By BEN LOVE
Tiger Rag Editor
BATON ROUGE — By any statistical measure the Tiger defense had a good night.
No. 3 LSU (2-0, 0-0) stymied Washington (1-1, 0-0) Saturday night in Death Valley, conceding only three points and 183 yards to the Huskies.
And Steve Sarkisian’s group only netted the trifecta after Odell Beckham Jr. fumbled away the opening kickoff, giving UW possession in prime territory.
After that it was a dominant lock-down effort for John Chavis’ LSU defense.
The Tigers permitted a scant 26 yards on 24 attempts on the ground to the Huskies. Through the air, LSU held junior Washington quarterback Keith Price to 157 yards (and a pick) on 17-of-36 passing.
Offensively the Tigers achieved a decent balance, totaling 242 yards rushing (on 52 carries) and 195 yards passing en route to posting 437 yards total offense.
Starting running back Alfred Blue led the way with 101 yards and a score on 14 carries. Kenny Hilliard and fullback J.C. Copeland also added touchdowns on the ground.
Drew Alleman connected on field goals of 18 and 32 yards in the second quarter, rounding out the Tigers’ performance on special teams.
Add it all up, and you’ve got a convincing 41-3 win for LSU.
Here was the mood postgame from the LSU players and coaches, followed by some of their best quotes.
Miles was again pretty loose in his postgame address of media members. He touched on all three phases of the game — praising his defense, lauding Brad Wing and the special teams’ kicking and punting, but then lamenting dropped passes by his receivers and relaying that he’d like LSU to do better in the return game … One big topic after the game was the play of Josh Dworaczyk, who filled in for the injured Chris Faulk at left tackle. Miles said following the game that he’s not necessarily committed to sticking with tonight’s plan all season long when it comes to finding a longterm replacement for Faulk. He said Dworaczyk played well tonight, but that more thought will be given over the next few weeks to preparing Alex Hurst to move from right tackle to left, then choosing between Dworaczyk and freshman Vadal Alexander for time at right tackle … From John Chavis to the players themselves, everyone involved with the defense seemed more satisfied after tonight’s game then at this point a week ago. They all pointed to a great week’s worth of practice and a commitment to keeping Washington QB Keith Price from hurting LSU with his feet … The run game continues to be a source of pride to Miles, Zach Mettenberger and just about anyone you talk to in that locker room. Nothing new there. But what was interesting was to hear Miles and Chavis glow about the play of the starting LSU linebackers — Kevin Minter in the middle, Lamin Barrow and Luke Muncie on the outside. That simply hasn’t been the case when discussing the Tigers’ corps over the past 12-15 months.
Best of the Quotes
“We know who the first guys are, and we’re going to develop talent as we go. You know, we played a bunch of young people. We got them in there. We probably should’ve got them in there a series earlier than we did to be honest with you. We want to develop those guys because we’re going to need them. When you start getting into SEC competition, it’s going to be tough and physical. We’re going to have to be able to call on that depth.”
- LSU D.C. John Chavis on solidifying his starting core and developing youngsters
“I think he’s probably playing as well as anybody at that position in the country right now. I’m extremely proud of him and what he’s getting done. Hopefully he’ll continue to improve, but he’s a very talented guy and he’s playing at a high level.”
- Chavis on MLB Kevin Minter
“No doubt. It’s not talent. It’s experience and improving fundamentally. I think Coach [Corey] Raymond has done a tremendous job with him because he’s going to be matched up with some very good receivers. He’s done that already, particularly in this game. It’s obvious that his technique and fundamentals were better tonight. He’s always been willing to play hard, but if he can keep improving in that direction then certainly he’s going to be a fine player for us.”
- Chavis on freshman CB Jalen Mills
“Just working on it in practice. We knew they were going to come in and throw the ball, so we knew we’d have a better chance of getting to them tonight … We knew [Keith Price] could make plays with his feet. We tried to minimize those yards by keeping him in the pocket and then keeping him from running and making plays downfield.”
- DE KeKe Mingo on why the pass rush was so improved tonight from week one
“I think defensively if you take away the turnover that we give them on our side of the field, the length of time that they played dominant football is very strong. Except for some drives taht were aided by five-yard penalties, I think that defense played awfully well. We probably could’ve had more picks and forced more turnovers if our guys would have just decided to handle the ball a little bit better.”
- LSU H.C. Les Miles on the defense’s effort
“I was definitely more comfortable this week and getting used to playing the game again. We still made some mistakes out there that we have to iron out. We just have to get better for next week. If we can keep improving every game, we’ll be a pretty good football team.”
- QB Zach Mettenberger on improving against Washington
“The second drive really got our feet into the ground and felt comfortable out there. You’re able to establish things. With guys that are running that hard, [it's] being able to break someone’s spirit. Definitely, they started to wear down toward the end of the game they were still trying to stop us. It wasn’t like they ever stopped and completely quit which some teams do. Washington kept going.”
- LT Josh Dworaczyk on demoralizing Washington on the ground
That’s how LSU plays. Everyone knows that when you go into Tiger Stadium, LSU is going to play dominant. (Michael Ford and Spencer Ware) played dominant. When their number’s called, they see the opportunity at hand and see the moves.”
- Alfred Blue on the Tigers’ ground game
“They are definitely the best defensive line I’ve ever seen. You know that doesn’t mean we can come out here and not execute our jobs. We got a little side-tracked sometimes. We have to give credit to them at the same time. They were a good defensive front. They played very hard; they worked very hard.”
- Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins on the LSU D-Line