BATON ROUGE -- No. 13 LSU amassed the third-most yards in school history on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium, as the Tigers overcame first-half mistakes to discard Furman, 48-16, on Homecoming.
LSU (7-2), which played for the ninth-straight week, takes a bye week before returning to action on Nov. 9 against top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Kickoff time and the television network for the annual clash are scheduled to be announced on Monday.
Before taking on the Tide, LSU needed to fight past an interception for a touchdown and a muffed punt that gave the Paladins 10 of their 16 first-half points.
The Tigers scored 28 unanswered points in the second half and finished with 672 yards of total offense on the night, the most since the Tigers gained 680 against Western Carolina in 2000.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger, whose second pass of the game was intercepted for a touchdown, steadied throughout the game to lead LSU to victory despite his mistakes. He finished 16-of-24 passing for 328 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had a career-best 204 receiving yards, the most since Josh Reed's 239 in the 2002 Sugar Bowl. Beckham, who muffed a punt that led to a Furman field goal just before halftime, had six catches and scored touchdowns of 37 and 63 yards. Jarvis Landry added five catches for 87 yards, while fullback Melvin Jones' first career catch was a 7-yard touchdown.
Defensively, linebacker Kwon Alexander led the way with a career-best 14 tackles, while defensive back Jalen Mills, and linebackers Lamin Barrow and D.J. Welter each added seven tackles. Defensive back Dwayne Thomas had two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass broken up.
LSU improved to 60-24-3 all-time on Homecoming and extended its school-record winning streak to 13-straight Homecoming wins. At halftime, the 2013 Homecoming court was presented, and senior biological sciences major Emma Arceneaux of St. Joseph, La., and senior biological engineering major Alex Cagnola of Lafayette, La., were named queen and king.
For Furman, quarterback Reese Hannon was 16-of-28 passing for 104 yards with an interception. Hank McCloud led the way on the ground with 79 yards on 16 carries. Placekicker Ray Early made all three of his field goal attempts of 46, 31 and 23 yards.
The Tigers outgained the Paladins, 672-198, while Furman had a 35:18-24:42 time of possession advantage.
Furman won the coin toss and elected to take the ball. After James Hairston's first kickoff out of bounds this season, Furman started on its 35. The Paladins gained a first down rushing, but sacks by defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and defensive back Dwayne Thomas forced a punt.
Early's 15-yard punt gave the Tigers excellent field position at the LSU 48 for their first drive, however, Mettenberger second pass of the game was intercepted by cornerback Reggie Thomas. Thomas returned the pickoff 74 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Furman lead with 10:52 left in the opening quarter.
LSU bounced back with a quick scoring drive, as Landry caught a 14-yard pass on third-and-4 before Hill ran mostly untouched for a 55-yard a touchdown. Colby Delahoussaye's PAT tied the game at 7-7 with only 65 seconds after the Furman score.
Furman's dream start wasn't over. The Paladins converted a fourth-and-1 at the LSU 34 to keep their drive alive. Four plays later, Early kicked a 46-yard field goal to complete a 13-play, 46-yard drive. Furman led 10-7 with 3:57 remaining in the quarter.
Again, LSU's offense answered the score quickly. Hill ran for 12 yards to the LSU 43 and Beckham Jr. moved past 2,000 yards in his career with a 53-yard catch-and-run to the Furman 4. Hill barreled into the endzone on the next play for to give LSU a 14-10 lead one minute after the Furman field goal.
Thomas' second sack of the game forced Furman to punt for the second time, and LSU took over at its 36. Hilliard gained two first downs rushing before Mettenberger lobbed a pass into double coverage in Beckham's direction. The junior receiver pulled the pass away from a defender and spun into the endzone for a 37-yard score. LSU pushed its lead to 20-10 after Delahoussaye's missed PAT, LSU's first in 147 attempts.
Furman continued to take it to the Tigers defense, taking advantage of a personal foul on second-and-11 and advancing to the LSU 14. After Quentin Thomas and Alexander combined for a 5-yard tackle for loss, Early hit a 31-yard field goal that pulled Furman within a touchdown, 20-13.
LSU's offense continued to click, but after a 33-yard catch by Beckham Jr. to the Furman 18, the drive stalled. Delahoussaye missed the first field goal of his short career, a 31-yard attempt.
Furman earned a first down to its 40 on the ensuing drive but punted on fourth-and-8 from its 42. Attempting to run up and field the 32-yard punt, Beckham Jr. muffed the catch and Furman recovered at the LSU 28.
The Paladins advanaced to the LSU 1 but had a game-tying touchdown run negated by a false start. With five seconds to play in the half, Furman elected for a 23-yard field goal and trailed 20-16 at halftime.
Despite a 289-149 advantage in first-half yardage, LSU's turnovers helped Furman to a 14-minute advantage in time of possession.
LSU received the kickoff to start the second half and marched from its 16 into Furman territory in three plays. A 26-yard catch by Landry went to the Paladins 46, and a 33-yard run by Magee came up just short of the goal line. Magee scored on the next play to cap an eight-play, 84-yard drive that too 3:34. The Tigers led 27-16 after Hairston's first career PAT.
Safety Ronald Martin came up with the Tigers first interception of the game on a third-and-2 pass by Hannon. LSU took over at its 49, but three plays later Mettenberger was intercepted after taking a hit.
Later in the third quarter, the Tigers put together a nine-play, 90-yard drive to score their first touchdown of the second half. Mettenberger kept the drive alive with a 22-yard pass to Alfred Blue on third-and-13 from the Furman 42. After a 13-yard run by Blue to the 7, Jones caught a 7-yard touchdown that pushed LSU ahead 34-16 with 11:12 remaining in the third quarter.
After a Furman three-and-out, Magee accounted for all 69 of LSU's yards on a four-play scoring drive. Runs of 18, 12 and 39 yards resulted in a touchdown and a 41-16 lead.
The Tigers tacked on a final touchdown with 9:10 to play, as Mettenberger found Beckham Jr. streaking between three defenders at the Furman 45. The receiver dodged a tackle and scored the longest reception of the season for LSU at 63 yards.
Attendance was 92,554.