Good evening and welcome to Tiger Stadium for LSU’s fifth and final game in the month of September.
The Bayou Bengals (4-0, 1-0 SEC) will round out their first-month slate versus a set of Tigers for the second week in a row. These Tigers hail from the outskirts of Baltimore and are the defending champions of the Colonial Athletic Association.
Towson (2-1, 1-0 CAA) will be severely overmatched in Death Valley for obvious reasons, but the black and yellow Tigers are going places in the FCS. They’re currently ranked 13th in FCS and have possibly the best running back in the subdivision - Terrance West. He scored 29 rushing touchdowns as a true freshman last year and has five already in 2012. It’ll be interesting to see how much Towson rides him with the meat of its conference schedule coming up in October - games that are frankly more winnable and more important than today’s contest. Defensively, the Tigers have been dynamite. I’m not sure if there’s an offense in America that could move the ball on them, so why risk injury to West by giving it to him 20+ times?
For LSU’s offense, Alfred Blue obviously won’t play, placing an added load on Kenny Hilliard, Spencer Ware, Michael Ford and Jeremy Hill. They’ll be more than able to carry it. Blue should be the only starter out for LSU tonight, but don’t be surprised if guys who have been nicked like P.J. Lonergan, Craig Loston and possible James Wright see limited playing time tonight.
Also keep an eye on how many reps Vadal Alexander gets at right tackle (moving Alex Hurst to left tackle) once the game gets out of hand tonight. A lot may mean there’s a greater chance he could see starter’s minutes later in the season. A little may mean Josh Dworaczyk is simply LSU’s best option at left tackle.
Despite what Dan Borne’ says, it’s going to rain tonight in Tiger Stadium, so we’ll see how that affects the game.
Per ESPNU’s request, kickoff has been pushed back five minutes to 6:07 p.m.
1st quarter recap:
LSU 7, Towson 0
-LSU starts Alex Hurst at LT and Vadal Alexander gets his first-career start at RT. Spencer Ware gets the start at RB, and he’s still running angry. He took all of the RB snaps on LSU’s first drive.
-LSU shows the look of using Travis Dickson in passing situations. We haven’t seen much of that yet.
-Russell Shepard scampered 78 yards for a touchdown on a shotgun carry on LSU’s first play of its second offensive drive. He ran behind RT Alexander around the right end. That’s the longest run of Shepard’s career beating his 71-yarder versus Auburn in 2009, and the longest run any LSU rusher has had since Jordan Jefferson went 83 yards versus Tennessee in 2010.
-Michael Ford and Kenny Hilliard made their debuts on LSU’s fourth drive, and Hilliard lost a fumble on his first carry.
-Zach Mettenberger was not very sharp in the first quarter. He missed a couple open receivers, sailing it past them.
-Offensively the Tigers are sleepwalking quite a bit. Take away the 78-yard Shepard run, and LSU has just 54 yards on 13 plays against a very outmanned group.
-A couple of mentions on the starting lineup. Lavar Edwards continues to start opposite Same Montgomery at end. Freak Johnson started his second straight game at tackle. Luke Muncie was replaced in the starting lineup by freshman Kwon Alexander. Muncie was sick this week. No word on whether or not that had anything to do with Alexander’s start. It’s worth noting that Muncie did enter the game on special teams.
-Mingo entered for Edwards on the second drive.
-Nice play in coverage by Kwon Alexander on the second drive. Tipped a pass away in zone coverage. Not always an easy assignment for a youngster.
-The Dime package still includes Jalen Collins and Micah Eugene. Nothing new there.
-Lamar Louis is playing the third series at linebacker in place of Alexander. Louis promptly misses a tackle on the edge.
-Ronald Martin has stepped in for Craig Loston on the 3rd drive as well. Ego Ferguson, Jermauria Rasco and Josh Downs join him.
-Rasco made a nice move to pressure the QB on a 1st down throw.
-The Mustang look made an appearance. Mingo earned the sack thanks to Eugene’s pressure off the opposite side. No way an FCS school is going to block that.
-The quarter wraps up as the Tiger offense puts the defense behind the 8-ball. Towson driving on the Tiger defense.
Special teams breakdown
-Ford remains the kickoff returner and OBJ the punt returner.
-Deion Jones was called on an illegal formation on a punt giving Towson five yards at the end of a punt. That’s not a very good penalty.
-On a punt return, Jarvis Landry made yet another blocking penalty. Holding this time. LSU has to get that in check.
2nd quarter recap:
LSU 17, Towson 9
LSU’s pass protection issues continue in the second quarter. On a three and out, Mettenberger got sacked once and he was flushed out and forced to throw it away another time. Tough to pin point who’s at fault up front, because it was a jailbreak on both plays.
On LSU’s next drive, he was flushed out to his left and stripped. It was recovered by Towson, and another scoring opportunity disappears due to offensive problems. Calling this an uninspiring performance isn’t strong enough anymore. This is a pitiful offensive performance.
