REPORT CARD: LSU vs. Middle Tennessee

Perhaps the most disappointing moment of LSU's 44-0 win over Middle Tennessee State was when Tiger Stadium Public Address Announcer Dan Borné uttered the final score of the Alabama-Arkansas game and the score of the USC-Nebraska contest.

Honestly, the Tigers dominance of Middle Tennessee State reminded most of LSU's first two performances of the season, games that caused the student section to chant "We're No. 1!" following last Saturday's victory. Perhaps their chant should instead mimic that of Bill Murray in the movie Meatballs…


"It just doesn't matter."


Regardless of what team has suited up to oppose LSU, it simply hasn't mattered. The Tigers have made them all look the same.


LSU currently has a four-game streak of scoring 40-plus points that dates back to last season's stomping of Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. The last time LSU had a three-game streak of scoring 40-plus points in consecutive games began when Matt Flynn got his first start in the 2005 Peach Bowl and the Tigers opened up 2006 with duel 45-3 victories.


So just how unprecedented is it that LSU has opened this year with three consecutive 40-plus point wins? Well, just for some perspective, the last time LSU scored that many points in three consecutive games in the same season was to start the 1930 schedule. LSU beat S.D. Wesleyan, 76-0; Louisiana Tech, 71-0; and Southwestern Louisiana, 85-0, to kick things off.


For those who are too young to have experienced LSU football in the late 1980s and the bulk of the 1990s, you have no idea all that you have to be thankful for since the start of the millennium.





So, if you had been told that LSU was going to play three quarterbacks, none of them was going to be Matt Flynn, and one would be a transfer from Harvard, what would your predicted outcome have been?


Ryan Perrilloux didn't disappoint in his debut as a starter, completing 20-of-25 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. Other than an ill-advised pass into double coverage in the end zone, the only knock against him really was an interception that looked like it was intended all along for the defense. But Perrilloux's very next pass was a 62-yard beauty to Demetrius Byrd for a touchdown.


Young receivers stepped up, rushers combined for 200 yards, there were over 500 total yards, and eight of the Tigers first 10 possessions resulted in scores. LSU did show it was somewhat human by turning the ball over twice.







Offense, schmoffense.


The last time an LSU defense started the season by giving up 2.3 points or less per game over the first three games of a season was 1959. That team gave up one point per game in a similar span, allowing a field goal in game one and then shutting out its next two opponents. It also only gave up nine points total through seven games. The 2007 team may not do that, but last Saturday they made it look like a possibility.


Middle Tennessee State ended the night with 90 yards total. At halftime, the Blue Raiders amassed a miniscule 26 yards on 25 plays. When your team is sacked six times and its drive chart consists of seven possessions of three or fewer plays before giving the ball back to the other team, that tends to be the case.


Middle Tennessee State didn't get past the Tigers 37 yard line and averaged a "whopping" 1.7 yards per play for the night.







Punter Patrick Fisher's services were needed just once against the Blue Raiders. He finally got to punt with 7:27 to go in the fourth quarter and hit a 41-yard boot.


Both Colt David and Andrew Crutchfield sent all kickoffs to at least Middle Tennessee State's seven yard line, and none were returned for more than 21 yards. David hit on all three of his field goal attempts, even going so far as to clip the left upright on one for dramatic purposes.


Honestly, the only real flub in the special teams department last Saturday that was overt was Jared Mitchell's muffed punt. Even then, however, starting linebacker and special teams player Ali Highsmith recovered for LSU.


Other than when they intercepted Perrilloux, Middle Tennessee State's best starting field position of the night was at its own 29 yard line, and that was on their opening possession.







Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Tigers last Saturday night was the fact that it didn't look like they got lazy after the win over Virginia Tech. Regardless of whom the opponent is LSU is coming prepared to play. That statement has a lot more significance after the win over Middle Tennessee State.


Considering the fact that Flynn was out, Perrilloux was making his first start, Doucet was out, and the back-ups looked just as impressive as the starters on defense, LSU's domination of the Blue Raiders was made all the more impressive.


Once more the gameplan was solid, the players executed it with much precision and accuracy and, unlike with some other coaches, taping opposing teams' signals or getting extremely favorable calls from the officials in the end were completely unnecessary for Les Miles, Bo Pelini, Gary Crowton, and the remainder of the staff.



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