BATON ROUGE -- Charles Scott rushed for a career-best 160 yards and two touchdowns, as the No. 7 LSU football team dominated the 10 a.m. kickoff and defeated Appalachian State, 41-13, on Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
The game was moved up six hours due to expected traffic and logistical issues related to Hurricane Gustav preparations.
With the score 31-0 LSU at halftime, just about all but the teams on the field had shifted focus away from competition and to the category 4 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
LSU (1-0) is schedule to face Troy on Saturday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m. in Tiger Stadium. Check LSUsports.net throughout the week for updates based on the impending storm.
Scott, who was tabbed the starter in a loaded LSU backfield, took the first two handoffs from starting quarterback Andrew Hatch and marched 64 yards through the Mountaineers defensive line for the game's first score. He also scored the last of LSU's four first-half TD's with a 29-yard scamper just before halftime.
Hatch, a redshirt sophomore starting his first game as a Tiger, was 7-of-14 for 77 yards and a touchdown. His backup, redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee, entered late in the first half and finished 6-of-10 for 116 yards and two touchdowns to wide receiver Brandon LaFell (31 and 39 yards). Hatch also ran for 43 net yards.
LaFell caught a team-high four passes for 87 yards. Tight end Richard Dickson added three for 35 yards, while Demetrius Byrd also caught three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Appalachian State (0-1), an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) three-time defending champion, managed 239 yards on 61 plays.
Meanwhile, LSU amassed 459 yards of total offense including 266 on the ground.
On the season's first drive, Appalachian State dared the LSU defense with a fourth-down attempt at the Tigers 35-yard line but was stymied when LSU defensive end Tremaine Johnson came around the right end and hit Edwards as he released the ball.
Edwards pass missed the target high, and LSU took over.
Scott took only seconds to solidify his place in the Tigers backfield, taking a handoff from Hatch and running 56 yards over right tackle to the Mountaineer 8-yard line. On the next snap, Scott went over the left side and barreled into the endzone for a 7-0 lead.
Appalachian State was unable to gain a first down on its second possession, then punted to LSU's Chad Jones for a 21-yard return to the LSU 44-yard line.
LSU sustained a 10-play, 56-yard drive before it's second score of the afternoon, a 17-yard pass from Hatch to Brandon LaFell.
The Tigers led 14-0 with 5:40 to play in the first quarter, and looked to add to the lead after another ASU three-and-out that included a sack of Edwards by LSU's Darry Beckwith and Marlon Favorite.
A 19-yard catch on third-and-9 by LSU wide receiver Jared Mitchell gave the Tigers a first down inside ASU's 25. A 12-yard scramble by Hatch and a 9-yard catch by LaFell setup a second-and-1 inside the 5. LSU settled for a 21-yard Josh Jasper field goal on the first snap of the second quarter.
LSU led 17-0 with 14:56 left in the half.
Quarterback Jarrett Lee came off the bench to lead a six-play, 82-yard scoring drive and give LSU a 24-0 lead.
When a first-and-5 play broke down, Lee scrambled to the right side of the pocket and found LaFell uncovered in the right corner of the endzone from 31 yards out.
LSU took a commanding 24-0 lead with 5:35 to play in the half, and they weren't done.
On fourth-and-2 from the ASU 29, Hatch entered the game in place of Lee and handed to Scott. Scott again found room between the tackles, broke through the line and scored for the second time with 0:17 left in the half.
LSU took a dominating 31-0 lead into the lockerroom, its most points in a first half since Sept. 30, 2006, against Mississippi State (35).
The Tigers took their foot off the gas early in the second half, throwing only two passes on their first two drives of the half and punting twice.
Appalachian State then took advantage of a missed assignment in the Tigers defensive backfield to score for the first time, a 44-yard pass from Edwards to running back Robert Welton.
Welton came out of the Mountaineers' backfield and ran past Danny McCray into the middle of the field. Under pressure, Edward threw off his back foot to the open space and cut the lead to 31-7 with 6:06 left in the third quarter.
Jasper tacked on a 33-yard field goal for LSU on the ensuing drive, pushing the lead to 34-7 with 3:18 remaining in the third.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, a 24-yard field goal by ASU's Jason Vitaris followed an interception throw by Lee that was returned inside the LSU 10.
Later in the fourth quarter, Lee connected with LaFell on the right sideline for what looked to be a short gain. Then, the Tigers wide receiver turned up field a sprinted by the secondary for a 39-yard touchdown.
LSU led 41-10 with 10:03 to play.
