By Chris Macaluso
Special to LSUsports.net
BATON ROUGE -- In a story very similar to one that’s been told four times previously this season, LSU hosted an inferior opponent on a Saturday in Tiger Stadium and beat the tar out of them.
The victim this time was Kentucky, who was beaten soundly in every single facet of the game in a 49-0 LSU romp Saturday night.
The Wildcats had offered some resistance to opponents so far this season and even beaten three out of six of them entering Saturday’s contest. But, Kentucky resembled a team stepping on the field for the first time against LSU.
The Tigers gouged the Wildcat defense for 546 total yards; 268 on the ground and 278 in the air. Meanwhile the LSU defense held Kentucky to 227 total yards and recorded its first shutout of the year.
The win improved LSU’s record to 5-2 overall and evened its conference record to 2-2 while Kentucky sank to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the SEC. LSU plays host to its last non-conference opponent of the season next week when Fresno State comes to Baton Rouge. Kentucky has two weeks to stew in the memories of Saturday’s drubbing before traveling to play a very winnable game at Mississippi State on October 28.
“This team (Kentucky) has played some teams very, very well,” LSU head coach Les Miles said. “So, for us to handle them as we did, this football team came out today in a fashion where they were needy. They needed victory.”
LSU was again led by its offensive star JaMarcus Russell who gave way to backups early in the third quarter after leading his team to its fifth touchdown in six possessions. Russell ended the game with 15 completions in 18 attempts for 226 yards and two touchdowns.
Jacob Hester started at tailback for the first time in his career and handled the rushing duties admirably in the first half with 44 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. He eventually gave way to Charles Scott, who rushed nine times for 58 yards. Scott eventually gave way to Keiland Williams who rushed eight times for 47 yards.
Kentucky quarterback Andre’ Woodson was battered and beaten by the aggressive LSU defense most of the night and was limited to 14 completions on 37 attempts for 151 yards and one interception. He had thrown for more than 200 yards in five of his six previous games and thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game so far this year.
Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks said he knew the LSU defense was very good and his team did little to counter the Tiger defensive attack.
“It’s hard to understand that they’re (LSU) sitting here with two losses at this point because they’ve got some really good players,” he said. “They can throw it. They can run it. And, their defense was as good as advertised.”
LSU scored the first opportunity it had by driving straight at Kentucky with an eight play march that featured three passes by Russell and five runs by Hester. The drive was buoyed by an interference and personal foul penalty whistled against Kentucky on the punt that moved LSU’s starting field position from inside its 15-yard line to the 29-yard line. Hester carried the ball for the last time in the drive from the Wildcat 7-yard line to give LSU a touchdown advantage with 8:56 to play in the first quarter.
The Tigers scored from seven-yards out again a little more than 4:00 later when Russell scrambled right and found a wide-open Dwayne Bowe in the back of the north endzone. The pass capped a six-play, 63-yard drive that lasted just 2:30 and was highlighted by a 30-yard reverse by diminutive speedster Trindon Holiday. The Colt David point after gave LSU a 14-0 advantage with 4:50 to play in the opening quarter.
Bowe was Russell’s favorite target, hauling in six passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns.
Hester scored again the next time LSU touched the football, this time on a 4-yard jaunt into the south endzone early in the second quarter. He scampered untouched on the last play of a nine-play, 61 yard drive that consumed 5:00 and gave LSU an overwhelming 21-0 lead with 12:55 to play in the first half.
Not wanting to bore the home crowd with drives longer than five plays all night, LSU scored on its next possession in just two plays. Russell passed for 15 yards to tight end Richard Dixon on the first, then 48 yards to Bowe on the second to give LSU a four-touchdown advantage. The pass to Bowe was Russell’s 10th completion of the game in 10 attempts for 165 yards and the two touchdown passes to Bowe. The David kick gave LSU a 28-0 lead with 8:59 to play.
Kentucky had a brief glimpse at a scoring chance late in the second quarter when a poor punt by LSU gave the Wildcats a first down at the Tiger 32. But, the Tiger defense stiffened and held the Wildcats without a yard and forced a turnover on downs.
The pile on continued on the first possession of the second half as LSU scored against the Wildcats in just four plays seemingly without breathing hard. Scott scooted for 38 yards on the first play of the drive and Early Doucet moved from receiver to quarterback to scoot for 12 yards on the drive’s last play. Doucet skipped into the south endzone untouched, ending a four-play drive that traveled 65 yards in 1:57 and gave LSU a 35-0 lead with 12:59 remaining in the third quarter.
