Lee, Jefferson give No. 1 LSU threatning QB duo
No need for an LSU quarterback controversy when coach Les Miles can seamlessly fit both Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson into the Tigers' offense.
Lee's arm helped top-ranked LSU take control in the Tigers' 38-7 win against Tennessee on Saturday, and Jefferson's feet eliminated any chances of a comeback by the Volunteers.
''I liked using both quarterbacks,'' Miles said. ''I think that's what's best, what we need to do. I think both guys can do different things, and we like to do that. We will continue to do that. There is a want for both guys to have success.''
Lee finished 10 of 14 for 115 yards, two touchdowns and an interception-free game. Jefferson had 73 of the Tigers' 260 yards rushing, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
With both quarterbacks playing well, the Tigers (7-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) have yet another weapon on their balanced offense heading into potentially decisive SEC West games against No. 19 Auburn and No. 2 Alabama.
''We've been in this system for a long time now, and we both understand how it needs to be done,'' Lee said. ''If our numbers are called, we just know we need to come in with that opportunity, and that's what we're doing right now. We're winning ball games, and we need to keep working hard.''
Lee has been efficient in his seven starts this season - the most starts he's had since stumbling through his freshman campaign. He's been far more efficient this time around, with 10 touchdowns, one interception and an average 151.7 yards on 61.4 percent passing.
Miles has been working Jefferson back into the offense since his four-game suspension stemming from an August bar fight. Jefferson was reinstated on Sept. 28 after a grand jury reduced his felony second-degree battery charge to a misdemeanor.
Jefferson made his first appearance of the season against Kentucky and rushed four times for 29 yards and a touchdown. He threw his first pass against Florida and finished with 61 yards passing and a touchdown.
''We're going to go just like we've gone,'' Miles said. ''It's going to be our offensive coaches' call and my call, and it's that simple.''
The Tigers' offense struggled at times against Tennessee's defense early in the game, but Lee was able to take advantage of short-field opportunities to get them on the board.
Morris Claiborne returned an interception 89 yards to the Tennessee 5. On second down, Lee hit Rueben Randle for a 5-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 14:56 in the second quarter.
Tennessee (3-3, 0-3) started the next drive on its own 11 and went backward. Odell Beckham Jr. returned Michael Palardy's 42-yard punt to the Tennessee 36.
On third-and-11 at the Vols 13, Tennessee blitz and Lee lobbed a screen pass to Spencer Ware, who went 13 yards for a score to give LSU a 14-0 lead with 10:01 in the second quarter. The Tigers' Drew Alleman tacked on an 18-yard field goal with 15 seconds before halftime.
After halftime, Jefferson split carries with running back Spencer Ware to help the Tigers grind out long, slow drives and keep the Vols off the field. On the first drive of the fourth quarter, Jefferson ran six times for 43 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown that gave LSU a 31-7 lead with 8:55 left.
''I think it was just a change of tempo and a change of pace,'' Lee said. ''It gave Tennessee something more to worry about, so that's what we needed to do. We moved the ball down the field and scored, and if that's what needs to happen, that's what we're going to continue to do.''