The Mountaineers added a Jason Vitaris 44-yard field goal with 21 seconds to play to make the final margin.
LSU is scheduled to play host to Troy on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. CDT. Check back on LSUsports.net throughout the week if updates to this game are necessary due to the impending storm in the Gulf of Mexico.
LSU Postgame Notes
LSU Team Notes
1. LSU’s game captains were 93 Tyson Jackson, 79 Herman Johnson and 6 Colt David.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Appalachian State received.
3. Tigers extending their consecutive starts streak today were: LT Ciron Black (28) and LG Herman Johnson (25).
4. LSU players making their first career starts on defense include (5): DE Tremaine Johnson, DB Chris Hawkins, S Harry Coleman, CB Jai Eugene and S Chad Jones.
5. LSU players making their first career starts on offense include (2): QB Andrew Hatch and OL Joseph Barksdale.
6. LSU players making their first career appearances include: CB Patrick Peterson, DB Ron Brooks, WR Deangelo Peterson, LB Ryan Baker, DB Daniel Graff, FB Stevan Ridley, TE Mitch Joseph, SNP/TE Alex Russian, P Brady Dalfrey, QB Jarrett Lee, DB Karnell Hatcher, DB Brandon Taylor, DB Phelon Jones, OL Will Blackwell, OL Josh Dworaczyk, OL Ernest McCoy, OL T-Bob Hebert and OL Gregory Shaw.
7. Six true freshman saw action in the season-opener including: CB Patrick Peterson, WR Deangelo Peterson, LB Ryan Baker, DB Karnell Hatcher, DB Brandon Taylor and OL Gregory Shaw.
8. LSU’s 31 points in the first half are the most by the Tigers in a first half since putting up 35 points versus Mississippi State on Sept. 30, 2006.
9. Here are some notable updated trends for LSU under head coach Les Miles: LSU is 20-2 in Tiger Stadium ... The Tigers are 32-2 when rushing for 100 yards or more ... LSU is 32-3 when scoring 20 or more points ... LSU is 4-0 in season-openers.
10. LSU improved to 82-28-5 all-time in season-openers.
11. LSU won its 28th straight Saturday game in Tiger Stadium. The last time the Tigers lost a Saturday game at home was on Oct. 11, 2003 versus Florida.
12. LSU won its 15th straight non-conference game. The last time the Tigers lost to a non-SEC opponent was in the 2005 Capital One Bowl versus Iowa.
LSU Individual Notes
13. RB Charles Scott recorded his first and second rushing TDs of the season and the 11th and 12th of his career on an 8-yard run with 11:53 in the first quarter and a 29-yard run with 0:17 left in the second quarter.
a. Scott’s TD was preceded by a career-long 56-yard run on LSU’s first play. His previous long was 55 yards at Kentucky in 2007.
b. Scott finished with a career-best 160 yards rushing on 16 carries. He eclipsed his previous high of 101 yards (vs. Tulane, 2006) in the first half.
c. Scott’s 160 rushing yards are the most by an LSU player since Alley Broussard broke the school record with 250 yards against Ole Miss on Nov. 20, 2004.
d. It also the most rushing yards by an LSU player in a season-opener since Kevin Faulk had 180 yards on 17 carries against Arkansas State on Sept. 12, 1998.
14. QB Andrew Hatch connected on his first career TD pass on a 17-yard strike to Demetrius Byrd with 5:40 left in the first quarter.
15. WR Demetrius Byrd hauled in a 17-yard TD pass for his first receiving TD of the season and the eighth of his career at the 5:40 mark in the first quarter.
16. PK Josh Jasper attempted and made his first career field goal attempt from 21 yards with 14:56 left in the second quarter and connected on his second attempt from 33 yards with 3:18 left in the third quarter.
17. P Brady Dalfrey attempted his first career punt for 32 yards midway through the second quarter. It was pinned inside the 10-yard line.
18. QB Jarrett Lee tossed his first career TD pass on a 31-yard TD pass to Brandon LaFell with 5:35 in the first quarter and then connected for his second career TD on a 39-yard strike to LaFell in the fourth quarter.
19. WR Brandon LaFell recorded his first and second TD receptions of the season and the seventh and eighth of his career on a 31-yard pass from Jarrett Lee with 5:35 left in the second quarter and a 39-yard pass from Lee with 10:03 in the fourth quarter.
