Defense, Running Game Lead No. 15 LSU Past Tulane, 35-10
LSU Sports Interactive
BATON ROUGE -- No. 15-ranked LSU scored two touchdowns in a 27-second span late in the first half including its first defense touchdown of the season, as the Tigers defeated in-state rival Tulane, 35-10, on Saturday at Tiger Stadium.
LSU (6-2, 3-2 SEC) became bowl eligible for the seventh-consecutive season. Tulane fell to 2-6.
The Tigers return to action on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CST when they welcome Alabama, which may be the nation's No. 1-ranked team when polls are released Sunday at noon. The game will be nationally televised by CBS.
Fans are reminded to set their clocks back an hour tonight, as the country returns to Standard Time at 2 a.m. Sunday.
With less than three minutes to play in the first half, LSU used its running attack to setup a 14-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Brandon LaFell from quarterback Jarrett Lee.
On the ensuing drive, a sack by LSU defensive end Rahim Alem caused Tulane quarterback Joe Kemp to fumble. Cornerback Chris Hawkins picked up the loose ball in stride and ran 24 yards for a touchdown.
The flurry of scoring helped the Tigers over a sluggish start. A 14-yard touchdown pass from LSU's Jarrett Lee to Brandon LaFell on the opening drive of the second half put the game out of reach, 28-3.
LSU rolled up 231 yards on the ground on 46 attempts, led by Charles Scott's 114 yards and a touchdown. Richard Murphy added 54 yards, while Keiland Williams rushed for a touchdown and 51 yards. Steven Ridley gained 51 yards on five carries on the Tigers' final drive of the game.
Lee, who started and played all but the final series, was 8-of-20 passing for 99 yards with a touchdown and an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
LaFell led all receivers with three catches for 48 yards and the first-half touchdown.
Tulane was held to 163 yards of total offense on 54 plays, including 72 on the ground and 91 through the air.
Quarterbacks Kevin Moore, Kemp and Scott Elliott combined to complete 12-of-24 passes for 91 yards. Running back Nathan Austin led all Green Wave players with 53 yards from scrimmage on 16 carries.
Tulane won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff, an unusual decision in college football and one that didn't work for the Green Wave.
Tulane went three-and-out after a third-and-2 toss from starting quarterback Kevin Moore to Williams was stuffed for a 1-yard loss.
Scott and the Tigers answered with a run-oriented plod down the field that included a 56-yard run by the sophomore running back on third-and-2. A 7-yard catch by Richard Dickson setup Scott runs of 8 and 7 yards, the last of which went over the left side for a touchdown.
LSU led 7-0 with 8:43 left in the first quarter.
Tulane used a 22-yard run by Williams on third-and-1 to put together a nine-play scoring drive that culminated in a career-best 48-yard field goal by Ross Thevenot. The Green Wave trimmed the margin to 7- with 3:32 to play in the quarter.
After an LSU punt, Tulane earned a pair of first downs by virtue of LSU pass interference penalties. The Green Wave advanced to the LSU 40 before consecutive quarterback sneak attempts with one yard to gain came up empty.
The teams traded punts before LSU took over at its 30. Murphy gave the Tigers a fresh set of legs, picking up two first downs. He gave way to Scott late in the drive, who also gained two first downs on the ground to setup a 14-yard touchdown pass from Lee to LaFell.
The 11-play, 70-yard drive gave LSU a 14-3 lead with 2:14 to play in the half.
LSU's defense then came up with its first touchdown of the season, as Rahim Alem sacked Kemp and forced a fumble that was picked up in stride by cornerback Chris Hawkins. Hawkins ran untouched for a 24-yard fumble return touchdown with 1:47 to play in the half.
LSU took a 21-3 lead into the lockerroom.
Passes of 15 yards from Lee to Terrance Toliver and 29 yards to LaFell moved LSU to a first-and-goal at the Tulane 10. Three plays later, Keiland Williams scored from 3 yards out to push the lead to 28-3 with 11:56 to play in the third quarter.
