LSU senior wide receiver Brandon LaFell had five catches for 87 yards and a TD.
Photo by:Steve Franz, LSU Athletics Staff Photographer
Penn State Slips Past LSU in Capital One Bowl
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Published: January 01, 2010, 12:00 AM (CT)
by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports), LSU Sports Interactive

ORLANDO, Fla. -- For the second time in as many trips to the Capital One Bowl, the No. 13 LSU football team watched a victory slip away in the final minute. No. 11-ranked Penn State hit a game-winning field goal with 57 seconds to play to hand head coach Les Miles his first bowl loss at LSU,19-17.

LSU (9-4) scored two touchdowns in 3:02 to overcome a 13-point deficit and take a 17-16 fourth-quarter lead. With 6:54 to play, Penn State (11-2) answered with a 12-play, 65-yard drive that took 5:57 off the clock and regained the lead.

The Tigers' final drive ended at the Penn State 33-yard line.

The loss broke LSU's 24-game non-conference winning streak that began after the 2005 Capital One Bowl loss to Iowa (30-25) on a 56-yard last-second touchdown pass. Miles fell to 24-1 in non-conference games.

After sputtering through the first half, LSU's offense found life in the second half with a pair of scores against the No. 4-ranked scoring defense in the NCAA.

A 24-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Jefferson to wide receiver Brandon LaFell, a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Stevan Ridley and a pair of PAT's by Josh Jasper gave the Tigers their first lead with 12:49 left to play.

With less than 10 minutes left, the Tigers forced a punt after consecutive Penn State penalties backed the Nittany Lions into second-and-28. After Jefferson scrambled for a first down on the ensuing series, the a pass to Toliver fell incomplete and LSU punted to setup Penn State's final game-winner drive.

On a recently sodded turf and after a heavy rain storm, LSU struggled to get its footing in the first half and fell behind 13-3 at halftime on New Year's Day. LSU managed only 67 yards of total offense and a 28-yard field goal by Jasper in the first 30 minutes. The field conditions were so poor that making any sort of cut with the ball was out of the question.

Penn State scored its only touchdown with a 37-yard pass with 1:54 to play in the first quarter when wide receiver Derek Moye ran straight past an LSU defender and caught quarterback Daryll Clark's pass in stride inside the 5-yard line.

Tight end Adam Quarless led his team with eight receptions for 88 yards, while Graham Zug had four for 51 yards. Moye had three catches for 53 yards.

Despite the footing, Penn State placekicker Collin Wagner was perfect on the afternoon hit field goals of 26, 18, 20 and 21 yards.

Clark completed 18-of-35 passes for 216 yards with one touchdown. He was sacked only once and did not throw an interception.

Running back Evan Royster ran 17 times for 65 yards, while Stephfon Green added 35 yards on seven carries. Clark rushed 11 times for net 20 yards.

Big plays gave the Nittany Lions a 186-67 first-half advantage in total offense, while the Tigers managed only two first downs on passes of 18 and 36 yards by Jefferson to LaFell.

LSU was outgained, 340-243.

Jefferson was sacked twice while completing 13-of-24 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Terrance Toliver had a 81 yards on six catches, while LaFell added five receptions for 87 yards.

Jefferson was intercepted with 3:48 left in the first half when Toliver mishandled a pass that bounced into the hands of cornerback A.J. Wallace.

The LSU rushing game never gained a foot-hold, as the Tigers had 41 yards rushing on 25 attempts including 17 sack yards. The longest run of the game was for 11 yards by Trindon Holliday.

LSU safety Chad Jones led the way defensively with eight tackles including one for lost yardage. He partially blocked a punt in the first quarter and broke up a pass. Linebackers Jacob Cutrera and Kelvin Sheppard each added seven tackles.

There were a Capital One Bowl-record 15 punts, as the teams combined to tie the record of 10 in the wet first half.

The game was marred by multiple dropped passes by both teams on both sides of the ball. Penn State fumbled four times -- twice on snaps from center -- while LSU fumbled one time.

Two of LSU's three turnovers were lost deep in their territory, however, the LSU defense held Penn State to a pair of field goals. LSU's third turnover was a fumble on the game's final play as wide receiver Rueben Randle attempted to lateral to a teammate.

