No. 5 Tigers Rally Past No. 15 Arizona State, 35-31

Early Doucet catches the 39-yard game-winning touchdown pass.
Early Doucet catches the 39-yard game-winning touchdown pass. (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

TEMPE, Ariz. -- LSU wide receiver Early Doucet jumped past two Arizona State defenders and came down with a 39-yard touchdown reception from JaMarcus Russell with 1:13 to play to give the No. 5 Tigers an improbable 35-31 "home" victory.

LSU (1-0) won a season opener on the road for the first time since 1987.

Arizona State (1-1), which along with the Fiesta Bowl played a terrific host for the displaced Tigers, had punt and field goal attempts blocked and returned for touchdowns in the second half after leading by as many as 10 points.

Archived audio from pregame though the end of the postgame show is now available in the Geaux Zone. Archived full-game video is also available now, while the first Inside LSU Football with Les Miles will be available on Sunday evening. Join to Geaux Zone now to see all of the action.

The back-and-forth affair saw the teams amass 994 yards of total offense (434 for LSU, 560 for ASU), 17 penalties for 131 yards, and only three second-half punts. There were 42 points scored in the fourth quarter.

Russell, who started the fifth game of his career as a Tiger, passed for 232 yards on 16-of-29 passing -- none more important than his strike to Doucet that gave the Tigers the final margin.

LSU runningback Joseph Addai rushed for two touchdowns and 106 yards to lead the Tigers.

Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller toyed with the LSU secondary at times, tallying 461 yards passing, completing 35-of-56 throws. But, it was his last four incomplete passes against a beleaguered Tigers secondary that game LSU the win.

After a scoreless first quarter that featured a successful fake punt by LSU at its 10-yard line, Arizona State took a 7-0 lead with 9:50 left in the half on a 25-yard reception by halfback Jamaal Lewis from quarterback Sam Keller.

The touchdown drive by the Sun Devils came on the heels of a 19-play, 80-yard drive by LSU that took 11:02 off the game clock yet resulted in a Russell fumble at the ASU 19-yard line.

The Tigers answered on their next possession, scampering 80 yards in 12 plays to tie the game at 7-7 on a 1-yard run by Addai around the left end. The score was setup by a 28-yard pass from Russell to wide receiver Bennie Brazell to the 1-yard line on third-and-9 from the ASU 29.

Arizona State took the halftime lead, 10-7, marching 71 yards in eight plays and earning a Jesse Ainsworth 26-yard field goal with 3:58 left in the half. Keller connected with tight end Matt Miller for 44 yards down to the LSU 21-yard line to setup the score.

In the first half, LSU out-gained Arizona State (197-169), had 20 more offensive plays the Sun Devils and possessed the ball for 20:55.

The Sun Devils added to the lead on their first possession of the second half, marching 75 yards on 14 plays to push the advantage to 17-7. After the Tigers benefited from the first instant reply reversal of the season that took an ASU touchdown off the board, LSU forced a third-and-goal from the 9-yard line. The Sun Devils countered with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Keller to Burgess with 5:58 to play in the third quarter.

LSU trailed 17-14.

After Addai fumbled near midfield on the ensuing possession, the Tigers' appeared to be staggering.

Then, the tides changed.

With Arizona State inside the LSU 10-yard line, Tigers linebacker Ali Highsmith forced a fumble that was recovered by Craig Steltz to end a scoring threat that may have put the game out of reach.

Arizona State again threatened to widen the lead, when LSU defensive tackle Claude Wroten blocked an Ainsworth 46-yard field goal attempt and cornerback Mario Stevenson returned it 55 yards for a touchdown with 14:47 to play in the contest.

Seeking to regain momentum -- and take the the lead for the first time -- the LSU defense forced Arizona State to punt from their territory. With ASU in a strange punt formation spread across the field, LSU fullback Jacob Hester broke through the staggered line to tackle the punter and Steltz picked up the ball that was whiffed by the ASU punter for a 29-yards touchdown.

The strange play gave LSU a 21-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Arizona State quickly took the lead back, 24-21.

