LaFell, Defense Help Tigers Roll Past ULL, 31-3

LSU's Chad Jones had two interceptions
LSU's Chad Jones had two interceptions
Chris Parent (@chrisparent) (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- Wide receiver Brandon LaFell caught two touchdown passes and the LSU defense kept Louisiana-Lafayette out of the Tiger Stadium endzone once again, as LSU beat the Cajuns, 31-3, on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

LSU (3-0) wasn't flashy in victory, but its defense highlighted the evening. The Tigers extended their streak of keeping UL-Lafayette (2-1) without a touchdown in the 85-year history of the stadium. Tonight was the 12th game in the series here, and LSU has outscored the Ragin' Cajuns, 618-6.

Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson completed 16-of-25 passes for 165 yards and both touchdowns to LaFell. Jarrett Lee entered for one play and tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to running back Charles Scott.

Scott led the Tigers on the ground with 63 yards on 12 carries. Trindon Holliday scored an 11-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter, moments after being honored on the field for his track national championship.

LaFell finished with three catches for 57 yards. Terrance Toliver led the Tigers with six receptions for 68 yards.

It was LSU's defense which proved the difference, as LSU safety Chad Jones grabbed two interceptions. The Tigers defense also stopped ULL with a third-quarter goal-line stand after first-and-goal at the 3, forcing a fumble on fourth down.

Linebackers Harry Coleman and Kelvin Sheppard each recorded eight tackles, while cornerback Chris Hawkins added seven. Coleman forced the goal-line fumble.

UL-Lafayette starting quarterback Chris Masson was 16-of-36 passing for 159 yards. He threw two interceptions. Undrea led the Cajuns with 48 rushing yards on 17 carries.

The Tigers outgained the Cajuns, 330-272.

ULL opened the game in a no-huddle offense with four wide receivers and picked up two first downs into LSU territory before three-straight passes fell incomplete.

Cajun's punter Spencer Ortego pinned the Tigers at their 4-yard line with a 44-yarder, but Jefferson was able to get some breathing room with a 9-yard scamper for a first down and a 6-yard pass to tight end Richard Dickson on third-and-6 for another.

The drive stalled after two penalties and two incomplete long passes. LSU punter Derek Helton launched a 48-yard kick that was fair caught by ULL's Louis Lee at the Cajuns 8.

A third-consecutive drive ended with a 41-yard punt by Ortego which was returned in ULL territory by safety Chad Jones.

Starting first-and-10 at the ULL 46, Jefferson threw deep for the third-straight offensive play but under-threw Chris Mitchell at the goalline. The pass was intercepted by Cajuns' free safety Gerren Blount who brought it out to the ULL 24. However, ULL quickly went three-and-out, and Oretgo punted for the third time in the quarter.

Jefferson led the Tigers to the game's first scoring drive by picking up consecutive first-downs to Dickson before connecting with LaFell for a 16-yard touchdown to break the scoreless tie.

With 3:09 left in the first quarter, LSU led 7-0.

The Tigers defense turned the Cajuns over for the first time when Masson's pass sailed high over the receiver's head and into the waiting arms of Jones.

Jones' 38-yard return to the ULL 23 -- and a personal foul after the play -- put the Tigers in position for another quick score.

On the first play of the second quarter, Holliday took an option pitch from Jefferson, broke a tackle and ran 11 yards for his fourth career rushing touchdown.

LSU expanded its lead to 14-0 with 14:52 left in the half.

With eight-straight passes, the Cajuns earned a place on the scoreboard at the 11:26 mark of the second quarter. Masson completed 4-of-8 passes for 34 yards, and placekicker Tyler Albrecht connected from 40 yards to cut the Cajuns deficit to 14-3.

The LSU defense earned its another turnover, this time on downs, when Masson came up short on fourth-and-1 at the LSU 34 with 6:25 left in the half.