Appalachian Postgame Notes
NOTES: Eight Mountaineers made their first career starts (DT Malcolm Bennett, WR Blake Elder, WR B.J. Frazier, WR CoCo Hillary, DB Mark LeGree, DE Quavian Lewis, DB Dominique McDuffie and WR Brian Quick) ... Robert Welton’s 44-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter were the first reception and touchdown of the sophomore’s career ... Jacque Roman’s third-quarter interception was the first of his career and it set up the first field goal of kicker Jason Vitaris’ career ... the crowd of 91,922 at Tiger Stadium was the second-largest to ever see ASU play, behind only the 109,218 on hand for last year’s opener at Michigan ... the crowd included a contingent of 3,500 Mountaineer faithful ... five true freshmen played in their first collegiate games – Demery Brewer, Wilson Fitchett, Ed Gainey, McDuffie and Lanston Tanyi ... due to the time change associated with Louisiana’s preparations for Hurricane Gustav, the game was broadcast on ESPN Classic and ASU’s perfect 12-0 record on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU remained intact ... however, Appalachian’s 13-game winning streak in nationally televised games was snapped ... it was the Mountaineers’ first loss on national TV since a 24-14 setback to Wofford on The Football Network in 2003.
LSU head coach Les Miles
“Overall, I like the way we started. The first game jitters starting at 10 a.m. Certainly, the feel of Tiger Stadium was different to our guys. It was a packed house at the start, but it was daytime. I have to give it to the state of Louisiana to be honest with you. I thought the crowd that was there really represented us well. I’m very thankful that they came out and supported these Tigers at 9 a.m. in the morning. It’s the earliest kickoff I’ve ever had except when I was in the ninth grade playing junior high football. Thanks for being out there. Thanks for being loud, and thanks for being in Tiger Stadium.
“Our team played with great intensity to start. In my opinion, we came off the football and did things on offense and defense that they needed to do. I told them that they needed to play with intensity for four quarters. Certainly, we played with that style of intensity for two (quarters). I really was pleased with how the defensive staff handled the game situation, and I think there were some things they learned about our team and about me, and we’ll get better from this point forward. I liked our first 30 minutes, certainly.
“Offensively, we ran the football like we needed to. We probably tried to force the pass as best we could just to get some of these young guys some experience. I thought that they did good. I thought that they handled it well. Certainly, there’s room for improvement. We had two turnovers, and we can’t have those. Our guys know that, and they’ll certainly understand the correction that needs to be made. That will be forthcoming.
“I thought our special teams performed really well in the first half. We got kind of sloppy in the second half, and that’s a team that we’re putting a lot of young guys on. We’re playing freshmen and first-year veteran starters, so there are a lot of people that are going on the field. They have to understand that the intensity that they take the field with and that they play with has to be reminiscent of LSU and how we play. In the second half, that wasn’t there, and we’ll have something to work on.
“We rushed the football pretty well. Charles Scott had a nice day. Andrew Hatch had a couple of nice scrambles in the first half, and we had the earmark of a pretty solid offense. With some work to do, I think we’ll be pretty solid in all three phases and continue to improve. The key is that we win this game, but we learn and we improve. Certainly, the next opponent will have issues and challenges specific to Troy, and that will be an answer. I like the position we’re in if we continue to play well and improve. Hopefully, there will be few significant injuries, and we can field the same team we did today.
“I know that this storm (Gustav) is bearing down on us. I know that there are some serious considerations given in the state of Louisiana. I can only tell you that we’re with you. Our prayers and our strong want for not being adversely affected by this storm for this state are coming from our team. Our guys are looking, like the rest of the state, to see how bad this storm will be. The only thing I can tell you is that we want to play, and if there is an opportunity, we will. Again, like in 2005, if the decision is made not to play, we are LSU and we represent this state. We enjoy the decisions that are made, period. We will meet with the team tomorrow. It’s just a meeting and not necessarily a football meeting, so that we can kind of discuss contingencies and settle any of those issues that might impact some of our players that have families in the southern Louisiana area and in the path of the storm.
“It was a good start. We wish Appalachian State well. I hope they go forward and win another national championship. I wish them the very best. Coach Moore does a great job fielding a very competitive team.”
On if he wanted to get Quarterback Jordan Jefferson into the game...
“I don’t know if we necessarily had to or wanted to. We kind of liked the way it was going. He is developing very nicely, and when I put him in the game, I want him to be able to really have a great start. I think we look forward to him getting into the game.”
On the two quarterbacks...
“I think both guys (Hatch and Lee), with game experience, will make strong improvement, and it’s the understanding that it is really just like the coaches had said. The mistakes are the same in practice and in the game, and we’ll get it fixed.”