LSU vs. Penn State - 2010 Capital One Bowl
Jan. 1, 2010 – Citrus Bowl Stadium (Orlando, Fla.)
Postgame Notes

Team Notes
1. LSU’s game captains were 24 Harry Coleman, 70 Ciron Black and 30 Josh Jasper.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Penn State received the opening kickoff.
3. Tigers extending their notable consecutive starts streak today were: LT Ciron Black (53), OG Lyle Hitt (33), LB Harry Coleman (26) and RT Joseph Barksdale (26).
4. Penn State’s first-quarter touchdown was the first allowed by LSU in a first quarter since the Mississippi State game on Sept. 26. The streak ended at eight straight games -- Georgia, Florida, Auburn, Tulane, Alabama, Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss and Arkansas.
5. OT Ciron Black broke the LSU record for consecutive starts. He made his 53rd straight start, shattering the mark of Andrew Whitworth (now with Cincinnati Bengals) for the most consecutive starts in school history. LSU has had two players – Black and Whitworth – account for the last 105 straight starts at offensive left tackle dating back to 2002.
6. WR R.J. Jackson saw his first action since the Louisiana Tech game on Nov. 14. Jackson, who missed two games, returned from a broken bone he suffered on his foot in the game against the Bulldogs.
7. C P.J. Lonergan made his second start of the season.
8. Head coach Les Miles is now 4-1 in bowl games at LSU.
9. LSU is now 21-19-1 in bowl games all time.
10. LSU’s nation-leading non-conference winning streak was snapped at 24 games today. Les Miles is now 24-1 versus non-conference opponents at LSU. Before today’s loss, the last time LSU lost to a non-conference opponent was to Iowa in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.
11. LSU is now 1-2 in the Capital One Bowl, beating Wake Forest 34-10 in the 1979 contest and falling 30-25 to Iowa in 2005.

Individual Notes
12. QB Jordan Jefferson tossed his 17th touchdown pass of the season and 21st of his career on a 24-yard pass to Brandon LaFell with 0:13 left in the third quarter.
a. Jefferson’s 17 TD passes this season put him in a tie for eighth place in LSU single-season TD passes.
13. WR Brandon LaFell caught a 24-yard touchdown pass with 0:13 to go in the third quarter. It was his 25th career TD catch, which put him one TD shy of the LSU career record of 26 set by Dwayne Bowe (2003-06).
a. It was also his 11th TD catch of the season, which put him in a tie for second place in the LSU single-season record books. He tied Devery Henderson (2003) and Wendell Davis (1986), one shy of the single-season record of 12 set by Dwayne Bowe in 2006.
b. LaFell finished his career with a catch in 41 straight games (40 of those multiple-reception games) dating back to the 2007 Sugar Bowl versus Notre Dame. The streak was the fifth longest streak in the nation. Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson leads the nation with 52 consecutive games with a catch.
14. PK Josh Jasper nailed a 25-yard field goal with 14:15 left in the second quarter. Jasper finished the season 17-of-20 and improved to 19-of-22 for his career.
a. Jasper’s 17 field goals this season ties him for third with John Corbello (2002) for single-season FGs.
15. With his 43 punt return yards today, Trindon Holliday moved into eighth place in LSU single-season punt return yards with 362 for the season on 20 returns.
16. RB Stevan Ridley rushed for a one-yard TD with 12:49 left in the game. The TD run marked the third of the season and fourth of Ridley’s career.
17. LB Jacob Cutrera was credited with his first career sack in the fourth quarter when he sacked Daryll Clark for a loss of 11 yards.

 

LSU COACH LES MILES and LB KELVIN SHEPPARD

THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you wouldn't mind kicking it off with an opening statement, please.

COACH MILES: I just want to say that we enjoyed competing in this bowl game, and certainly against a very quality Penn State football team.

I thought it was a well played game by both. And congratulations to Coach Paterno and Penn State.

The inability to get anything going in the first half offensively, two turnovers led to points. We had what certainly was a completed ball that passed through our receiver's hands into our opponents' possession and cost us a 3 pointer and a fumble cost us a 3 pointer.

So we're in the position to win the game late, a couple of good drives, throw some balls and go down the field and score and take the lead. Unable to keep the ball, and Penn State marches down the field and kicks a 3 pointer and takes the lead. And Trin Holliday, who played big in my opinion all day long, returns the ball back to about mid field, moving the ball it appears, and we get an unfortunate personal foul.

What was happening was our player was trying to help up the Penn State player to get him off the pile so that we could snap the ball and clock the ball. And that was called a personal foul.

I certainly understand the officiating not allowing LSU to take that into their hands, but I don't know that lifting a guy off the ground could possibly be misconstrued as a personal foul.