Tulane again responded to the long drive with one of its own, however, it stalled in the redzone. Thevenot's 31-yard field goal attempt was missed to the right, and Tulane came up empty.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Lee threw an interception on third-and-22 to linebacker Travis Burks who returned it 43 yards for a touchdown.
The score trimmed the margin to 28-10 with 7:33 to play in the game.
With Jefferson under center, Ridley rushed five times for 51 yards on LSU's final offensive possession and finishe the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers the final margin.
LSU vs. Tulane
Nov. 1, 2008 – Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)
1. LSU’s game captains were 93 Tyson Jackson, 74 Brett Helms, 84 Rahim Alem and 6 Colt David.
2. LSU wore purple jerseys for the first time since last season’s Louisiana Tech game on Nov. 10.
3. The 1988 SEC Championship team was honored on the field prior to the game.
4. Tulane won the toss and deferred to the second half. LSU received the opening kickoff.
5. Tigers extending their notable consecutive starts streak tonight were: LT Ciron Black (35), DE Tyson Jackson (35), LG Herman Johnson (31) and C Brett Helms (25).
6. LSU’s fumble return for a touchdown by Chris Hawkins in the second quarter was the first returned fumble for a TD by the Tigers since Ali Highsmith scored on a 22-yard return at Vanderbilt on Oct. 8, 2005.
a. The score was also LSU’s first defensive touchdown of the season and first since Jonathan Zenon returned an interception for a TD against Tennessee in the 2007 SEC Championship.
7. LSU has posted at least 21 points in 30 straight games. The last time the Tigers did not score at least 21 points was at Florida on Oct. 7, 2006.
8. LSU became bowl eligible for the ninth straight season, which extends the school record for consecutive bowl game appearances.
9. Streaks of interest that continued with tonight’s win: LSU won its 29th consecutive Saturday night game in Tiger Stadium ... The Tigers won their 22nd straight game vs. an in-state opponent ... LSU won its 17th straight against Tulane.
10. LSU improved to 17-0 in non-conference games under head coach Les Miles.
11. WR Brandon LaFell has now caught a pass in 23 straight games dating back to the 2007 Sugar Bowl versus Notre Dame.
a. LaFell hauled in his sixth receiving touchdown of the season and the 12th of his career on a 14-yard throw from Jarrett Lee with 2:14 left in the second quarter.
12. QB Jarrett Lee fired his 12th touchdown pass of the season on a 14-yard throw to Brandon LaFell with 2:14 left in the second quarter.
13. WR Demetrius Byrd has now caught a pass in 18 straight games dating back to last year’s Tulane game on Sept. 29.
14. RB Charles Scott tallied his 11th rushing touchdown of the season and 21st of his career on a 7-yard run with 8:43 left in the first quarter.
a. Scott is two TDs shy of Herb Tyler for 10th place in LSU career rushing TDs, and he is only one TD shy of ninth place in LSU single-season rushing TDs.
b. Scott recorded his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season and seventh of his career.
c. His six 100-yard games this season put him in a four-way tie for fourth place in single-season 100-yard rushing games. He is just one away from tying the school record.
d. Scott’s seven 100-yard rushing games for his career put him in a four-way tie for fifth place in LSU career 100-yard rushing games.
15. DE Rahim Alem forced his second fumble of the season and third of his career that led to a Chris Hawkins touchdown with 1:47 left in the second quarter.
16. RB Keiland Williams registered his first rushing TD of the year and 12th of his career on a 3-yard run with 11:56 remaining in the third quarter.
17. RB Stevan Ridley scored the first rushing touchdown of his career with a 2-yard burst up the middle with 1:18 remaining in the fourth quarter.
a. Ridley rushed for a career-high 51 yards on a career-high-tying five attempts.
Tulane Post-Game Notes
- LSU leads the all-time series 67-23-7, the oldest rivalry for each team in their histories.
