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|LSU's performance not pretty, but sufficient for now|
Seriously? A quarterback option?
As bad a decision that was for Jordan Jefferson, it's even worse for Zach Mettenberger.
But I'm not going to go all Skip Bayless on LSU's sometimes lethargic opening game against North Texas.
Considering what went on during the week and the number of first-time players, the effort is sufficient – for now.
But, boy, it sure would have been fun watching Tyrann Mathieu running around in that game Saturday night. Good to see Mathieu apparently has his priorities straight and seems serious about getting his life in order.
That had to be hard for him to sit out, especially with the plays Odell Beckhem Jr., made returning punts.
LSU has returned punts for touchdowns in three out of its last four games, including back-to-back home games: Odell Beckham, Jr. 70 yards tonight, Tyrann Mathieu vs. Georgia 62 yards in SEC Championship, Mathieu 92 yards vs. Arkansas.
Some other thoughts from the game.
It's really strange seeing Bennie Logan wearing No. 18 in the middle of the defensive line.
LSU had four first-time starters. Guard La'el Collins, quarterback Zach Mettenberger, linebacker Luke Muncie and cornerback Jalen Mills.
And to give you an idea, that one man does not make this team, 12 true freshmen saw action. Quarterback Stephen Rivers saw action early after Mettenberger took a full-fledged shot from an untouched Mean Greenie.
Glad to see Rivers got the call over Penn State transfer Rob Bolden. He has put in his time and deserves a chance.
Mettenberger had a decent first game. Might be good he took the shot he did (of course, surviving it is a big reason for that) because I believe it brought him down to earth a bit. If he would have come out with a perfect game, it may have given him a false sense of being invincible. I was also glad he took the blame for the hit although somebody sure missed a block big-time.
Mettenberger's 19 completions tied for the second most by an LSU quarterback in his first start dating back to at least 1980. Ryan Perrilloux was 20-for-25 in his starting debut against Middle Tennessee in 2007. Josh Booty (1999) and Herb Tyler (1995) were each 19-for-26 in their first starts.
Other true freshmen playing included linebacker Kwon Alexander, offensive tackle Vadal Alexander, cornerback Jalen Mills, punter Jamie Keehn (love those Australian guys. Something about Australian Rules Football must bring out the swag in these guys), safety Jerqwinick Sandolph, linebacker Deion Jones (certainly not his last appearance), center Reid Ferguson, defensive lineman Danielle Hunter, linebacker Ronnie Feist, linebacker Lorenzo Phillips, safety Corey Thompson and tight end Dillon Gordon.
LSU is now 24-4 in games played as the No. 1-ranked team and the Tigers have now played 12 consecutive games as the nation's No. 1 ranked team.
Of course, we're going by the USA Today poll. Anybody who saw Alabama Saturday night has no problem putting the Crimson Tide ahead of LSU right now -- and rightly so. Running back T.J. Yeldon is going to be hard to keep out of the Alabama backfield, even as a true freshman. That guy is already a human highlight film.
LSU is now 27-2 when having a running back go over 100 yards rushing. (only losses: Georgia, 2008; Arkansas, 2007).
Michael Ford and Spencer Ware or "Shake and Bake," as Les Miles referred to them after the game, rushed for a combined 263 yards and was the most impressive LSU rushing tandem in a season opener in the last 30 years (since Dalton Hilliard and Gary James back in 1982).
LSU produced two running backs over 100 yards in the same game for the first time since the 2011 Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M when Natchez's Stevan Ridley and Spencer Ware had 105 and 102 yards, respectively.
LSU improved to 86-28-5 overall in season openers and is now 8-0 in season openers under Miles. The Tigers have won 10 consecutive season openers and 16 of the last 17 (loss was against Virginia Tech, 2002).
LSU finished the game with 508 yards of total offense, marking the first time the Tigers have surpassed 500 yards of total offense in a game since gaining 595 yards in a 58-10 victory over Louisiana Tech on Nov. 10, 2007.
The Tigers rushed for 316 yards in Saturday's season-opening win, marking the first time they have eclipsed 300 yards on the ground since a 353-yard effort in a 52-3 win over Ole Miss on Nov. 19, 2011.
Another question. Where was Jeremy Hill? Hope we see a lot of him in the future.
Meanwhile, Kenny Hilliard tallied the fourth multi-touchdown game of his career, scampering 38 yards with 12:30 to go in the first quarter and adding another score on a 5-yard run with 14:56 left in the second quarter. Hilliard has racked up eight touchdowns in his last six games dating back to the Western Kentucky contest last season. He finished with a career-best 141 yards rushing on 13 carries, besting the 102 yards he had against Arkansas last year. The 141 yards are the most by a Tiger in a game since Ridley had 159 versus Vanderbilt on Sept. 11, 2010.
Hilliard is the first Tiger to go over 100 yards in a season-opener since Charles Scott had 160 vs. Appalachian State in 2008.
Another thing good to see was offensive guard Josh Dworaczyk making his first appearance on the line since the 2011 Cotton Bowl vs. Texas A&M. Dworaczyk sat out most of last year with an injury.
Speaking of good things to see, Jarvis Landry is ready for prime time. After watching Cordarrelle Patterson run all around North Carolina State in Tennessee's impressive win, I couldn't help but think how Patterson would have looked in purple and gold. LSU was on his short list.
But in the end, week one is in the books. It may not have been pretty, but that's the good thing about week two. It appears a lot of folks are already talking about November 3. Judging by week one, LSU may have a more difficult time getting there undefeated than Alabama. At least hurricane season will be over.