 4:00 later when Russell scrambled right and found a wide-open Dwayne Bowe in the back of the north end zone. The pass capped a six-play, 63-yard drive that lasted just 2:30 and was highlighted by a 30-yard reverse by diminutive speedster Trindon Holiday. The Colt David point after gave LSU a 14-0 advantage with 4:50 to play in the opening quarter.


Bowe was Russell's favorite target, hauling in six passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns. 


Hester scored again the next time LSU touched the football, this time on a 4-yard jaunt into the south end zone early in the second quarter. He scampered untouched on the last play of a nine-play, 61 yard drive that consumed 5:00 and gave LSU an overwhelming 21-0 lead with 12:55 to play in the first half.


Not wanting to bore the home crowd with drives longer than five plays all night, LSU scored on its next possession in just two plays. Russell passed for 15 yards to tight end Richard Dixon on the first, then 48 yards to Bowe on the second to give LSU a four-touchdown advantage. The pass to Bowe was Russell's 10th completion of the game in 10 attempts for 165 yards and the two touchdown passes to Bowe. The David kick gave LSU a 28-0 lead with 8:59 to play.


Kentucky had a brief glimpse at a scoring chance late in the second quarter when a poor punt by LSU gave the Wildcats a first down at the Tiger 32. But, the Tiger defense stiffened and held the Wildcats without a yard and forced a turnover on downs.   


The pile on continued on the first possession of the second half as LSU scored against the Wildcats in just four plays seemingly without breathing hard. Scott scooted for 38 yards on the first play of the drive and Early Doucet moved from receiver to quarterback to scoot for 12 yards on the drive's last play. Doucet skipped into the south end zone untouched, ending a four-play drive that traveled 65 yards in 1:57 and gave LSU a 35-0 lead with 12:59 remaining in the third quarter.


LSU switched to back up quarterback Matt Flynn on its next possession but the result was exactly the same. Except for a one-yard loss on a sack on the drive's first play, Flynn seamlessly guided LSU on a 43-yard scoring effort, completing passes to Bowe when Scott wasn't carrying the ball. Bowe reeled in a 23-yard completion two plays before catching an eight-yard pass for his third touchdown of the night. The easy score staked the Tigers to a 42-0 advantage with 8:28 remaining in the third quarter.


The Wildcats sought to redeem themselves a bit on the ensuing possession by driving inside the LSU 15-yard line thanks to a 38-yard completion by Woodson to Keenan Burton. But, the Tigers took the scoring chance away on a 3rd-and-6 play when cornerback Jonathan Zenon tipped a pass away from Burton and defensive tackle Tyson Jackson picked the ball out of the air at the 2-yard line.


Kentucky knocked at the LSU goal line again after the Tigers failed to move the ball past their 5-yard line after the interception. Woodson connected with Dicky Lyons on a 27-yard pass to set up a first down at the LSU 14. But, the Tigers swarmed again on defense and the Wildcat drive ended at the LSU 7 when a Woodson pass fell incomplete on fourth down.


This time, the Tigers drove the length of the field after taking over deep in their territory. Flynn claimed the drive's big play with a 27-yard scramble to set up a 1st-and-goal at the Wildcat 2-yard line. Flynn threw his second touchdown pass of the contest on the next play, finding fullback Shawn Jordan who curled out of the backfield to the goal line. The short pitch and catch capped a nine-play drive that traversed 92 yards of turf in 2:53 and gave LSU a 49-0 lead with 13:05 remaining.


"We started fast," Miles said. "We came out and scored quickly. The defense played well. We had the balance that we are looking for, both run and pass. We didn't have a turnover. We played like we were supposed to. It's nice to be back on track."

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