LSU switched to back up quarterback Matt Flynn on its next possession but the result was exactly the same. Except for a one-yard loss on a sack on the drive’s first play, Flynn seamlessly guided LSU on a 43-yard scoring effort, completing passes to Bowe when Scott wasn’t carrying the ball. Bowe reeled in a 23-yard completion two plays before catching an eight-yard pass for his third touchdown of the night. The easy score staked the Tigers to a 42-0 advantage with 8:28 remaining in the third quarter.
The Wildcats sought to redeem themselves a bit on the ensuing possession by driving inside the LSU 15-yard line thanks to a 38-yard completion by Woodson to Keenan Burton. But, the Tigers took the scoring chance away on a 3rd-and-6 play when cornerback Jonathan Zenon tipped a pass away from Burton and defensive tackle Tyson Jackson picked the ball out of the air at the 2-yard line.
Kentucky knocked at the LSU goal line again after the Tigers failed to move the ball past their 5-yard line after the interception. Woodson connected with Dicky Lyons on a 27-yard pass to set up a first down at the LSU 14. But, the Tigers swarmed again on defense and the Wildcat drive ended at the LSU 7 when a Woodson pass fell incomplete on fourth down.
This time, the Tigers drove the length of the field after taking over deep in their territory. Flynn claimed the drive’s big play with a 27-yard scramble to set up a 1st-and-goal at the Wildcat 2-yard line. Flynn threw his second touchdown pass of the contest on the next play, finding fullback Shawn Jordan who curled out of the backfield to the goal line. The short pitch and catch capped a nine-play drive that traversed 92 yards of turf in 2:53 and gave LSU a 49-0 lead with 13:05 remaining.
“We started fast,” Miles said. “We came out and scored quickly. The defense played well. We had the balance that we are looking for, both run and pass. We didn’t have a turnover. We played like we were supposed to. It’s nice to be back on track.”
LSU vs. Kentucky
Oct. 14, 2006 – Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)
1. LSU’s game captains were 7 Ali Highsmith, 19 Jonathan Zenon, 41 Chris Jackson and 77 Peter Dyakowski.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Kentucky received the opening kickoff.
a. LSU has won the toss in all seven games this season.
3. Tigers extending their consecutive starts streak today were: FS LaRon Landry (42), CB Chevis Jackson (20), DE Chase Pittman (13).
4. With Jacob Hester’s seven-yard run on the first possession for the Tigers, LSU has now scored on its first possession in six of the seven games this season. The loss at Auburn was the only game this season the Tigers did not score on their first possession.
5. LSU has outscored its opponents 87-7 in the first quarter this season. Florida is the only team to dent the scoreboard in the first quarter against LSU.
6. LSU has outscored its opponents 143-6 in the first half at home this season, including the 28-0 score tonight.
7. LSU has recorded at least one sack in 13 straight games after a second quarter sack by Tyson Jackson in tonight’s game. The last time LSU’s defense did not record a sack was against North Texas last season.
8. Tonight’s attendance of 92,148 is the seventh largest in Tiger Stadium history.
9. LSU has recorded at least one interception in eight straight games after a third quarter interception by Tyson Jackson. The last time the Tigers failed to intercept a pass was against Georgia in the 2005 SEC Championship game.
10. LSU has scored at least 40 points in five games this season marking the second time in modern-day history the Tigers have accomplished the feat (45 vs. ULL, 45 vs. Arizona, 49 vs. Tulane, 48 vs. Mississippi State and 49 tonight). The 2003 team also reached the 40-point plateau in five games.
11. With the 49-0 blanking, LSU shutout an SEC opponent for the first time since defeating Mississippi State by a score of 51-0 in 2004.
a. It is also the first shutout by LSU in all games since blanking Appalachian State, 24-0, last season.
b. The Tigers pitched their second straight shutout against Kentucky in Tiger Stadium. LSU has outscored the Wildcats 83-0 in the last two meetings in Tiger Stadium, which includes a 34-0 win in 2000.
12. The Tigers have outscored their opponents in home games this season by a margin of 236-30.
13. LSU racked up 546 yards of total offense – the most by the team in an SEC contest since recording 599 yards against Mississippi State on Sept. 30, 2004.
14. With a tackle early in the first quarter, FS LaRon Landry extended his tackles in consecutive games streak. The senior has now made a tackle in 46 straight games.
15. RB Jacob Hester scored his fifth and sixth rushing touchdown of the season and the seventh and eighth of his career on a seven-yard run with 8:56 left in the first quarter and a four-yard run with 12:55 left in the second quarter.
a. With his two rushing TDs tonight, Hester recorded the first multiply rushing TD game of his career. Overall, this is his Hester’s second multi-touchdown game of the season. He scored a rushing and receiving TD against Arizona.