- The contest marks the 42nd game at Tiger Stadium for the Green Wave and the 97th meeting of the teams.
- Tulane LB Evan Lee started his 22nd consecutive game, the longest active streak for the Green Wave. C Michael Parenton started his 21st consecutive game, while Andrew Nierman and Reggie Scott each made their 19th-consecutive starts.
- After holding opponents to just 12 fi rst downs on their fi rst 52 attempts on third down, the Green Wave have allowed their opponents to covert 12 of their last 24 third-down attempts.
- Tulane was shut out in the fi rst half for the fi rst time all season. The Green Wave had scored 86 fi rst-half points in six games.
- Tulane has not been shutout in a game in the last 73 games, a streak dating back to Sept. 28, 2002 at No. 3 Texas (49-0).
- Tulane’s captains for the game: senior center Michael Parenton, senior defensive end Reggie Scott, senior wide receiver Brian King, senior corner back Josh Lumar
- Sophomore Alan Mitchell recorded his fi rst career rush on a 13-yard end around play in the fi rst quarter
- Ross Thevenot tied his career best fi eld goal with a 48-yard fi eld goal with 3:32 to go in the fi rst quarter, putting Tulane on the board
- Freshmen Nathan Austin and Harris Howard made their fi rst career starts for Tulane.
- Albert Williams made his fi rst collegiate passing attempt intended for Alan Mitchell, during the second quarter.
- The matchup drew 92,136 in attendance, making the 2008 Tulane-LSU game the second highest attended single-game (all sites) in Tulane history
- Logan Kelley tallied his fifth sack of the year in the third quarter, taking down LSU’s Jarrett Lee for a loss of 11 yards.
- Travis Burks picked off a Jarrett Lee pass with 7:33 left in the game and ran it back for a 43-yard TD, the fi rst INT taken back for a touchdown since David Skehan’s 30-yard TD interception return against SMU on September 30, 2006.
- Charles Harris recorded fi ve solo tackles in the contest, marking a career-high in unassisted takedowns.
- Nathan Austin had a career-high 16 carries in the contest.
- Tulane has lost 35 consecutive games against ranked opponents. The Green Wave’s last win over a ranked team came on Nov. 27, 1982, a 31-28 win at No. 12 LSU.
LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES QUOTES
Opening statement ...
“I first want to compliment Tulane and Bob Toledo. They did a good job. I think that the things that were obvious to me were that our defense played better and in my opinion very good against the run at times. I think our offense rushed the football and threw the football with balance to a point, but seemed to be plagued by mistakes and things that we must correct before we play again. Trindon Holiday gave us a spark in some return yardage and I think our kickers and specialists did a good job. It’s victory. We have some work to do and things to accomplish. With the current score in Texas, we might welcome the No. 1 team in the country here next week and we look forward to playing them.”
On the team’s performance ...
“There were too many mistakes, but what we did see was a better defense and I thought we rushed the football better. Certainly we are still making mistakes at times, but I didn’t think that was a team that has peaked at play. I thought they played hard and certainly secured victory.”
On mistakes made ...
“I’m going to have to see. We end up in long yardage situations when we throw it with a fumbled snap, holding penalty, get sacked or scramble and throw it and make a mistake. I would suggest that we probably gave back to our opponent 75 yards of offense. We can’t afford to do that. If it means changes in philosophy then we might do that. I can’t imagine that we are going to beat the teams we need to beat without great balance.”
On what he wanted to accomplish tonight ...
“One thing we wanted to do was secure victory and come off the field with a good rushing attack and backs a certain number of carries. We also wanted to throw the football well, but we wanted to do so in spots and pick our spots. After we got a lead, we started throwing a little more, but I still wanted to make sure we rushed the football. I wanted to see [Stevan] Ridley , No. 26 [Richard Murphy] and No. 5 [Keiland Williams] run.”
On Jordan Jefferson ...