Mettenberger’s is not having his best day. Before his touchdown drive, he had completed 4-of-11 passes for 31 yards. Stop me if you’ve heard that stat line from an LSU quarterback in the past few seasons. Then he went 3-for-3 for 56 yards, capped off with a 27-yard pass to OBJ for a touchdown on the scoring drive to put LSU back on top.
Kenny Hilliard re-entered the game following his fumble late in the second and bullied the ball for 13 yards on three consecutive carries.
Jeremy Hill also saw time at RB at the back end of the quarter.
LSU was 0-for-6 on third downs in the first half. That was an issue last week at Auburn as well.
Eric Reid had to come out of the ballgame on a fourth down play after his helmet came off. Then Towson jumped the snap and had to retreat 5 yards to kick a field goal.
Alexander put his hat on the ball and forced it out. Tharold Simon pounced on it. Maybe that sparks the offense? Nope.
Anthony Johnson is in the backfield on every play. He’s a budding star.
Eugene came on a blitz on a third down and was lined up offsides. Another totally unforced penalty.
Jalen Collins overran a potential third down tackle on a Towson receiver. Didn’t break down quickly enough.
Lavar Edwards and Freak Johnson made sure Enders, the quarterback couldn’t get rid of it on the next play.
Quarterback draw executed to perfection. Enders takes off 43 yards to the LSU 1. West, the running back, dives in on the next play. LSU turnovers have been a nightmare through 4 and a half games.
Edwards is a pretty good pass rusher. He’s right there with Mingo and Montgomery at times. He flew around the end and dropped Enders on 2nd down before the half ended. Defense trying to get the offense back on the field before intermission.
Deion Jones came on a blitz on the ensuing play and got a hurry. He can really move.
Eric Reid is flagged for a pass interference which keeps Towson’s drive alive. Tigers could have gotten it back without the penalty.
Les Miles’ clock management is always “interesting”. Time out on 3rd down before the half? Ok.
Special teams breakdown
Towson is making an effort to avoid kicking the ball to Ford on kickoffs. They’ve popped it up twice to the mid-wall of the kick return unit and another was shanked way out of bounds.
OBJ weaved a 31-yard punt return in the frame. He was oh so close to breaking it all the way.
Alleman missed a 51-yarder for his second consecutive miss (dating back to the Auburn game). He missed two all of last season. He recovered and made a 24-yarder with 1:19 to go till half.
3rd quarter recap:
LSU 24, Towson 9
-LSU’s offense looked much better on first drive of the second half until Ford lost a fumble. That’s three lost fumbles now as turnovers continue to kill LSU.
-The next drive is a disaster for Mettenberger. He’s called for an intentional grounding penalty. Then he gets drilled in the back on a CB blitz that he didn’t see coming. He’s got to be better in his pre-snap reads.
-Following a muffed punt, Hilliard fumbled again, but Clement fell on it. J.C. Copeland powered into the end zone from a yard out on the next play.
-LSU’s final drive of the quarter features a self-sack of Mettenberger before he makes up for it on third down hitting Boone.
-Vadal Alexander was called for a false start late in the third.
-LSU may have won the quarter 7-0, but that’s with no thanks to its offense.
-After being dinged for two early first downs, the Tiger defense holds and gets a missed FG. Not sure why a guy who missed an extra point would be trotted out for a 54 yarder, but I don’t coach.
-Towson completed a big 3rd down catch, but the WR stepped out of bounds to bail Simon out. Call it a stop.
-Lots of Alexander and Jones at the outside linebacker spots. Still no Muncie.
-Towson converts a 4th and 1 from inside its own 35. The running back, West, is a pretty good player.
Special teams breakdown
-Jarvis Landry recovers a Towson muff inside the 10 yard line. Results in seven LSU points
4th quarter update (5:22 remaining)
LSU 38, Towson 16
-There it is! Mettenberger found OBJ for a 53-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth. He got way beyond Towson defenders. That had to be a coverage bust.
-Mett then makes a great throw on LSU’s next drive on third and 10. J.C. Copeland injured on the play, however. He’s helped off the field. LSU goes with Connor Neighbors a few plays later for his first appearance of the game on offense. The drive ends on a Michael Ford TD. LSU has finally worn down Towson’s D with a sustained drive.
-This Enders kid is fearless. He takes off on that QB draw and gets down the field.
-Towson has stretched LSU a bit side to side. Obviously the defense is a little gassed. They’ve been on the field for a good amount of time and have been put (pardon the pun) on the defensive by the LSU offense with the turnovers.
-As is seemingly tradition by this point, Towson mounts a long drive on a tired LSU defense in a blowout.
-Lots of runs by Towson, and they punch it in. 64 yards on 12 plays 5:47 off the clock, and West plunges in. That kid can play.
-The Tiger defense was all-starters there. They either lost the will to compete or just got beat. Either way, it’s a nice touchdown march by the visitors who have acquitted themselves quite well.
Special teams breakdown
-Not much to see on special teams so far in the quarter
Richard Fischer and Hunt Palmer are heading down to the field for postgame interviews. Check back later for a recap with quotes and reaction from the locker room.