16. With four PATs tonight, PK Colt David has extended his consecutive successful PAT streak to 62 straight. The streak puts him into third place in school history.
17. WR Dwayne Bowe pulled in an 11-yard reception in the first quarter to extend his consecutive games with a reception streak to 19 straight games.
a. Bowe pulled in two TD passes from JaMarcus Russell in the first half and one from Matt Flynn in the third quarter. The first was a seven-yard pass with 4:50 left in the first quarter and the second was a 48-yard pass with 8:59 left in the second quarter. His third score was a eight-yard pass with 8:28 left in the third. The scores were Bowe’s fourth, fifth and sixth receiving TDs of the season and 18th, 19th and 20th of his career.
b. Bowe’s three TD receptions in tonight moved the senior into second-place on LSU’s career receiving list with 20. He trails record-holder Michael Clayton by one TD now.
c. Bowe became the first LSU WR to catch three touchdowns in a game since Devery Henderson pulled in three at Kentucky on Nov. 9, 2002.
d. Bowe’s 48-yard reception in the second quarter was the longest catch of his career.
e. Bowe’s 111 receiving yards tonight marks the second highest total of his career and gives him his third 100-yard receiving game of his career. His career-high is 122 yards against Iowa in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.
18. QB JaMarcus Russell tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Bowe with 4:50 left in the first quarter and a 47-yard strike to Bowe with 8:59 left in the second quarter. The TD passes are his 12th and 13th of the season and the 36th and 37th of his career.
a. The Russell-to-Bowe duo have now teamed up for 17 pass-catch touchdowns, moving the pair within four of the school record held by Tommy Hodson-to-Wendell Davis.
b. Russell moved into a tie for third in career TD passes at LSU with his two tonight. The junior has 37 during his career, tying him with Matt Mauck.
c. Russell finished the night 15-18 for 226 yards and two scores. With his 226 yards, the junior became the fifth QB in LSU history to pass for at least 5,000 yards. He now has 5,196 in his career.
d. Russell also moved into fifth place on LSU’s career completions list with 381 and fifth place on LSU’s career pass attempts list with 629.
19. With a tackle in the first quarter, SS Jessie Daniels extended his tackles in consecutive games streak. The senior has now made a tackle in 36 straight games.
20. WR Craig Davis pulled in a 32-yard reception in the first quarter to extend his consecutive games with a reception streak to 30 (every game in which he has played).
21. WR Early Doucet scored the second rushing touchdown of his career on a 12-yard run with 12:59 left in the third quarter.
22. QB Matt Flynn tossed his first and second touchdown passes of the season, a eight-yard strike to Dwayne Bowe with 8:28 left in the third quarter and a two-yard pass to Shawn Jordan with 13:05 left in the fourth quarter. Flynn has now thrown 10 TD passes in his career.
23. DE Tyson Jackson recorded the first interception of his career with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
24. FB Shawn Jordan pulled in a two-yard touchdown pass from Matt Flynn with 13:05 left in the fourth quarter. The reception was the first offensive statistic recorded by Jordan in his career.
LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES QUOTES
"We started fast. We came out and scored quickly. The defense played well. We had the balance that we are looking for, both run and pass. We didn’t have a turnover. We played like we are supposed to. It's nice to be back on track. We are looking forward to another opponent. Hopefully, some how, in some way we can get back in this thing."
On Buster Davis...
"He sure did look like he was comfortable back there, didn’t he? He will get the opportunity to do that again. He responds well. We have been working with him, and he kind of jumped in this thing a little earlier than three weeks ago. He was getting better and more comfortable and it looked like he wanted to try it. I think the opportunities were certainly there. He came in and showed that he was capable. I don't think that changes anything. I think we still have to have every able body ready to do that in key contests. You never know when you might need another guy."
On how the defense responded after last week's loss...
"I think the defense played pretty well last week, and I think they played pretty well this week. It's a different challenge. This team has played some teams very very well. So, for us to handle them as well as we did, this football team came out today in a fashion where they were needy. They needed victory. You could see how they played that they were not going to be denied tonight."
LSU DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
On tonight’s shutout...
“The defense came out and played well. We had to come out and redeem ourselves. We communicated a lot during practice and the offensive came out and did just as well. That’s what you have to do, you have to execute and that is what makes a good game.”
On the loss to Florida...
"It’s hard to get over, but I mean you have to move on. It’s a new week and a whole preparation for another team. Trying to get over a loss it helps to get a feel of the next team and hopefully take it out on them."
On the upcoming Fresno State game...
"I mean we are going to do like we do every week, work hard and play hard. We take it day by day and week by week."
On the sacks...
