by Chris Macaluso
Special to LSUsports.net
BATON ROUGE -- Louisiana Tech and LSU played for the first time since 1941 Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. LSU won that game 62 years ago 25-0.
While much has changed since, it looked as if the LSU football team picked up where it left off more than half a century ago by pounding the Bulldogs 49-10 as a sell-out homecoming crowd looked on.
"Obviously that's a very pleasing win for us," said LSU head coach Nick Saban. "We played pretty well on both sides of the ball."
The Tigers (8-1) put to shame their last two impressive offensive games, against South Carolina and Auburn respectively, by erupting for 653 total yards, the most by any Tiger team since 1987. LSU scored all of its 49 points in the first half in a whirlwind of long runs and long passes that left Louisiana Tech coaches and players astounded as their record quickly sank to 4-5.
"That was just a fantastic football team we played," said Louisiana Tech coach Jack Bicknell of LSU. "If they're not the best team in the country, I'd be shocked. I just feel like the speed out there was unbelievable. We (Louisiana Tech) played Miami and I promise you I feel like they're better than Miami."
Ruston High School graduates, safety Jack Hunt and defensive tackle Kyle Williams, rudely welcomed their hometown Bulldogs to Tiger Stadium by each intercepting Louisiana Tech quarterback Luke McCown in the first quarter. McCown completed 11-28 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown to help move him into fourth place in total yards from scrimmage in NCAA history with 12,170 career yards.
But it was Tiger quarterback Matt Mauck who grabbed the attention of the crowd by completing his first 14 passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns. Mauck's set a career mark in passing with 311 for the game and tied a school record for consecutive completions.
Louisiana Tech took the opening kick but was forced to punt after picking up a couple of first downs giving LSU the chance to score on its opening possession for the second-straight week. Mauck found a wide-open Michael Clayton 34 yards down the west sideline for a touchdown to cap a four-play drive that lasted just 1:15. The point after gave LSU a 7-0 lead less than 5:00 into the contest.
LSU scored again less than 10 minutes later as freshman tailback Justin Vincent scampered seven yards untouched to cap a 96-yard, eight play drive in which Mauck completed three passes for yards, including 18 and 20 yarders to Clayton. Ryan Gaudet added the point after to give the Tigers a 14-0 advantage. Mauck finished the first quarter a perfect 9-9 passing for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs handed the Tigers their next scoring chance as McCown's screen pass attempt was tipped in the air by cornerback Corey Webster and intercepted by Williams at the Louisiana Tech 19-yard line. Mauck found Skyler Green open in the middle of the endzone three plays later to give LSU a three-touchdown advantage in the first quarter for the second-straight week.
Apparently Hunt didn't think a three-touchdown, first-quarter lead was enough however, as he helped give LSU a 28-0 advantage with 2:58 to play in the first quarter by returning a McCown interception 29 yards on Tech's ensuing drive.
Not wanting to be outdone by the defense, LSU's offense added to the lead with 14:47 left in the first half when Mauck hit a wide-open Devery Henderson in stride for a 46-yard touchdown completion capping a three-play drive that lasted just 30 seconds. The long score increased LSU's lead to 35-0.
Louisiana Tech scored its first points on the ensuing drive when Josh Scobee drove a 29- yard field goal through the uprights and into the north endzone stands with 11:57 to play in the second quarter. The field goal came at the end of a seven-play 80-yard drive for the Bulldogs in which tailback Ryan Moats rushed for 85 yards.
LSU responded when Mauck and Henderson shrugged off their earlier touchdown hook-up in favor of a 50-yard pass and catch to put the Tigers up 42-3 with 9:28 left in the first half. The bomb finished another very short Tiger drive. LSU used just 2:29 to travel 80 yards in six plays. Henderson finished the game with 96 yards receiving but was overshadowed by Green who hauled in 103 yards of passes on nine catches. Clayton had four receptions for 85 yards and his touchdown.
The Tigers changed their approach but not their pace on their next scoring drive as tailbacks Joseph Addai and Alley Broussard attacked the Bulldog defense on the ground. The 66-yard drive was composed of six-straight running plays that consumed a mere 2:22.
