Tiger defense pitches first shutout

There is only so many ways you can say a defense dominated a game. For the fifth time this season, the LSU defense has forced sports writers across the nation to creatively come up with five different angles.

Not an easy job.


In LSU's case, it has been the same story all season long. The defensive front four dominated the trenches, and LSU's back seven could be the best group in the nation.


All was true again on Saturday night when LSU (5-2, 2-2 SEC) thumped Kentucky for 49 unanswered points for their fifth home blowout of the season. The LSU defense had little to do with the 49 on the score board, but they had everything to do with the giant egg left at the end of the game.    


No. 14 LSU held the Wildcats to 227 total yards of offense, giving up 61 yards on the ground and 166 yards through the air. The front four chased Kentucky quarterback Andre' Woodson all night out of the pocket, but only managed to grab him twice for a combined loss of 11 yards.


"We watched on film that they run screens," junior defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey said. "They popped one big one but it was under control. They usually get all their yards on the screen play and coach Pelini had been installing all week that they were going to run them."


Woodson scrambled the entire night due to the lack of protection and a rushing attack. Because of his mobility, the junior quarterback was able to continue many would be dead plays and stretched out LSU's defense.


LaRon Landry and Darry Beckwith led the Tigers, each recording five tackles. Four of Landry's tackles were solo's and one was for a loss of five yards with a quarterback hit. Al Woods, Tyson Jackson, Ricky Jean-Francois and Chase Pittman each added a half sack on the night while defensive backs Luke Sanders and Craig Steltz both contributed two quarterback hits a piece.


"Obviously it's the LSU defense," Kentucky linebacker Joe Schuler said. "It's a lack of focus on our part. We have to take what we can from this game. This is an off week so we need to regroup, refocus, and get back to work."


Sophomore defensive end Tyson Jackson, who leads the Southeastern Conference in sacks with six sacks, also extended LSU's interception streak this season with his pick in the third quarter. Jackson picked off Woodson on the LSU two-yard line to help preserve the shutout and grabbed his first interception of his career.


The pick extended LSU's streak of interceptions to one in each game so far in 2006. 

With the win, LSU's No. 1 defense will likely hold on to their ranking as the top defense in all the land. The LSU defense may be allowing 10 points per game, but the Tigers starting defense is responsible for allowing only 34 of the 60 points scored by opponents this year. Three of those touchdowns came last week at Florida. 


"I think the defense played pretty well last week, and I think they played pretty well this week," LSU head coach Les Miles said. "It's a different challenge. This team has played some teams very very well. So, for us to handle them as well as we did, this football team came out today in a fashion where they were needy. They needed victory. You could see how they played that they were not going to be denied tonight."


Miles and his staff was not exactly happy with his defense last week in The Swamp. Even though the defense kept the Tigers in the game down to the final minute, they did allow three touchdowns in the contest, which was equal to as many touchdowns they allowed all season up till then.


"No one came off last week's game feeling they had accomplished much," Miles said. "If you played well and a team had beaten you, then you would feel differently. If those outings that you don't play well and you don't do what you wanted to do, then we all come out a little stung."


Miles said he believed his team would play sharp before the game, which could be expected for a squad that is 3-0 under miles after a loss. In fact, LSU hasn't dropped back-to-back games since the 2001 season when the Tigers loss to Tennessee and Florida in consecutive weeks.


Saturday's game also marked the second time former LSU head coach Mike Archer has returned to Tiger Stadium as an opponent. Archer served as head coach from 1987 to 1990, leading the Tigers to a pair of bowl games and a 27-18-1 record.


Archer returned Saturday as defensive coordinator, and loss for the second time. His first return trip to Tiger Stadium ended in a 17-13 loss in 1994 as a Wildcat.

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