But I certainly understand the impact on the game that that had. So the opportunity to go down there and have a chance at a field goal late in the game certainly would have been what we planned. It didn't work out that way. And congratulations again to Penn State.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for either Coach Miles or Kelvin Sheppard.

Q. Les, did the refs say anything to you about it? Did they explain the call on the personal foul?
COACH MILES: No, it was a personal foul. That was the call. So I didn't if lifting an opponent onto his feet is a personal foul, then it would be interesting I don't quite understand the call.

Q. For both of you. Could you please comment on, Kelvin especially, what it was like to play on the field today.
KELVIN SHEPPARD: Obviously you could see the turf was messed up. It slowed down our speed. But like you said, Penn State was out there on the same turf, so you can't for one second use that as an excuse. They came out and both teams gave it their all and they left it all out there. I take my hat off to Penn State. They had a great scheme and they came out on top.

Q. Kelvin, can you just talk about was it hard to keep your footing on the field? Were you guys very conscious of taking your steps and the things you were doing out there just because the field was so bad?
KELVIN SHEPPARD: Towards the beginning of the game guys were concerned about that. You had to get a feel for it. But as the adrenalin started pumping and game started going and guys started hitting, that went all away. You were worried about playing for victory. Coach Miles emphasized that you play for victory. Today we did that. But unfortunately we came out on the second hand.

Q. Les, I think it was with 38 seconds left you called a center screen to LaFell with no timeouts left. Did you think that would pop for a really big play? You must have.
COACH MILES: We expected certainly that there would be a pass rush, and an opportunity to get up the field and get a first down. What we thought we would get there. But we got tackled certainly short of the first down and that cost us maybe seconds there.

Q. On third down and your ability to get up the field on defense seemed to bite you.
KELVIN SHEPPARD: Like I said earlier, Penn State, you've got to take your hat off to them. They had a great scheme and great players over there. Daryll Clark, I think he managed the game. Under the field conditions, he did a great job managing the game. I mean, you can't make excuses now. They got the victory, and I take my hat off to them.
COACH MILES: I thought Daryll Clark did a great job late in the game keeping the ball in his hands and making some runs that were key.

Q. Coach, two losses now with time management issues right at the end of the game, do you feel like time management is still a concern or an issue with your football team?
COACH MILES: I think we'll look at the the want to clock the ball and have the ability to clock it, certainly we understand that. You know, there's a chance on that screen that we'll not get a first down.
I think the issue of the personal foul is also plays a big part in that. If we allow to clock the ball, and certainly we use some time, but it's a positive play. The thing that hurt us, in my opinion, was the penalty.
And even if they they will eventually call, you know, if they impede the progress in marking and spotting the ball, it's the responsibility of the officials, then, to make a call against our opponent to allow us to snap the ball.
So what was happening there was time was running off the clock, and it was our intent to get it clocked. And the penalty ended up costing us not only the seconds but the field position.

Q. Les, I counted about ten drops today even by your receivers or, in a lot of cases, by your defensive backs. Talk a little bit about maybe that frustration.
COACH MILES: Early on, it just appeared that our defensive backs were in position to make some really big plays. And I just I really just anticipated that we'd end up getting a couple of those in the second half.
I don't know that any ball was hit right in the hands of the defensive back, but it was always a close [indiscernible] ball nearby, and I didn't I just figured we'd end up getting some of those in the second half.
We did have some drops in the offensive side. Ball goes to a completed ball, ends up being an interception. And that was and certainly there was a long pass in the first half, if we could have put a handle on it, could have been a big time play.
Those things happen. Certainly on a wet field. So that's not something we enjoy, I can tell you that.

Q. Not that it would have made a big difference in this game, but you said several times during the year we'll see more of Russell Shepard and again we didn't see him today. Is there a disconnect between and you the offensive coaching staff?
COACH MILES: No. We'd like to have gotten Russell Shepard in the game. We felt like 8 was doing a really good job, and we didn't not only on returns, but taking the ball from scrimmage, some of the runs that he had, and those would have been Russell Shepard snaps. It ended up we played him more at receiver in this game and didn't get him on the field, and his snaps at running back were curtailed by the fact that our opponent had the ball for the length of time they had.

Q. Coach and Kelvin, three times in the middle of the game you held them to field goals inside your own 10, giving you a chance to win. I wonder if you can comment on your defense stepping up in those three situations.
KELVIN SHEPPARD: We take great pride in zone defense. It's something we do well all season. I mean, the D line, I mean, I believe in those guys 100 percent. They've done a great job all year keeping linemen off of me. That's what they did. Making plays, shooting through the gaps. Those are just plays we have to have in a big time game like this.
COACH MILES: Yeah, two of those times there were turnovers in the short fields, and so that defense on the field with a short field and played really well. And, again, I agree with what Kelvin says. We counted on the defense to play big in those situations, and they do.

