SEATTLE -- LSU junior wide receiver Terrance Toliver caught two touchdowns and setup a third, as the 11th-ranked Tigers fought past Washington, 31-23, on Saturday night in Husky Stadium.
A crowd of 69,161 -- including about 10,000 LSU fans -- watched the Tigers first game on the West Coast in 25 years.
LSU (1-0) used a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown and a 45-yard touchdown catch and run by Toliver to take a 17-13 halftime lead. Toliver added a 39-yard TD in the third quarter and a 25-yard catch that led to the final score.
The Tigers improved to 5-0 in season openers under head coach Les Miles, and 9-0 against Pac-10 teams since losing to Southern Cal in 1979.
Washington (0-1) lost for the 15th-straight time, the longest such streak in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.
Toliver finished with four big catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson was 11-of-19 passing for 172 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. He played the full game under center. Though backup Jarrett Lee entered for one down, the play did not count statistically as there was a defensive penalty after a negative gain.
Washington quarterback Jake Locker kept the Huskies close throughout, despite an interception for a touchdown that gave LSU a lead it wouldn't give up. Locker was 25-of-45 for 321 yards and two touchdowns.
Huskies running back Chris Polk led the way with 90 yards. Locker scrambled for 51 more including three first downs.
Both teams lost fumbles in the redzone during the first half.
With 10:35 to play in the first quarter, Washington earned the first points of the season on a 17-yard reception by James Johnson, who shook off Chad Jones and scampered the final five yards to paydirt.
The key play on the drive was a 51-yard catch and run by Johri Fogerson on third-and-12. Jocker picked up an LSU blitz, found his hot read and watched Fogerson sprint to the LSU 15 before being knocked out of bounds by cornerback Patrick Peterson.
The 10 play, 85-yard drive gave the Huskies a 7-0 lead.
LSU's first three running plays tallied 40 yards and moved the Tigers into Huskies territory. A 12-yard completion to Brandon LaFell on third-and-7 gave the Tigers possession in the redzone. However, LSU wasn't able to pound the ball into the endzone from the 3 and settled for a 24-yard field goal by Josh Jasper.
After driving 62 yards in 12 plays, LSU cut the lead to 7-3.
On the next play from scrimmage, LSU linebacker Jacob Cutrera stepped in front of Locker's intended receiver, tipped the ball into the air and ran untouched for 29 yards to the east endzone. The play was Cutrera's first of the game.
LSU led 10-7 with 5:29 left in the first quarter.
After driving 69 yards to the LSU 6, Washington's Chris Polk fumbled and Peterson recovered for LSU. The Tigers quickly went three-and-out, and newcomer Derek Helton's first punt as a Tiger was from his endzone.
Helton's 36-yard punt was returned 18 yards by Fogerson, who was only denied a touchdown by Helton's tackle.
Though the Huskies couldn't manage a first down, placekicker Erik Folk tied the game at 10-10 with a 34-yard field goal with 13:50 left in the half.
Two personal fouls by Washington gave LSU a first down in the Huskies redzone. However, Scott's first forced fumble of his LSU career gave the back to Washington.
Locker converted Washington's sixth third-down of the game in seven attempts to enter LSU territory, but Peterson was able to make a stop a force Washington to punt for the first time.
The LSU offense earned its first big play of the year when Jefferson found Toliver uncovered in the middle of the field. Toliver dodged freshman free safety Greg Walker before finishing off a 45-yard touchdown reception, the longest TD pass of Jefferson's career.
LSU used two timeouts trying to get another possession late in the half, however, it backfired when Locker hit Devin Aguilar for a 46-yard gain to the LSU 20. After three incomplete passes, Washington cut into the LSU lead with a 37-yard field goal by Folk as time expired.
The only advantage that the Tigers had in the half was on the scoreboard (17-13), as Washington rolled up 296 yards of total offense including 183 through the air.
LSU found some breathing room early in the second half. The Tigers moved 86 yards in nine plays, capped by another great play by Jefferson and Toliver. With a three-step drop, Jefferson found Toliver one-on-one on the right side of the field. Toliver slipped the grasp of Walker again and beat the other safety to the endzone for a 39-yard touchdown.