As time expired in the half, Jasper hit a career-best 52-yard field goal to remain perfect in his career (7-of-7). His previous long was 33 yards, as he was the backup the LSU career scoring leader Colt David in 2008.

LSU led 17-3 at halftime.

LaFell earned his third multi-touchdown game on LSU's first drive of the second half, catching a 20-yard dart from Jefferson with 10:53 left in the third-quarter. He moved into a three-way tie for seventh on LSU's career touchdown receptions list his 17th.

A great option pitch and catch on third-and-2 at midfield by Jefferson to Williams went for 12 yards and helped to setup the score. Jasper's point after gave LSU a 24-3 lead.

Midway through the third quarter, ULL quickly moved into the LSU redzone by using its no-huddle offense and quarterback keepers by Masson.

Looking to cross the goalline for the first time in Tiger Stadium, ULL had first-and-goal at the 3-yard line. However, four running plays resulted in 0 yards and a fumble on fourth down was forced by LSU's Harry Coleman and picked up by Perry Riley.

LSU added its final touchdown with 5:48. Jefferson's 21-yard pass to LaFell move the Tigers to the 11-yard line. Three plays later -- after Jefferson left the game with cramps for a play -- Lee tossed a first-and-goal pass to Scott for a 1-yard touchdown. Scott lined up at fullback, slipped into the right flat and caught the pass uncontested.

The Tigers increased the lead to the final margin.

Attendance for tonight's game is 92,443, the 13th-largest in Tiger Stadium history.

LSU returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 26, when the Tigers travel to face Mississippi State in Starkville. Kickoff is set for 11:21 a.m. on the SEC Network.

LSU vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Sept. 19, 2009 Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)
Postgame Notes

Team Notes
1. LSU’s game captains were 24 Harry Coleman, 91 Charles Alexander, 5 Keiland Williams, 43 Daniel Graff and 30 Josh Jasper
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. UL-Lafayette will receive the opening kickoff.
3. Tigers extending their notable consecutive starts streak tonight were: LT Ciron Black (43), OG Lyle Hitt (23), LB Harry Coleman (16), RT Joseph Barksdale (16), TE Richard Dickson (16), RB Charles Scott (16) and CB Chris Hawkins (16). 
4. Tigers making their first career appearances tonight: 98 Dennis Johnson
5. Tigers making their first career starts tonight: FB Richard Dugas and TE Mitch Joseph.
6. LSU won its 32nd consecutive Saturday night game in Tiger Stadium and head coach Les Miles improved to 21-0 in those contests. The last time the Tigers lost a Saturday night game in Tiger Stadium was Nov. 16, 2002 (lost to Alabama, 31-0).
7. LSU won its 12th straight game in the month of September. The last loss came at Auburn on Sept. 16, 2006.
8. The Tigers improved to 3-0 for the third straight season marking only the second time in school history LSU has started 3-0 in three straight seasons. The last time it happened was under head coach Charles McClendon in 1967, ’68 and ’69.
9. LSU improved to 33-0 all-time against Sun Belt Conference teams, including a 22-0 mark against UL-Lafayette.
10. Tonight’s attendance of 92,443 is the 13th-largest in the history of Tiger Stadium.
11. Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee both threw at least one touchdown pass tonight, the first time two LSU quarterbacks have thrown a TD pass since Aug. 30, 2008 when Lee and Andrew Hatch each threw TD passes against Appalachian State.
12. In 22 games against Louisiana-Lafayette LSU has scored 988 total points while only surrendering 25 points.