“He’s going to play. We wanted to give him a number of snaps and I’d liked to have thrown the football a little more at the end. We didn’t want to put him in early with the idea that the game was still in question with the first snaps.”
On playing four quality quarters ...
“I’d have to say we fell short of what we could have accomplished. Victory certainly is the first accomplishment. There was some improved play on defense and I thought offensively we rushed the football well, but we can’t make mistakes.”
LSU OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
QB Jarrett Lee
On how he felt about getting the win against Tulane ...
“Whenever you win you have to feel good about it. We had some mistakes, but that’s something we’re going to work on this week in practice leading up to a big game next weekend against Alabama.”
On what he thought of his performance against Tulane ...
“I think things turned out pretty good. That pass at the end that got intercepted is something I still need to work on but overall I thought we played well.”
On taking a big hit after the interception he threw ...
“I just got the breath knocked out of me. I hadn’t got the breath knocked out of me since second grade, so I just forgot how it felt. But I’m fine and looking forward to preparing for next week.”
RB Charles Scott
On what he thought of the team’s performance ...
“It’s always good to get the win whether it’s ugly or it’s pretty. We came out tonight and played football and had a little fun and came out with the win.”
On what he thought of his individual performance ...
“I feel good about it. I felt like I could have done a little more, but at the same time we didn’t need it because we kept the offense moving.”
On the status of his ankle ...
“It feels good, it really does. At first it was a little questionable, but it’s perfect now.”
On preparations for Alabama ...
“We’re going to rest up this weekend and come in Monday morning and go to work. We’re going to see what these guys (Alabama) are doing on defense. On offense, we’re going to go out and work hard and come Saturday night we’re going to put it all on the field.”
LSU DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
Safety Harry Coleman
On the quality of the win in Tiger Stadium...
“You always want to win no matter how it is won.”
On defense’s performance...
“We give a great effort every time we step out on the field, but we had a few minor mistakes here and there.”
On two losses this season and progress of team...
“We had a few setbacks, but we are using those setbacks as comebacks.”
On Alabama game next week...
“If you can’t get motivated for that game then you can’t get motivated. We’re looking forward to next week.”
Linebacker Darry Beckwith
On defense’s performance...
“Any time you lose a game you want to come back and get a victory, and that’s what we did tonight. We took a step forward on offense in the game. As far as the defense, we have to take this and continue to move forward. We played well against South Carolina and came back and didn’t play so well against Georgia. We have to play consistently as a team and as a defense.”
On Alabama game next week...
“I really feel we can win next week. I know everyone doubts us. They think it’s a big game, and we’re going to crumble. I feel we can get it done. We hurt ourselves when we don’t play well. Take nothing away from the other teams. They do a great job.”
“It’s going to be a big game. Ole Saint Nick is coming back. It’s going to be special.”
Defensive End Tyson Jackson
On defense’s improvement...
“We still have a lot of things to correct. There were some missed tackles. We have a good long week before the number one team in the country comes down ehre. We have to prepare well.”
On confidence of team...
“Right now my confidence level is really high because of our win against Tulane. The Bama game is going to be really big and emotional for a lot of the guys on our team. I’m really confident with the guys I’m going on the field with. We’re going to go out there and do our job.”
“Just getting our swagger back . Just getting our identity back as a defense. Knowing where we are on the field and knowing what guys on the field are capable of making plays. I think our defense made a big statement tonight.”
TULANE HEAD COACH BOB TOLEDO
“First of all, let me say that we lost to a really good football team. I think LSU is an outstanding football team. They’re very physical. They took the first drive and went down and scored. We went down, and it looked like we had an opportunity to score, but we had some penalties. Then, we end up kicking a field goal. In the second quarter, they score a touchdown, and then, we’re trying to throw the ball. We get sacked and fumble, and they run it in just before the half for a 21-3 lead. That was kind of frustrating for them to put that kind of pressure on us and to see the amount of penalties we had in a row. That took us out of a chance to score.