Q. Could you talk about P.J. getting a start, also Hurst coming in for a while but then going out while committing that penalty?
COACH MILES: I think T Bob Hebert's little nicked ankle, knee, and I think P.J.'s getting better and playing better, so I think that's the reason, certainly. And Hurst, Hurst is getting better. He's a big, strong young man. He's going to play a lot of football here. And I think the plan was all along to sub in there at the right guard with Lyle.
So it just so happened that Lyle was in late.

Q. Coach, bowl wins, lopsided scores were all indoors, do you think it would have made a big difference if this game was indoors, and what did you think when you saw how bad the field was in the rain going into the game today?
COACH MILES: I can tell you this. Our focus was to make some strategic decisions on how to approach the field. I think we did that to a point. I think we did a good job. But after the game, certainly the footing was different. Certainly you could argue it benefited one or the other. I'd like to have had a little better footing. I liked the second half. The second half was just markedly different than the first half. We had more ability to move our feet, and so I don't know. Again, I'm like Kelvin Sheppard. I don't want to think about it during the game. Certainly post game, you know, that's speculation.

Q. Coach, you kind of touched on it just there. When you went into the dressing room, two first downs for the entire first half, virtually no productivity, what were you looking at? What was the problem you tried to address?
COACH MILES: Well, we wanted to catch it and run it a little better. And get the ball to Ridley a little bit and see how he did. And felt like we had some advantages with the receivers and the catching and the throwing. Felt like on the perimeter that that would have been an advantage for us. We have to balance the run and the pass. Until we do, we'll be a little bit easier to defend.

Q. Les, can you comment on Penn State's front four and their linebackers and what you saw from them today?
COACH MILES: They're extremely disciplined. Very, very good football team. That front seven, those big three techniquing ends, they're nice to watch. I enjoyed watching them play. The linebackers never seemed to be out of position there. We hit a screen or two and felt like that was a good opportunity for us and came right back. That linebacker makes a heck of a play. Certainly I would have like to have that one screen call called back.

Q. You touched on the time of possession, particularly in the first half. Were you optimistic in the first half even though you were down 10 points that you guys were hanging around? Were you optimistic at that point?
COACH MILES: I thought we would win the football game. I felt like we'd come back out in the second half and we'd get a turnover or two and have the opportunity to I didn't think that they were going to sustain the second half against our defense, and I felt like our offense would get on track.
So, no, I felt like we would come back and win.

Q. Les, you said a moment ago that you would like to have that back. Was that the only call that went into Jordan?
COACH MILES: No, that was the call that went into Jordan.

Q. Going back to the first half, there seemed to be a reliance on running the ball. Was there any talk during the first half of getting away from that a little bit to try to get Jordan some chances to throw down the field?
COACH MILES: Reliance in the first half on running the ball? We relied on it, you're saying? I hadn't had that feeling in the first half. I would have liked to have called more runs and had some more productivity in the run.
We threw the ball a ton. Not only in the first half, but certainly in the second half.

Q. Coach, at Arkansas last year you have a senior lineman that gets a gigantic 15 yard penalty after the whistle; today you have a senior lineman, gets a gigantic. Is there a discipline problem on this team?
COACH MILES: I don't know that helping a guy off the ground could really be considered a discipline problem. Had he punched him, certainly, I probably would have come unglued. But I sit there and I watch it and I'm going what's he going to call? He's helping the guy off the ground.

I mean, what's he going to call? No, I don't think there was a discipline problem.

Q. Has it been offsetting?
COACH MILES: You know, certainly the officials, the responsibility to officiate the game. I guess if you're helping a guy off the ground, it would be difficult to call that a personal foul. But I don't know. You know, I guess if you intend to lay on the ground and you're being lifted off the ground, I guess that could be a personal foul. I don't know. But it just didn't seem right to me.

Q. What did he see? Did he tell you what he saw?
COACH MILES: I'm only telling you what I saw. I saw a guy lifting him up off the ground. It was pretty obvious. It was 11 laying would not get up off the ball and off of the quarterback. And tried to create a time issue for the spotting of the ball.
And so Lyle picked him up, tried to help him up off the ground. He didn't hit him, pound him to the ground. He didn't jump on him. And it was pretty clear. And so I figured, when the flag was thrown, it was going to be an interesting call.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach and Kelvin.

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