LSU rolls over Fresno 38-6

A thunderous rain storm passed through Baton Rouge Saturday evening and pushed back the start of the Fresno State- LSU game by four minutes.

Big, thunderous plays rained down the rest of the evening for the Tigers who pushed back the visiting Bulldogs into the depths of a six-game losing streak with a 38-6 win in front of a rain scattered crowd of about half capacity in Tiger Stadium.   


The win improved LSU's record to 6-2 with an extra week in front of it to rest and prepare before traveling to face seventh-ranked Tennessee in Knoxville Nov. 4. Fresno State sank to a disappointing 1-6 overall and receives a long rest as well before facing its next opponent, taking on 18th-ranked and undefeated Western Athletic Conference rival Boise State on Wednesday, Nov. 1.


The game was punctuated by five LSU touchdowns on plays of 21 yards or more. Highlighting the group was a 77-yard punt return by Craig Davis in the first quarter and a 58-yard catch by Dwayne Bowe early in the fourth quarter that erased any chance for Fresno State to catch up.


"I liked the way we played," LSU Coach Les Miles said. "It was the kind of game we have to have when we go forward from here."


Despite entering the game as a pronounced underdog, the Bulldogs held their own statistically in the first half, giving up just 114 total yards to the highly touted and high powered Tiger offense that had throttled its other five opponents this year in Tiger Stadium by a combined score of 236-30.


Miles said he was impressed by Fresno State's heart and ability and believes the Bulldogs are much better than their record indicates. Coincidentally, Bulldog coach Pat Hill said he felt the same way about LSU.


"It's just a shame that a team with a 6-2 record like that in the way football is right now is considered not being in it," Hill said of LSU. "But that's how we're judged. We're judged by winning and losing. They have a very talented football team. The best vertical passing game we've played against since we've been here."


But the Bulldogs could not hold their own on the scoreboard as LSU held a 17-3 advantage at halftime and more than doubled that spread by the end of the game. The Bulldogs also struggled to find any rhythm offensively against the quick Tiger defense, gaining just 211 total yards.


LSU's offense eventually heated up by turning to the players that had provided the spark to this point. Tiger quarterback JaMarcus Russell completed long touchdown passes to Bowe and Davis in the second half as part of a 15-of-19, 210 yard two touchdown performance. LSU also benefited from hard running from tailback Alley Broussard, who finished the contest with 67 yards and a touchdown on five carries and all-around athlete Trindon Holliday who carried the ball three times for 58 yards and a touchdown.


The Tigers gained 394 yards in all, 184 of them on the ground.


Fresno State quarterback Sean Norton made his first career start and performed admirably completing 13-of-20 for 134 yards while falling prey to four sacks.


LSU scored on their first possession for the sixth time in six home games, this time by reaching deep into the playbook. Holliday lined up at tailback for the first time this season and ran a toss sweep from the Fresno State 38 up the east sideline and into the north end zone. The touchdown run was the fifth play of LSU's first drive and gave LSU a 7-0 lead with 10:52 to play in the first quarter after the point after.


Fresno State picked up a first down on a 16-yard screen pass on the ensuing possession.  But that was the only first down the Bulldogs managed in their first two chances. Four plays after that mild feat, Kyle Zimmerman booted a 50-yard punt to Davis who dodged a couple of tacklers inside the LSU 25 before sprinting past all others clad in red and white on his way to the end zone. The 77-yard return gave LSU a 14-0 advantage with 8:17 remaining in the first quarter.


The LSU offense slowed down late in the first and early in the second quarter giving the Bulldogs chances to cut into the 14-0 Tiger lead. Place kicker Chastin West gave Fresno State its first points by drilling a 35-yard field goal with 6:19 remaining in the first half. The score ended a sharply executed 36-yard drive that consumed 3:42.


But the Bulldog score just lit a spark under the LSU offense, who drove 53 yards in nine plays on the next possession to give Colt David a chance to add three points to the scoreboard. David's 44-yard field goal into the south end zone with 2:21 remaining in the half reclaimed LSU's two-touchdown advantage.


The second half started inauspiciously for the Tigers as LSU managed no yards on the first drive of the game and were forced to bring Chris Jackson in to boot a mediocre punt to the Fresno 48.


The Bulldogs moved the ball inside the LSU 10-yard line in three plays before the LSU defense stiffened and forced a field goal try thanks largely to a five-yard tackle for a loss by cornerback Chevis Jackson on a third-and-goal at the 7-yard line. Chastin then cut the Tiger lead to 17-6 with a 29-yard field goal with 8:30 to play in the third quarter.


But, again, the Fresno score only seemed to inspire the Tiger offense to respond. This time, it was on a 21-yard touchdown run by Broussard, who cut through the Bulldog line untouched before running over a defensive back at the 15-yard line. The bruising touchdown run ended a six-play, 67-yard drive that ate 2:39 and gave LSU a 24-6 lead with 5:40 remaining in the third quarter.


"The offense played great and the special teams played great," Jackson said. "The defense also played great. We knew we couldn't take Fresno State lightly."


Fresno claimed possession at its 11-yard line on the ensuing drive and moved into LSU territory in six plays. But, LSU sacked Norton on three-straight plays starting at the Tiger 44 and the Bulldogs were forced to punt giving LSU another offensive chance starting at its 27 to start the fourth quarter.


Facing a third-and-15 at his 42 on the next drive, Russell found Bowe on a deep slant pass 20 yards down the field and Bowe dodged tacklers on his way to the south end zone.


The 58-yard touchdown grab was the 21st of Bowe's illustrious career, tying him with current Tampa Bay Buccaneer and former Tiger standout Michael Clayton for first place in career touchdown receptions at LSU. It also gave his team a 31-6 advantage with 13:13 remaining in the contest.


Another deep touchdown pass on LSU's next possession put the game farther out of reach as Russell calmly retreated into the pocket at his 30-yard line, set his feet and delivered a bullet to Davis in stride in the end zone with 9:28 remaining in the contest. David added the point after and LSU held a 38-6 lead as the thin crowd grew ever thinner. The touchdown ended a five play, 77-yard drive.


"The defense has gone nine quarters without a touchdown," Miles said. "They are playing extremely well. It was nice to see Buster Davis play well. Fresno was probably one of the best teams we've played here and beaten significantly. I feel like going into the open week was just what we needed. I liked Alley Broussard. I like Jacob Hester and the things he gives us. Not a bad outing."

Tiger Blitz Top Stories