“In the third quarter, obviously, they take the ball and go right down the field and score. It’s almost like they could score at will at that point, but then, our defense got pretty physical and did a great job and held them. We go down, and we miss a field goal. We can’t seem to make a field goal this year, so we are really struggling with kicking the football, and then, of course they wore us down at the end. They kept pounding on us, and we had a hard time stopping them. You have to give credit to them. They’re a good football team. We’re a team that’s in transition right now. We’ve got a bunch of young guys trying to play. We were playing 12 true freshmen and nine redshirt freshmen and playing with some seniors who have a lot of heart right now and giving us good leadership. We were a little mismatched tonight, and it was hard to move the ball. When they wanted to run the ball, it was hard for us to stop them.”
On not being able to capitalize despite winning the time of possession battle...
“That’s what is frustrating. We tried a few special plays, and we got a ‘PI’ on one, and we tried to do something to give us a play. We’re struggling making plays right now. They played some bump and run on us, and we couldn’t separate from their defensive backs. Our receivers had a hard time getting open, and we didn’t have a lot of time to throw the football. We didn’t have the ball a lot because we couldn’t convert and make first downs. I don’t know what the time of possession was. It was around 29 minutes, so it was close, but I think we played as hard as we could’ve played. We just made too many mistakes, and again, that hurt us.”
On if LSU’s long drive for a touchdown late in the second quarter was the turning point of the game...
“Well, I think it was a big part of the game, yes. I don’t know if it was the turning point. I think the turning point was when we fumbled the ball, and they ran it in for a touchdown if there was a turning point. I hate to use one play as a turning point, but that play hurt us because we could have gone in at halftime and still had a chance. Then, of course they took the first possession in the second half and go down and score, and that kind of really put us in a bind. We just had a hard time moving the football. They’re a better football team than we are at this point. We’re beat up, and we were just not a good football team in this game.”
TULANE OFFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
QB Kevin Moore
On who would start as quarterback...
“Whoever started did not have an affect on what system we would be playing. We knew in pre-game warm-ups who would start.”
On working on keeping the quarterback position...
“You cannot focus on that. Joey (Kemp) played well against Rice and coach said he would give him more opportunities. He was playing well and if it helps our football team then I’m all for that. I didn’t look at it like he was taking my job. A quarterback never worries about that. I just try to do my job and get better in practice. I felt like we got the most out of practice this week.”
On focusing during the game...
“In Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night, I don’t think I got it. Their defense played fantastic all night. They have an incredible set of guys who can run and they have so many guys on the field who can make plays. They’re tremendously deep across the board. I had two chances to make it and I couldn’t get a yard. That’s my fault and they stopped me.”
On the Tiger’s defense...
“It’s hard to say if LSU is the best defense I’ve played against all year. The Tigers are up there with other good teams. We played Alabama at Alabama and they are good. It’s tough to rank. LSU is one of the best defenses in the country.”
TULANE DEFENSIVE PLAYER QUOTES
LB Travis Burks
On if he was planning to make the interception ...
“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I got a lot of help from the defensive line, especially Linebacker Logan Kelly. They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, which caused him to throw a bad ball. I was where I was supposed to be and got a good break on the ball.”
On what happened when he got the ball...
“Just run. I just wanted to run as fast as I could. I know they have a lot of skill players who are fast. I knew none of the lineman would catch me, I was just worried about getting hit from the back and them stripping the ball from me. I didn’t want to do all this running for nothing. I just wanted to get good field position and I ended up scoring.”
On the emotions coming into the game...
“Last night we had a town hall meeting. Everyone had the opportunity to speak and get everything off their chest. I am not that type of guy who always speaks in front of everyone. I like to let my actions speak for themselves. Tonight my focus was to play to finish the game.”
On if he is looking forward to the next season...
“No we don’t. I have the slogan on the back of my shirt. It says ‘Finish,’ and that is what we plan to do. We are going to take it one game at a time. We are not going to look to next year. That is not what we do.”