Individual Notes
13. WR Brandon LaFell has now caught a pass in 31 straight games (30 of those multiple-reception games) dating back to the 2007 Sugar Bowl versus Notre Dame.
a. LaFell’s streak is the fifth longest streak in the nation. Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson leads the nation with 43 consecutive games with a catch.
b. LaFell hauled in a 16-yard TD reception from Jordan Jefferson with 3:09 left in the first quarter and a 20-yard TD reception with 10:53 remaining in third quarter. The scores moved LaFell into a three-way tie for seventh place with Josh Reed (1999-2001) and Ken Kavanaugh Sr. (1937-39) in LSU career touchdown receptions. He now has 17 for his career, three for the season and three career two-touchdown games. 
c. LaFell’s three receptions give him 132 for his career, tying Tony Moss (1986-89) for ninth all time at LSU.
14. TE Richard Dickson extended his streak to 14 consecutive games with a reception as he finished with three catches for 27 yards. Two of his three catches went for first downs.
a. Dickson moved into a tie for third with Robert Royal (1998-2001) in LSU career receptions by a tight end with 75. Mitch Andrews (1982-85) holds the career record with 87.
15. WR Terrance Toliver also extended his streak to 13 consecutive games with a reception by finishing with six catches for 68 yards.
16. QB Jordan Jefferson’s first-quarter interception snapped his streak of consecutive passes without a pick. The streak ended at 100 passes.
a. Jefferson tossed his fourth and fifth TD passes of the season and eighth and ninth of his career on a 16-yard throw to Brandon LaFell with 3:09 remaining in the first quarter and a 20-yard strike to LaFell with 10:53 to go in the third quarter.
b. Jefferson has now accounted for multiple-touchdown pass games in two of LSU’s first three games.
17. FS Chad Jones recorded an interception as time expired in the first quarter and added another with 8:46 left in the fourth quarter. It was the first two-interception game by a Tiger since Chris Hawkins had two at Auburn nearly a year to the day on Sept. 20, 2008. Jones now has four career picks.
18. RB Trindon Holliday registered his third career rushing TD and first of the season on the first play of the second quarter.
19. PK Josh Jasper booted a career-long 52-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, besting his previous of 33 yards. The kick was Jasper’s first attempt beyond 40 yards in his career. He improved to a perfect 7-of-7 for his career and 5-of-5 for the season.
20. WR Rueben Randle made the first catch of his career on a 15-yard throw from Jordan Jefferson with 13:56 in the fourth quarter.
21. RB Charles Scott hauled in his first receiving touchdown of the season on a one-yard pass from Jarrett Lee with 5:48 left in the game. The receiving TD is Scott’s first since Sept. 15, 2007 against Middle Tennessee State.


LSU vs. UL-Lafayette
September 19, 2009


Opening statement...
“I think (UL-Lafayette head coach) Rickey Bustle has got himself a good football team. They are tough, hard-nosed and play sound and quality football. I like their quarterback (Chris Masson) and their running back (Undrea Sails). I thought their defense fought like heck.

“Again, when you play a state school, and they play for backyard bragging rights when you put a school in our shadow, you have to read the press clippings week-in and week-out. We get a great effort. I thought we saw that today. I liked our defense. I thought our defense played hard and tackled crisply and played the way an LSU defense is expected to play. I liked everything about it. I liked (safety) Chad Jones’ two interceptions. I liked the tackling with, off my memory, two missed tackles. I liked the way they played. Offensively, I think we had big plays. I think we were ambitious early. We overthrew some balls. Our quarterback (Jordan Jefferson) was not necessarily in a groove early, but we have some talent. We have the ability to make plays, but we’re not hitting on all cylinders just yet, and we must run the football. We have too many good runners to not run the football more efficiently, so that’s our quest.

“I can tell you that I like my field goal kicker (Josh Jasper). I like my kickoff man. Jasper did a heck of a job. I think (Derek) Helton hit a couple of punts the way he’s supposed to hit them. I think we’re coming. I think there’s some improvement being made. It just has to be quicker and better because the pace quickens as we go to Mississippi State. They are going to have to play better football, and we look forward to playing them. I know that they apparently at this time got victory against Vanderbilt. It’s back to the conference, and I think our guys look forward to it.”