Broussard ended the march with a 22-yard scamper to help the Tigers to a 49-3 lead with 5:57 left in the first half.
Tech's Ryan Moats led all rushers with 124 yards on 16 carries but his performance was overshadowed by the combination of Broussard, Justin Vincent, Barrington Edwards and Addai, who played for the first time since injuring his knee Oct. 11 against Florida.
The four Tiger tailbacks combined for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs appeared poised to score the first points of the second half after a 67-yard catch and run could have given Louisiana Tech a first down at the Tiger one yard line. But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed that first and goal to a first down and 10 at the LSU 16-yard line. Then, an 11-yard loss on a sack of McCown by Tiger safety LaRon Landry on third down forced the Bulldogs to try a 46-yard field goal that Scobee pushed wide left.
But persistence paid off for Tech as McCown found wide receiver Eric Newman open behind the Tiger defense for a 49-yard touchdown pass on the Bulldog's next drive. The play was the fourth in a 71-yard march that consumed just 1:05 and cut the LSU lead to 49-10 with Scobee's extra point.
LSU returns to action in two weeks in a Southeastern Conference showdown at Alabama. Louisiana Tech plays host SMU next week.
LSU vs. Louisiana Tech
Nov. 1, 2003 -- Tiger Stadium
- LSU's game captains are SS Jack Hunt, QB Matt Mauck, LB Dave Peterson, DT Torran Williams and LB Jason LeDoux.
- Louisiana Tech won the toss and has elected to receive to begin the game.
- OT Rodney Reed (43 straight), DT Chad Lavalais (30 straight), OG Stephen Peterman (28 straight), OT Andrew Whitworth (22 straight), WR Michael Clayton (22 straight) and DE Marcus Spears (14 straight) all extended their consecutive games started streak.
- LSU's 28 points in the first quarter are the most the Tigers have scored in a quarter since scoring 35 in the third quarter against Rice on Sept. 24, 1977 in a 77-0 win in Tiger Stadium.
- LSU's 49 first-half points are the most the Tigers have scored in a half since scoring 56 in the second half at Tulane on Nov. 22, 1958 in a 66-0 victory.
- Tonight's homecoming court is Rachel Sherburne (public relations major from Montgomery, Ala.) and Steven Scales (mass communication major from Shreveport, La.).
- LSU's total offense of 653 yards is the highest since Sept. 2, 2000 when the Tigers had 680 against Western Carolina in the 2000 season opener. The 653 yards is also the highest against a Division I-A opponent since LSU had 664 versus Rice on Sept. 19, 1987 in Tiger Stadium.
- LSU's total passing yards of 365 are the most since the Tigers had 444 against Illinois in the 2002 Sugar Bowl.
- LSU improved to 51-25-3 all-time in homecoming games.
- WR Michael Clayton's 34-yard reception in the first quarter extended his consecutive games with a reception streak to 35 games, every game of his career.
- Clayton's 34-yard touchdown reception with 11:17 left in the first quarter was the 17th of the junior's career, moving him into a tie for third-place in LSU's career record list with Josh Reed and Ken Kavanaugh.
- QB Matt Mauck's 34-yard touchdown pass to Clayton with 11:17 left in the first quarter was the 25th of his career, moving the junior into a tie for seventh-place with Jeff Wickersham in LSU's career record book.
- That touchdown by Mauck to Clayton also moved Mauck into sixth-place in LSU's single-season record book with 16 touchdowns in 2003.
- DT Kyle Williams, a Ruston native, recorded his first career interception against his hometown team with 4:18 left in the first quarter on a tipped pass.
- QB Matt Mauck's 8-yard touchdown pass to Skyler Green with 3:19 left in the first quarter was the 26th of his career, moving him into sole possession of seventh-place in the LSU career record book. The touchdown pass also moved him into to tie for fifth in the single-season record book with 17 passes.
- SS Jack Hunt, also a Ruston native, scored his second career touchdown on a 29-yard interception return. It was Hunt's third interception of the season and second returned for a touchdown.