On the running game...
“The offensive line played well. I really thought that the leadership that came from those big guys up front was something we needed to have. (Center) Brett Helms played almost the whole first half. Ryan Miller played significantly, but I thought the leadership the line gave really helped us start strong and take control of the game.”
LSU OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
RB Charles Scott
On his touchdowns...
“The offensive line opened up big holes for me and I just found them.”
On taking over the roles as the main running back...
“It’s an honor. I just want to work hard and prepare hard for each game. All three of us work hard. When I come off the field and take a rest to watch the other guys I feel just as great.”
On the early kick-off...
“I like to get up and go play. When we have a 7 p.m. game the day feels like it drags on and on. I just love to get up and go.”
On the quarterbacks...
“I feel that they did pretty well. This was their first game with live snaps and they will just get better from here.”
On the offense...
“I know we can be great. It was the first game so we have kinks to work out. We will work them out in practice and keep getting better.”
On Hurricane Gustav ...
“Of course we are worried because what happened with the first storm. Coach Miles has reassured us that will we be prepared for whatever comes our way.”
QB Andrew Hatch
On the game today...
“It was awesome to get out there with the team today. In my opinion there is no greater place to play college football on a Saturday. We have the most amazing fans and support system. I think we came out very strong and got things rolling. Offense put points on the board and defense did a great job too. Charles Scott had a great day with the ball as well.”
On the transfer from Harvard to LSU...
“I definitely appreciate my opportunity to go there. It’s a great place and I have nothing but great things to say about everyone. A chance just came my way and I love being here. The chance to play here is something you can not pass up. The coaches, teammates, fans and community are second to none here.”
On the first game jitters...
“Not too bad. I felt very comfortable. It was good to get out on the field. We had some good drives going and we got points on the board. We were quick, which was very good and the defense played really well all day. I just felt really good about the first game.”
QB Jarrett Lee
On making the plays...
“It was easy when you have playmakers on either side of the ball.”
On his first game...
“It was good coming in. I was excited, a little nervous and had some butter flies but with a team like ours I knew everything would work out. It was good to get the first game under your belt. You take so many reps at practice but to get the first rep off live is truly different. Just working hard and coming through was good. I just feel comfortable now.”
On progressing from the mistakes....
“You can definitely see what your mistakes are and wish you could take them back. We can get on the headphones with our coaches and they tell us what to do and what not to do. When you get on the field you understand better than at practice.”
On Richard Dickson...
“He’s a great ball player. Anytime we can give Richard the ball we want to. He’s a good veteran player and makes plays.”
LSU Defensive Player Quotes
S Harry Coleman
On how it felt to win big...
“That’s one of our main goals on the team. We try not to lose any games at home and let everything else take care of itself.”
On how the team adjusted to the unusual circumstances this week...
“It has not been difficult. We have been getting ready for this team for two and a half weeks. We have been just getting ready for the game. The only difference was the fact that we just played earlier.”
LB Darry Beckwith
On how he felt after the first game...
“It was truly a blessing. The team came out and fought hard. I think it was a great win and get a victory. It showed the great character and discipline this team has. No matter what time we play, we will be ready to roll.”
On how to focus on football this week given the circumstances...
“Coach Miles has always preached about staying focused and active. During (Hurricane) Katrina the guys did a great job of focusing. We are going to try to follow those guys and continue to play.
On if the defense accomplished what they set out to do...
“Yes we did. The game plan went well. The guys played hard and we executed the plays we needed to.”
DL Ricky Jean-Francois
On how he kept focus throughout the game knowing a storm was coming...
“When we came in the game, Coach (Miles) told us for now to think about the game. Now that the game is over we can focus on our family and loved ones. Being from Miami, I see six or seven of these every year. I know the steps the take to get prepared for a storm.”
On how it felt to get the first win of the season...
“It was a great thing to get a win for the fans. I think we put a great positive image and thought in their head before the hurricane. This game was dedicated to the state of Louisiana.”
APPALACHIAN STATE HEAD COACH QUOTES
HEAD COACH JERRY MOORE
“I think it would be awful not to start off by saying LSU has a terrific football team. I told Les [Miles] after the game that I thought going into the game they were one of the best tackling football teams I’ve ever seen in recent years for sure. They have so much quickness and team speed that they impressed us in the games against Florida, Auburn and Tennessee. In big games their linebackers tackled well. I thought they played that way today, from beginning to end.
