No. 3 LSU 63, Idaho 14
LSU defenders had their hands in the air even before they
started celebrating interception returns for touchdowns.
Tigers safety Ronald Martin and defensive end Lavar Edwards each
snagged deflected passes and returned them for scores, helping No.
3 LSU pull away for a 63-14 victory over winless Idaho on Saturday
The victory gave LSU (3-0) an NCAA FBS record 40th-straight
non-conference regular season victory, surpassing Kansas State’s 39
from 1993-2003. LSU also set a Tiger Stadium mark with 20 straight
home wins, while extending its nation-long regular-season winning
streak to 16 games.
”Everybody can see that we can be a dominant football team,”
LSU coach Les Miles said.
While LSU extended winning streaks, No. 2 Southern Cal lost to
Stanford 21-14, a result that could move the Tigers up a spot in
the poll behind No. 1 Alabama, a 52-0 winner at Arkansas.
LSU intercepted Idaho’s Dominique Blackman four times. Martin, a
sophomore making his first start with Craig Loston getting the
night off, had two, both off deflections by cornerback Jalen
Collins. Both also resulted in touchdowns.
”The play by Collins really was the play,” Miles said of
Martin’s interceptions. ”That is pure textbook. … It’s that
safety playing the eyes of the quarterback that can be late to the
scene and make that interception. Those were big-time plays.”
Martin’s first interception was a diving catch at the Idaho 30,
setting up a six-play drive of all runs and ended with Alfred
Blue’s 3-yard score.
Martin made his second interception while balancing along the
sideline, then ran it back 45 yards for the score.
Martin said he intended to deliver a hit as he converged on the
ball when he saw it pop up off Collins’ hand.
”Once he tipped it and I saw daylight, after that, I was
gone,” Martin said. ”It was the tip-drill just like you learn in
Edwards’ interception came when he tipped the ball to himself at
the line of scrimmage, then lumbered to the outside, spinning away
from one would-be tackler to the delight of the Tiger Stadium crowd
before carrying another tackler across the goal line on a 23-yard
”Whenever I get the ball in my hands, especially being a
defensive lineman, we don’t get those opportunities too much,”
Edwards said. ”So whenever I get it, you know I try my hardest to
make sure I get” to the end zone.
The two defensive scores matched Idaho’s point total for the
”You have to be right all the time when you play somebody like
those guys,” Idaho coach Robb Akey said of LSU. ”When they made
those plays against us we couldn’t overcome those things in the
ballgame and that’s the bottom line.”
LSU’s offense showed plenty of punch despite several sloppy
first-half drives that had the crowd groaning a bit.
Zach Mettenberger completed 17 of 22 passes for 222 yards with
TD passes of 17 yards to Kadron Boone and 7 yards to Jarvis Landry.
Kenny Hilliard rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns – one of 71
yards – giving him six TDs this season.
Freshman running back Jeremy Hill made his LSU debut in the
fourth quarter and scored two short touchdowns.
Blackman was 23 of 36 for 174 yards and two TDs passes.
”I need to step up my game,” Blackman said. ”We have a lot to
prove. We came out here and competed with a great team. You have to
give it up to that defense. They hit me hard tonight and it was
Gary Walker had a 94-yard interception return for Idaho (0-3),
setting up the Vandals’ first touchdown.
Earlier in the week, Miles alluded to opening up the passing
attack in the Tigers’ final game before beginning their
Southeastern Conference schedule at Auburn next Saturday.
On LSU’s first offensive play, Mettenberger hit Russell Shepard
down the left sideline for 33 yards and soon after found Boone for
the receiver’s third TD of the season.
Shepard finished with three catches for 68 yards, while Odell
Beckham Jr. had four catches for 73 yards.
LSU was looking to take a three-TD lead when Mettenberger threw
an interception near an opponent’s goal line for the second time
this season. Walker caught it at the 1, but was caught by Beckham
at the LSU 5.
That set up Blackman’s 4-yard TD toss to Michael LaGrone.
Martin’s score made it 21-7, but Idaho drove 81 yards on seven
plays to pull to 21-14 on Blackman’s 22-yard scoring pass to Jahrie
Idaho then sacked Mettenberger twice to stall LSU’s next drive,
getting the ball back for a potential game-tying drive on its own
That’s when the Vandals got the Death Valley jitters, committing
three straight false starts before punting from their end zone.
Mettenberger closed the half with his scoring strike to Landry
to make it 28-14.
”That slow start in the first half I put on myself,”
Mettenberger said. ”We knew that my mistake really cost us in the
first half and we knew we just had to go out and play LSU football
in the second half and turn things around.”