- Hunt is the first LSU player to return two interceptions for a touchdown in one season (one vs. ULM and Louisiana Tech) since Cedric Donaldson did so in 1997.
- WR Devery Henderson's 46-yard touchdown reception from Mauck on the second play of the second quarter moved the senior into fifth-place in LSU's career record book for receiving touchdowns. Henderson also moved into a tie for seventh-place for receiving touchdowns in a season with his eighth of the year.
- Mauck's touchdown to Henderson in the second quarter moved the quarterback into a tie for third in single-season touchdowns with 18 and he remains in seventh in career touchdown passes with 27.
- Mauck's three touchdown passes in one game marks the sixth-time in his career the junior quarterback has tossed three touchdowns in one game.
- WR Skyler Green's 9-yard reception midway through the second quarter was his seventh of the game, giving the sophomore his career high for receptions. He finished the game with 9 receptions for 103 yards.
- WR Devery Henderson's 50-yard touchdown reception from Matt Mauck with 9:28 left in the second quarter moves Henderson into a tie for fifth-place in LSU's career record book for receiving touchdowns. It also moves Henderson into a tie for fourth in the single-season receiving touchdown list.
- With that touchdown Mauck moved up into a tie for sixth-place in LSU's career passing touchdowns with 28. He also moved into a tie for second in single-season passing touchdowns with his 19th of the season.
- That touchdown pass by Mauck also tied the junior QB's career high for passing TDs with four. He also tossed four earlier this year against Western Illinois.
- WR Michael Clayton's 13-yard reception late in the second quarter moved the junior receiver into fourth-place in career receiving yards in LSU history. He needed 74 yards entering the game to pass Tony Moss and finished the game with 85 yards, giving him 2,208 career yards.
- QB Matt Mauck's 311 yards passing is a career high, surpassing his previous best of 305 against Western Illinois this season.
- QB Matt Mauck's completion percentage of .900 (18-20) ranks first among LSU quarterbacks having thrown at least 20 attempts in a single game. The previous record was held by Alan Risher (.818, 21-26, at Ole Miss on Oct. 31, 1981).
- QB Matt Mauck tied the LSU record for consecutive completions in a single game by hitting 14 straight passes to begin the game. He tied the record held by Chad Loop set vs. Arkansas on Nov. 27, 1993.
- WR Skyler Green's 20-yard reception late in the third quarter moved the sophomore receiver over 100 yards for the game, giving him his first 100-yard receiving game of his career. His 103 receiving yards for the game also marks his career high, surpassing his previous high of 92 set in last year's game against Arkansas.
LSU HEAD COACH NICK SABAN
"Obviously, that's a very pleasing win for us. I was very pleased with the way we played in the first half. We played pretty well on both sides of the ball. I think they had one big play in the first half, a running play and he's a pretty good back. I was very pleased with the way they played and competed. I always seems to get upset in these games when we get a ahead in the game and we play other guys in the game. I have a high standard or how I think they should perform and how they should play, but yet because they are backup players, sometimes they must not have the same standard. It always means the coach gets upset.
"They will understand that is a standard that we want them to play to as well. A lot of guys played very well today. Michael Clayton made a lot of plays. Allie ran the ball well. Matt played well. We had a chance for Marcus to play with the regular team on offense, the first team. We took those guys out and we didn't finish some drives in the second half, but it wasn't about scoring any more points, we were trying to make our team better by playing some of the players. We got an opportunity to do that and we are pleased about that. Defensively we gave up a few big plays, but other than that we played pretty well. We have a tremendous amount of respect for their offensive team and their skill guys. They have some great speed and some ability to make plays."
LSU OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
OT Rodney Reed
"These last three weeks we've had really good practices. Going into tonight seniors only had two more home games so we want to go out with a good taste in our mouths. We've got three more games and we've just got to take them one game at a time now, so it's just a one game season and we control our own destiny."
QB Matt Mauck
On the first half
"A lot of times quarterbacks get a lot of credit they don't deserve and they get a lot of blame they don't deserve. My teammates did such a good job, receivers getting open, line blocking. That really made it almost kind of easy for me. I didn't have to do a whole lot. They did most of the work.