“We jus try to contain the quarterback as much as we can and be as mobile as possible. We try our best to keep them in the pocket while putting pressure on them at the same time.”
On the line of scrimmage...
“We try to catch the rhythm when they were making calls at the line our defensive line picked it up pretty good and we just echo it across the defense and pick it up from there.”
On his interception...
“We worked on that play through the whole week with the two defensive ends dropping back on the coverage ad the safety coming to take the defensive ends spot. It just happened that way. Once I put my hands on it I knew I was going to catch it.”
LSU OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
RB JACOB HESTER
On the game...
“I think we came out and proved that we are still a good team and still in the hunt. We have been close in all the games except one, so we knew what we had to do against a good team like Kentucky.”
On tough it was to put the Florida game behind them...
“It is tough anytime you lose especially when we felt like we had a chance to win going into the game. We have to focus on next week because every team we face is going to be tough down the road.”
On how the offense played tonight...
“We needed a performance like this. We showed that we can still put a lot of points on the board and what we are capable of on offense.”
On the Fresno game next week...
“It seems like every time they play USC that they play them tight. We know they got some fire power so we just have to treat them like any other game because we don’t want any more loses on our record.”
On what this win means to the team...
“It was good that we got our feet back under us. We have to go out there and execute no matter what the situation is. This win really brought our spirits up and gave the fans a nice show.”
On how the offense played tonight...
“It is always good when you can get things going in the running and passing game. You never know when something might go wrong, so it is good to have that balance.”
On his performance tonight...
“I think I did pretty well, but there are some things I would like to have back. As far as the whole I think it went well.”
WR Dwayne Bowe...
On playing so well at home...
“It doesn’t matter who we play at home. We always keep in our mind that we are always facing a good defense. That way we are always are on top of our game. It doesn’t matter what the statistics say.”
On being the first LSU receiver since Devery Henderson to catch three touchdowns in a game...
“I don’t really worry about things like that. I just go out there and do my job and catch the football. I didn’t know it had been that long, but now I guess I have to strive for four touchdowns.”
Kentucky Head coach Rich Brooks Quotes
“Injury update – (Joe) Schuler got a ding in the head. He didn’t finish. David Jones got an elbow (injury); x-rays were negative. (Jason) Leger got a foot (injury) and couldn’t finish; the x-ray was negative. Braxton Kelley sprained an ankle as did Tony Dixon, and (Michael) Aitcheson had a knee and an ankle (injury). At this point I don’t think any of them are real serious. (Myron) Pryor was able to play along with (Lamar) Mills, but they obviously weren’t a hundred percent. We played a very, very poor football game against a very, very good football team, and the combination of that was not very pretty.”
On the play of his team ...
“Obviously we weren’t interested in playing, or we weren’t ready. And that’s my responsibility. Some of the things we’ve been doing very well all year long – our punt team was a disaster tonight; our kickoff return was a disaster. I’m sure that LSU spent a lot of time working on their kicking game after the breakdowns they had last week, plus we had been doing some good things in the kicking game. We obviously failed to do anything good tonight even the things that we had been doing well early. LSU is really a good football team. Like I said last week, it’s hard to understand that they’re sitting here with two losses at this point because they’ve got some really good players. They can throw it; they can run it, and their defense was as good as advertised - 209 yards a game, and we didn’t dent that.”
On the play of LSU’s offense ...
“We didn’t stop them. They just took it right down the field and just gashed us. The reverse again hurts us. We’re a team that doesn’t play the reverse well. Every time a team runs it, we’re in man coverage, and they get us right in it. They threw the ball at will on us. We were not covering tightly. We were not rushing the passer well. That combination is deadly against with as much talent and with a quarterback who can do the things that this guy (JaMarcus Russell) can do.”
KENTUCKY OFFENSIVE PLAYERS
WR DICKY LYONS, JR.
On not playing with their hearts...
"If that’s what coach says, then that's what he says. I played my heart out. This was a game I wanted to play hard. They capitalized on my mistakes, but we didn’t capitalize on any of theirs and that’s how they won the football game. They're a good football team, don’t get me wrong. I've played against a lot of them and their all five-star athletes. We made them look better than they are."
On the possibility of an upset...
"That's all the coaches talked about before the game they talked about all the upsets. We wanted our chance at our upset, but we didn’t capitalize on it. We blew our chance."
KENTUCKY DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
LB JOE SCHULER
On the game...
"From the beginning it was a slow start. We obviously didn’t come to play today. It was a tough loss but we have to bounce back from it."
On how LSU dominated early...
"Obviously it’s the LSU defense. It’s a lack of focus on our part. We have to take what we can from this game. This is an off week so we need to regroup, refocus, and get back to work."