On concerns that the offense has yet to explode...
“I hope that we can keep saying afterward that we’re better with each game that we play. I think we did not throw the football efficiently. I don’t think we ran the football efficiently. I think we made big plays. I think they were in position to make some improvement and be better, and I like the position we’re in. It’s just we haven’t done it yet. I see what you guys see. I want us to be better. We have struggled where maybe we shouldn’t.”


QB Jordan Jefferson

On the victory tonight ...
“It feels very good tonight. We got our third victory tonight, and we’re ready to keep earning victories. We’re going to come in on Monday and correct our mistakes and get ready to play again next week.”

On his comfort level at quarterback ...
“I’m really getting the feel of it. Tonight was my second start at home and my fifth overall. I’m getting really comfortable, and I’m able to trust my offensive line and my receivers. I’m looking forward to winning more games.”

On being surrounded by so many weapons on offense ...
“It’s a really good feeling having all of those guys around me. I know those guys are going to get the yards and catch the ball for me. I’m going to keep feeding them the ball and they’re going to keep doing good things with it.”

WR Brandon LaFell

On the offense tonight ...
“We got going really quick, but then we had a couple of drives that went three-and-out. We came out in the second half and drove down the field and scored. We have to do a better job of getting in a rhythm and moving the chains. As soon as we’re able to do that consistently we’ll be better as a team.”

On what it will take to start seeing more deep balls ...
“We have to get in the habit of blocking better and that will allow us to run the ball better. We also have to get receivers more action. Last week it was RJ Jackson and we’re looking forward to Chris Mitchell coming along. The more receivers that are catching balls, the more it takes pressure off of me and  Terrance Toliver. When the running backs are getting blocks and hitting the holes and moving the ball, the defense will have to start putting more men in the box, and that will leave more one-on-ones on the outside.”


LB Harry Coleman

On defensive effort against UL-Lafayette...
“We came out and stepped up our game and made plays.”

On progression of LSU’s defense from game to game...
“We have really come together. You can really tell that our communication has improved. Guys are stepping up and making plays.”

On the SEC match-up on the road at Mississippi State...
“We plan on playing hard and tough. Mississippi State won tonight, so the defensive players will come out next week and play to the best of our ability.”

DT Charles Alexander

On defensive effort against UL-Lafayette...
“It’s going to get better each week. Defense will get better. We have some accomplished players. We had a rough start at the beginning of the season, but give credit to Washington for beating USC tonight. We have to get out there and be ready to play each week.”

On improvement from game to game...
“Coach Miles emphasizes improvement from week to week. He told us to get better each day. He’s not going to let up on us. We have to be ready to play ball each Saturday.”

On the SEC match-up on the road at Mississippi State...
“We have to bring our A-game. Coach Miles emphasizes taking each game at a time, each play at a time. If we do that, then we should be on top.”

LB Jacob Cutrera

On keeping UL-Lafayette from scoring a touchdown since the 1920s...
“We are just trying to play ball. The goal is to not let them score at all. We just tried to do our job and get ULL’s offense off the field.”

On defensive effort against UL-Lafayette...
“Before the game Coach Miles sat us down and challenged us to visualize playing the game. I think we did a good job playing tonight. It wasn’t perfect, and it’s not going to be. For the most part, I think we did a good job and played well.” 


On what UL-Lafayette will take away from the game against LSU ...
“We are going to find the positives in this game and build on those. We are going to look at the negative things we did and the plays we didn’t make and make them next time. That is the way this team is going to be. That is a heck of a football team in that locker room. I’m so proud of how they played the game. We just didn’t come out on the right end.”

On if the final score felt like a 31-3 game ...
“It didn’t feel like that at all. I felt like LSU had to earn every inch they made. Offensively, we moved the ball between the 20 yard lines quite a bit and just couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.”