"Everybody ran crisp routes, the line blocked well. It opens up a lot more.
On getting off to a good start
"These last three games, which we've come out and played well, we've really gotten off to a good start. Tonight the only disappointment is that maybe we could have come out in the second half and performed as well as we did in the first half.
WR Michael Clayton
On the team's recent success
"It's correcting our mistakes. Early in the season we saw a lot of things. It wasn't really mistakes that other teams were making. It was mistakes that we were making that we could prevent. We just worked on those things and critique those things and now it's starting to come along. That's what practice is for. We just get better in every practice. We use that time to really build our passing game. Matt's done a great job."
LSU DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
DT Kyle Williams
On his 1st quarter interception
"I read the screen well, and when Travis (Daniels) hit him, the ball just popped straight up in the air. I think it was just one of those luck things. I was just kind of sitting there waiting on it, you know, seems like it was in the air forever. I think I had a little help holding the ball up because I can't catch, so it had to hang up there for a while for me to get my hands on it. It was a good play, and I got a little pumped up after that."
On beating Louisiana Tech
"We talked about that early in the week. This game was special to me, you know, it's my hometown and playing against some friends. It was definitely special being able to play my hometown team I grew up watching and everything, and just coming away with a good victory."
SS Jack Hunt
On getting an interception against Louisiana Tech
"It feels pretty good. I was actually telling my mom the other day that it would have been nice if the first one I caught against ULM, you know, it would be nice to get that one against Tech and score a touchdown against my hometown team. It worked out good, you know, I got one there and here and it worked out pretty nice."
On both he and DT Kyle Williams getting an interception in the game
"They were wondering if we kind of set that up if we paid somebody. We were both kind of just in the right place at the right time and hustling to the ball. We were both lucky to be around the ball."
LOUISIANA TECH HEAD COACH JACK BICKNELL QUOTES
"That was just a fantastic football team we played, and if they are not the best team in the country, I'd be shocked. I just feel like the speed out there was unbelievable, big players. We played Miami and I promise you I feel like they are better than Miami. We made a couple mistakes early, turnovers, which you can obviously not do. It was just a good football team.
"We battled hard, I was proud of you team. We didn't give up, we played the whole sixty minutes. I think that was something to build on."
DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
Antonio Crow LB
On coming back?
"It was tough. We knew that they would try to make big plays, and we gave up a little to many early. Its hard to get and play with a team like that, because they are a good football team."
Were they an even better team than you expected?
"On tape it looked like we could play with them. You always have to be positive, but when you get on the field, they execute and they block well."
On coming out in the second half down by that many points and playing well?
"That is one thing about this years team, no matter who we are playing, or how many points we are down, we find within ourselves to play hard."
On who is better Miami or LSU?
"After playing both of them I would say LSU."
On the rest of the season?
"We are going to try to run the table, three straight."
LOUISIANA TECH PLAYER QUOTES
QB LUKE McCown
On LSU's speed
"Looking at film I did not think they were as fast as they were on the field. All the credit in the world goes out to them. They (LSU) are a great football team and they have a shot at winning the national championship. Their defense is obviously as good as Miami's or better. They are a great football team and that is about all you can say about it."
On the solid second half
"The coaches and the seniors, knowing that we do not have many of these left, just wanted to make sure that we fought, that we came out and fought. We were getting whipped but we said 'You know what -- let's play a two-quarter game and let's come out and win the second half, and we did 7-0'."
On the rest of the season
"We just need to win the next three games. With guys getting knocked out in the WAC (Western Athletic Conference), if we win out then we have a good shot of getting into the ball game. All we have to do is go out and play and put this game behind us and hopefully win the next three games."
RB RYAN MOATS
On LSU's defensive speed
"We already played against Miami and they were fast but I think LSU were a little more physical and a little stronger than Miami was. They were a little stronger up front and at the linebacker spot."
On playing in Tiger Stadium and the effect of the crowd
"Yeah it is pretty loud. I think it is because of how the stadium is built, because it is like a bowl and the noise just echoes off the stands."
On the next three games
"We are just taking each game one at a time. We treat each one the same way and do not take anyone for granted."