Idaho fades against No. 3 LSU 63-14

Idaho fades against No. 3 LSU 63-14

Published Sep. 16, 2012 2:35 a.m. ET

From Dominique Blackman's two scoring passes to Gary Walker's 94-yard interception return, the winless Idaho Vandals did enough to illicit some anxious groans from the fans in Tiger Stadium.

If only that was anywhere near enough against No. 3 LSU.

The Tigers returned two interceptions for scores and pulled away in the second half for a 63-14 victory over the winless Vandals on Saturday night.

''Their size and mass, it overcame us and we weren't stepping up at the end of the game,'' said Idaho coach Robb Akey, who despite the loss saw signs that the Vandals (0-3) will have a chance to win some games in the Western Athletic Conference.


''There ain't nobody in the WAC like those cats,'' Akey said of the Tigers. ''If we can compete against those guys for half of a game, we're going to beat people that are more like us.''

Blackman was 23 of 36 for 174 yards, but was intercepted four times.

''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 fun.''

Tigers safety Ronald Martin and defensive end Lavar Edwards each snagged deflected passes and returned them for scores.

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 extended 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

Martin had two interceptions, 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.

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 return.

''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 night.

''You have to be right all the time when you play somebody like those guys,'' 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.''

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.

LSU was looking to take a 21-0 lead when Walker intercepted Mettenberger at the 1 and rumbled to the LSU 5 before Beckham caught him.

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 Level.

Idaho then sacked Mettenberger twice to stall LSU's next drive, getting the ball back for a potential game-tying drive on its own 12.

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.