They are so athletic. It just wore on us. We would make a good play, and then have a down play. We hit CoCo [Hillary] on the first play. Everyone got excited and then the next thing you know, you get slammed.
“We came in here to win the football game. It wasn’t like we came here to look good and hope we play good. That is one reason we are disappointed. The LSU people have been very gracious. When we got here this morning at the crack of dawn, they were talking to us, saying that these guys are talking about you because of Michigan. I told them, ‘If [LSU] plays like Michigan then we will beat them.’ Maybe I made them mad, I don’t know, but they didn’t play like Michigan. They played like LSU. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I mean it in a good one. They were very well prepared and played well. If we are smart as coaches and if our players buy into it, we can take as much out of a loss to these guys as we can from a win from Michigan. We could have beaten these guys just as we did Michigan. It would have gotten a lot of notoriety and stuff, but it wouldn’t have meant a thing to our conference. Our goal is to prepare to win the Southern Conference Championship. That is our goal. I think we wasted four hours today if we don’t leave here thinking we can be a better football team.
“We played a lot of young players. LSU is young as a squad too. Both teams will certainly benefit from today’s game. They can get a lot out of the second half because we contained them a little better and scored a couple of times. For 60 minutes, it’s almost like a powder keg when you are playing a team like this. You know when you get off the plane that is the way it is going to be. Anything can happen for 60 minutes. There is not going to be a lull where they aren’t going to have players on the field and for 60 minutes they are coming after you.
“I told my guys, ‘You are going to catch the very best that LSU has the first ten minutes of the third quarter.’ The coaches are talking in the locker room to them now about how they are going to play the third quarter. One of the things I’ll take from this as a coach was the first ten minutes of the third quarter, we played as good as we did all day. When you end up in a game like this, you are looking for positive things and things to build on. I think our kickers did well. Neil Young punted the ball well. We gave up one return that was a bit scary. The field goal didn’t mean that much at the end, but it meant a lot to Jason [Vitaris] and his confidence factor. He is a young kicker and that part helped him.”
On the difference between LSU in 2005 and 2008...
“They had good athletes in 2005. We looked at that tape some, but didn’t study it a lot. They took the opening drive and took the ball right down and scored on us. It was 7-0 and I looked at the scoreboard to see if there was room for three digits. It could have been a long night, but we ran the ball better on them in 2005. My first inclination on defense was that they weren’t as good on defense in 2005 as they are now.”
Appalachian State Offensive Player Quotes
WR Coco Hillary
On not being able to capitalize after the opening drive ...
“We did good coming out, we made a few plays, we were running the ball well, but I guess they woke up. They came out a little flat footed, but those are some great players and some guys you can’t sleep on. Like coach said though, we made a lot of mental mistakes that hurt us, but I think it’s something we can capitalize on in the next few weeks.”
On the contrast between LSU today and Michigan in 2007 ...
“You’ve got the same kind of guys, a lot of great players , but in the end they’re just men like we are when we step on the field. Sure they’re big, they’re fast, they’re strong, but it’s nothing we weren’t up for, they’re a football team.”
On the score going into halftime ...
“Being down 31-0 is going to hurt anyone. I don’t care if you’re playing a video game, if you’re down 31-0 at halftime that’s going to hurt you. Just the fact that we stayed strong as a team in the second half put us on another level than where we were coming into halftime and that will carry out for the rest of the season.”
On the early game time ...
“It was nothing for us, getting up at 6 o clock in the morning; we do that all the time. It was better for us. We didn’t have to sit around a hotel all day and think about it. We just got to get out there and play.”
On LSU’s secondary ...
“They were some good guys. We got on them early, and you could tell they were a little bit inexperienced. We found some holes, but after a while those guys caught on, just like any athlete would do. They were a good group, pretty disciplined.”
OL Brad Coley
On how this loss affects the rest of their season ...
“It’s not going to hurt our confidence at all. We’re going to get as much out of this loss as we did after the Michigan win.”
QB Armanti Edwards
On not being able to establish a tempo after the opening drive ...
“I think we just kept making minor mistakes every drive missing throws dropping balls, missed blocks, any of those seemed to always happen on 3rd down
On the speed of LSU’s defense ...
“Even their safeties were filling in holes. They closed faster than we thought they would.”
On his helmet coming off ...
“Yeah it’s happened before. I had to change my buckles after the last hit.”
On the difference between LSU today and Michigan in 2007 ...
“Speed was the difference. They’re so much faster than Michigan was. It was just a problem of us executing, we knew they’d have tight coverage, but we couldn’t execute 1 on 1 like we wanted.”