Tigers Prevail

LSU junior wide receiver Terrance Toliver caught two touchdowns and setup a third, as the 11th-ranked Tigers fought past Washington, 31-23, on Saturday night in Husky Stadium.

LSU junior wide receiver Terrance Toliver caught two touchdowns and setup a third, as the 11th-ranked Tigers fought past Washington, 31-23, on Saturday night in Husky Stadium.

 

A crowd of 69,161 -- including about 10,000 LSU fans -- watched the Tigers first game on the West Coast in 25 years.

 

LSU (1-0) used a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown and a 45-yard touchdown catch and run by Toliver, who finished with four big catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns, to take a 17-13 halftime lead. Toliver added a 39-yard TD in the third quarter and a 25-yard catch that led to the Tigers’ final score.

 

The Tigers improved to 5-0 in season openers under head coach Les Miles, and 9-0 against Pac-10 teams since losing to Southern Cal in 1979.

 

Washington (0-1) lost for the 15th-straight time, the longest such streak in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.

 

LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson finished 11-of-19 passing for 172 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.

 

Charles Scott led the LSU running attack with 52 yards on 12 carries, while Keiland Williams finished with 51 yards on seven tries. Jefferson added 42 yards rushing.

 

Washington quarterback Jake Locker kept the Huskies close throughout, despite an interception for a touchdown that game LSU a lead it wouldn't give up. Locker was 25-of-45 for 321 yards and two touchdowns.

 

With 10:35 to play in the first quarter, Washington earned the first points of the season on a 17-yard reception by James Johnson, who shook off Chad Jones and scampered the final five yards to paydirt. The key play on the drive was a 51-yard catch and run by Johri Fogerson on third-and-12. Jocker picked up the LSU blitz, found his hot read and watched Fogerson sprint to the LSU 15 before being knocked out of bounds by cornerback Patrick Peterson. The 10 play, 85-yard drive gave the Huskies a 7-0 lead.

 

LSU's first three running plays tallied 40 yards and moved the Tigers into Huskies territory. A 12-yard completion to Brandon LaFell on third-and-7 gave the Tigers possession in the redzone. However, LSU wasn't able to pound the ball into the endzone from the 3-yard line and settled for a 24-yard field goal by Josh Jasper. After driving 62 yards in 12 plays, LSU cut the lead to 7-3.

 

On the next play from scrimmage, LSU linebacker Jacob Cutrera stepped in front of Locker's intended receiver, tipped the ball into the air and ran untouched for 29 yards to the east endzone. LSU led 10-7 with 5:29 left in the first quarter.

 

After driving 69 yards to the LSU 6, Washington's Chris Polk fumbled and Peterson recovered for LSU. The Tigers quickly went three-and-out, and newcomer Derek Helton's first punt as a Tiger was from his endzone.

 

Helton's 36-yard punt was returned 18 yards by Fogerson, who was unable to get past Helton to score. Though the Huskies couldn't manage a first down, Erik Folk tied the game at 10-10 with a 34-yard field goal with 13:50 left in the half.

 

The Tigers and Huskies traded possessions before the LSU offense earned its first big play of the year when Jefferson found Toliver uncovered in the middle of the field. Toliver dodged only the deep safety before finishing off a 45-yard touchdown reception, the longest TD pass of Jefferson's career.

 

LSU used two timeouts trying to get another possession late in the half, however, it backfired when Locker hit Devin Aguilar for a 46-yard gain to the LSU 20. After three incomplete passes, Washington cut into the LSU lead with a 37-yard field goal by Folk as time expired and it was LSU clinging to a 17-13 halftime lead.

 

The only advantage that the Tigers had in the half was on the scoreboard (17-13), as Washington rolled up 296 yards of total offense including 183 through the air.

 

LSU found some breathing room early in the second half as the Tigers moved 86 yards in nine plays, capped by another great play by Jefferson and Toliver.

 

With a three-step drop, Jefferson found Toliver one-on-one on the right side of the field. Toliver slipped the grasp of the cornerback and beat the safety to the endzone for a 39-yard touchdown reception that gave LSU a 24-13 lead with 5:50 to play in the third quarter.

 

The teams traded punts before Washington's Folk hooked a 42-yard field goal attempt with 10:50 to play in the game.

 

After a short punt by Helton, Washington again moved into LSU territory. This time, Folk made a 32-yard field goal with 5:24 to play to slice the advantage to eight, 24-16.

 

The LSU offense answered immediately, as Toliver's 25-yard reception setup a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jefferson to LaFell that gave the Tigers a 31-16 lead with 1:54 to play. Washington scored late to make it 31-23 but there wasn’t time for anything else and LSU held on for a 31-23 victory over the Huskies.

 

LSU returns to action on Sept. 12 when Vanderbilt comes to Tiger Stadium for LSU's 2009 home opener. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CDT on ESPN U.


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