BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- A weak opponent made LSU look like
Tigers coach Nick Saban wasn't fooled.
Last week's bumbling quarterbacks looked unstoppable Saturday
night, the running game worked, the defense was stifling and the
Tigers (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 AP) beat up Arkansas State 53-3.
Still, Saban isn't comfortable with his team -- not with
Southeastern Conference action and Auburn coming up next week.
"We've got an SEC game and the players have got to be able to
do whatever they need to do to help this team get better," Saban
said. "I'm sure in watching the film we'll have a lot of work and
corrections to make. We're playing a good football team and we've
got to get ready for that."
The defending BCS champs showed no sign of the struggle that
left them scrambling to beat Oregon State in overtime in their
The offense rolled up 461 total yards and scored the first six
times it touched the football. The Tigers scored every possession
of the first half until they sent in third-string quarterback Matt
Flynn in the final minutes of the first half. By that time LSU
(2-0) was up 37-0 so it didn't matter.
Marcus Randall started and completed 5 of 7 for 59 yards and a
touchdown. JaMarcus Russell came in late in the first quarter and
completed 7 of 10 for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Neither was
sacked or intercepted.
"Coming in, coach told us that execution was the key," Russell
said. "I think we just did a better job executing this week."
Justin Vincent rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 13
carries. Joseph Addai had 95 yards and a touchdown on seven
"Having such an effective running attack really helped our
passing game," Randall said. "We were able to throw all our
routes all night long."
In the fourth quarter Saban sent Flynn, a redshirt freshman,
back in and went to the bench for players that normally get little
or no game time. The only LSU score was a 33-yard field goal by
The Indians (0-2) lost 52-20 last week at Missouri. They are
1-42-3 all-time against current members of the SEC. The only win
came against Ole Miss in 1915.
"We did some good things, but not enough of them," Arkansas
State coach Steve Roberts said. "This was a very, very strong LSU
team. They played extremely well."
Arkansas State, which had 438 yards in offense against Missouri,
had 201 against LSU.
"That is the kind of football we want to play," LSU defensive
end Marcus Spears said. "We executed well, but we still had too
many penalties. You can never get satisfied."
Nick Noce completed 9 of 18 for 147 yards. Devin Hollins was
"It's tough as an offense to try to get started against a great
team like LSU," Noce said. "It's going to take time to get on the
board because their defense is very strong."
Chuck Walker had three receptions for 113 yards.
The Tigers were up 23-0 after one quarter. They scored on the
opening drive, going 54 yards in six plays and 54 seconds. Vincent
ran it the final 5-yards to put the Tigers up 7-0.
On the ensuing kick, Vincent forced a fumble and Ali Highsmith
recovered it on the Arkansas State 9. Three plays later Randall hit
Corey Webster for a 6-yard touchdown. LSU led 13-0.
Webster, the Tigers' starting cornerback, also played receiver
and returned punts.
On the Tigers' third possession Randall hit Dwayne Bowe for an
18-yard touchdown only to have it nullified by a holding call. They
settled for a 34-yard field goal by Chris Jackson, making it 16-0.
LSU added another touchdown, a 32-yard pass from Russell to
The closest the Indians got to scoring was a 37-yard field goal
attempt that sailed wide right.
In the second quarter, Russell hit Bowe for a 24-yard touchdown
that made it 30-0. Then Addai ran for a 12-yard touchdown that made
it 37-0 at the break.
Arkansas State opened the second half with a 69-yard drive
fueled by a 40-yard pass from Noce to Walker. The Indians drove to
the LSU 5 before the Tigers' defense kicked in and Noce was sacked
for a 12-yard loss. Eric Neihouse made a 34-yard field goal to pull
Arkansas State to 37-3.
The Tigers scored on a 22-yard run by Vincent to make it 43-3.
They added another TD when Highsmith intercepted Noce and
returned it 10 yards, fumbled and Travis Daniels picked it up and
scored on a 1-yard run.