On offensive opportunities UL-Lafayette had ...
“We made a couple of interceptions and got our hands on several balls, and you know, you have to make those plays. When you look at the defense that is what you are going to look at. We are going to look at the film and see where we could have stopped drives again. Offensively, we just didn’t pitch and catch in the first half. We dropped balls and didn’t throw well.”

On what positive things he wants to take away from this game ...
“The biggest thing is that we played great defense for most of the game. We moved the ball offensively effectively. We just did not put it in the end zone. I hope that next week we make those plays. It may be the difference in the game.”

On attempting to push through a fourth down ...
“We were in the pile there a couple of times, and we just let LSU come off the edge on that play, much like the fourth down they tried to go for. We came off the edge and hit them.”

On QB Chris Masson’s performance in the game ...
“He was off a little bit. He got hit on the arm and a ball floated up in the air, and one, he just flat overthrew.”

On how he feels RB Undrea Sails played and the team’s performance ...
“Sails runs hard. He has a great knack for bouncing out of plays and putting his hand on the ground to pop up. We are going to look at this film and see that we played extremely hard. Offensively, we just have to get better.”


QB Chris Masson

On being limited by offensive miscues...
“It’s so frustrating right now because we were able to move the ball. It’s just a frustrating feeling. We moved the ball up and down the field and we just couldn’t capitalize. We keep putting our defense in bad situations, and we have to stop doing that.”

On playing in a hostile environment for the first time...
“I didn’t see anything different, really. Yeah, it was loud, but it was louder during the Southern game. Obviously, we just weren’t playing at home. I didn’t feel pressured or anything like that. I just didn’t connect on some of the throws that I should have made.”

RB Undrea Sails

On how this game affects the rest of the season...
“The goal is much bigger than this. We’re still planning to go play Nebraska and hopefully pull out a victory there, but we also want to go play for the conference championship. That’s our main goal right now. We know we have the talent to do it, so we’re just trying to prepare for next week and take it one game at a time.”

On what to take away from this loss... 
“There’s no such thing as a moral victory, but at the same time, we know we left some plays out on the field that would have made the score much closer. We don’t know what the outcome would have been if it had happened, but we just have to put this game behind us and move on.”

On the mood of the team following the game...
“Right now in the locker room, we’re hurting. We know we could have made the game a lot closer and a lot more interesting, but at the same time, we know we have a really good team. It hurts, but we still have our heads up. We know we have players who can go out and make plays and compete against everybody we play this year.”

On being stopped near the goal line in the fourth quarter...
“On the first run, I thought I was in. It was close and I couldn’t tell, but I thought I was in when it was over with. On fourth down, I just came back. We just didn’t buck up and push forward like we should have, and they came with everything they had.”


LB Antwyne Zanders

On the execution of the defense ...
“We just didn’t execute. We didn’t make enough plays. We had times where we had the ball in our hands and we dropped them. We should have caught those interceptions and it would have been a different game for us. We should have caught more balls and made more plays. That’s why they won.”

On if this was a moral victory ...
“No, not anymore. There is no such thing as a moral victory. You don’t play football to have moral victories anymore. You play to win, and we should have played better. We should have made more plays than they did.”

On the defensive intensity ...
“We played hard. We play hard every week. We make plays every week. It’s just moral victories are not good enough for this team anymore. We are better than we were last year. That is why our coaches think that we should have won this game. The defense had opportunities. We should have won.”

On getting refocused for next week ...
“Our goal of winning the conference is still well in reach. We are going to practice hard and get back and get refocused. We are going to put this game behind us and get refocused for next week.”

CB Dwight Bentley

On the play of the defense ...
“If we would have made the plays it would have been a whole different game. We played good as a defense, but that is not our defense. We are way better than that.”

On how the secondary played against LSU’s receivers ...
“They had pretty good receivers. After we had seen that we could play with them, we know that we can play with anyone in the nation. We believe that now. Now we have showed that we can play with anyone. We came out slow at first, but then we came back and played. We should have come out hard and it would have been a whole different game.”



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