But on the next possession, Skyler Green took an end-around 41-yards to the ASU 6-yard line to setup a 5-yard touchdown run by Addai with 8:26 to play in the game. The 80-yard drive took 3:01 and gave LSU a 28-24 lead.

Again, the lead was short-lived as the tiring Tigers defense gave up another touchdown with 4:07 to play, and fell behind 31-28. The ASU 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive took 4:19 off the clock.

With only 1:23 to play and faced with a fourth-and-10 from the Arizona State 39-yard line, Russell rolled out of the pocked to his right, turned and ran left, then hurled a 39-yard touchdown strike to a double-covered Doucet in the left-front corner of the endzone to give LSU a 35-31 lead.

Doucet leaped and took the ball from the air, managing to get one foot in bounds before falling out of play with 1:13 to play.

Arizona State managed to get the ball to the LSU 28-yard line, but four straight incomplete passes clinched the victory for the Tigers.

The Tigers have an open date on Sept. 17 before returning to Tiger Stadium to face Tennessee on Sept. 24. Game time and national television for the game will be determined on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 12.

LSU Game Notes

Sept. 10, 2005 -- Sun Devil Stadium

Team Notes
1. LSU’s game captains are 10 Joseph Addai, 41 Chris Jackson, 53 Gant Petty and 95 Kyle Williams.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Arizona State received the opening kickoff.
3. Tigers extending their consecutive starts streak today were: OT Andrew Whitworth (40), FS LaRon Landry (21) and DT Kyle Williams (21), LB Cameron Vaughn (13) and SS Jessie Daniels (13).
4. LB Jason Spadoni, DE Chase Pittman, CB Chevis Jackson and OG Brett Helms all made their first career starts for LSU in tonight's game.
5. Players making their first appearance in a game for LSU are 27 Curtis Taylor (special teams), 32 Jeffery Jack (special teams), 42 Steven Korte (special teams), 48 Darry Beckwith (special teams), 94 Chase Pittman (DE), 6 Colt David (special teams), 47 Tremaine Johnson (special teams), 93 Tyson Jackson (DE), 91 Charles Alexander (DE).
6. LSU's successful fake punt (gained a first-down) early in the first quarter was the first for the Tigers since Bradie James rushed for a first-down out of the punt formation against Alabama on Nov. 16, 2002.
7. LSU's 19-play drive in the first half was the longest for the Tigers since a 21-play drive in the first half at South Carolina on Oct. 18, 2003. That drive lasted 9:37 and resulted in a touchdown.

Individual Notes
8. WR Craig Davis pulled in a pass with 6:23 left in the first quarter to extend his consecutive games with a reception streak to 13.
9. CB Ronnie Prude recorded his first career pass reception on LSU's fake punt early in the first quarter. Prude caught a 12-yard pass from punter Chris Jackson.
10. RB Joseph Addai rushed for his 10th career touchdown on a one-yard run with 6:15 left in the second quarter.
a. Addai rushed for his 11th career touchdown with 8:26 left in the fourth quarter on a five-yard run.
b. This is Addai's third multi-rushing touchdown of his career and his first since the Arkansas game in 2004.
c. Addai recorded the second 100-yard rushing game of his career, finishing with 109 on 16 carries
11. S Craig Steltz collected the first fumble of his career late in the third quarter after LB Ali Highsmith forced the loose ball.
12. DT Claude Wroten blocked ASU's field goal attempt early in the first half and CB Mario Stevenson returned it 55 yards for a touchdown. The block of a field goal was the first for LSU since Chad Lavalais blocked a field goal attempt by Western Illinois on Sept. 13, 2003.  
13. FB Jacob Hester blocked an ASU punt attempt early in the fourth quarter and S Craig Steltz returned the ball 29 yards for a touchdown. The block was the first since Travis Daniels blocked a punt against Western Illinois on Sept. 13, 2003.
a. This is the first time LSU blocked both a field goal attempt and a punt in the same game since the Western Illinois game on Sept. 13, 2003.
b. The punt return for a touchdown by LSU was the first time since Ryan Clark did so against Mississippi State on Oct. 23, 1999.
14. WR Early Doucet scored the third touchdown of his career, a 39-yard reception from JaMarcus Russell that gave LSU a 35-31 lead.



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