LSU led 24-13 with 5:50 to play in the third quarter.
The teams traded punts before Washington's Folk hooked a 42-yard field goal attempt with 10:50 to play in the game.
After a short punt by Helton that was nearly blocked, Washington again moved into LSU territory. This time, Folk made a 32-yard field goal with 5:24 to play to slice the advantage to eight, 24-16.
The LSU offense answered immediately, as Toliver's 25-yard reception setup a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jefferson to LaFell.
The Tigers led 31-16 with 1:54 to play. Locker added a touchdown pass on the game's final play.
LSU returns to action on Sept. 12 when Vanderbilt comes to Tiger Stadium for LSU's 2009 home opener. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CDT on ESPN U
LSU vs. Washington
Sept. 5, 2009 – Husky Stadium (Seattle, Wash.)
1. LSU’s game captains were 70 Ciron Black, 30 Josh Jasper and 56 Perry Riley.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Washington will receive the opening kickoff.
3. Tigers extending their notable consecutive starts streak tonight were: LT Ciron Black (41), OG Lyle Hitt (20), LB Harry Coleman (14), RT Joseph Barksdale (13), TE Richard Dickson (13), RB Charles Scott (13) and CB Chris Hawkins (13).
4. Tigers making their first career appearances tonight: 2 Rueben Randle, 27 Craig Loston, 35 James Stampley, 38 Derek Helton, 47 Tyler Edwards, 50 Joey Crappell, 53 T-Bob Hebert, 77 Josh Downs, 87 Chancey Aghayere and 89 Lavar Edwards.
5. Tigers making their first career starts tonight: LG Josh Dworaczyk, C T-Bob Hebert and LE Lazarius Levingston.
6. Washington’s score on its opening drive was the first touchdown allowed by LSU in the first quarter of a season-opener since Oregon State scored on Sept. 4, 2004.
7. LB Jacob Cutrera’s 29-yard interception return for a touchdown was the first by LSU since Jonathan Zenon tallied a pick six against Tennessee in the 2007 SEC Championship Game on Dec. 1, 2007. Cutrera’s pick came on his first play of scrimmage of the night.
a. Cutrera’s interception return for a TD was also the first by an LSU linebacker since Kenneth Hollis did so against Tennessee on Sept. 26, 2005 – a Monday night game after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Hollis’ interception was for three yards in the second quarter.
8. WR Terrance Toliver’s two-touchdown game was the first multi-TD receiving game by an LSU wide receiver since Brandon LaFell had two TDs versus Georgia on Oct. 25, 2008.
9. WR Brandon LaFell has now caught a pass in 28 straight games dating back to the 2007 Sugar Bowl versus Notre Dame. 10. PK Josh Jasper connected on a 30-yard field goal with 6:03 remaining in the first quarter. It was Jasper’s third (3-of-3) career field goal and first since he kicked one against Appalachian State in the 2008 season-opener while filling in for an injured Colt David.
11. CB Patrick Peterson recorded his first career fumble recovery with 0:16 left in the first quarter.
12. QB Jordan Jefferson tossed a career-long 45-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Toliver with 1:15 remaining in the second quarter. It was Jefferson’s fifth career TD pass. The two hooked up again on a 39-yard throw with 5:50 left in the third quarter.
a. Jefferson tossed his fifth and sixth career TD passes tonight.
13. WR Terrance Toliver hauled in his fifth and sixth career TD passes on a 45-yard catch-and-run from Jordan Jefferson with 1:15 to go in the second quarter and a 39-yard TD reception with 5:50 left in the third quarter. It was Toliver’s first multi-touchdown game of his career.
a. Toliver earned the second 100-yard receiving game of his career. He also topped the century mark against Louisiana Tech as a true freshman in 2007 with three catches for 119 yards including a 71-yard TD.
14. WR Brandon LaFell moved into the Top 10 on LSU’s career receiving touchdowns list, tying Eddie Fuller (1986-89) with 15. LaFell caught a 6-yard touchdown from Jefferson with 1:54 to play in the game.