8:00 PM ET, August 30, 2003
Tiger Stadium (LA), Baton Rouge, LA
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Matt Mauck made the most of his return to the LSU lineup. Mauck threw three touchdown passes in a 6½-minute span to lead No. 14 LSU (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) to a 49-7 victory over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.
Mauck, who missed the final seven games of last season with torn ligaments in his foot, finished 13-for-28 for 153 yards. He was intercepted once before being replaced by Marcus Randall in the third quarter.
"I felt real comfortable,'' Mauck said. "With the ground so uneven, it probably wasn't the best situation for us, but the foot didn't hurt the whole time.''
Five minutes into the game, heavy rain started and the game was delayed 39 minutes because of lightning.
"I think mentally we were a little bit sluggish in the beginning,'' LSU coach Nick Saban said. "The delay could have had something to do with it.''
Louisiana-Monroe, 6-28 over the last three seasons, held the Tigers scoreless until the final 6:37 of the first half.
That was all the time Mauck needed to put LSU in control.
He threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson for LSU's first score, then hit Joseph Addai for a 17-yard TD less than two minutes later to put LSU up 14-0. With 7 seconds left in the half, Mauck connected with Michael Clayton for a 40-yard touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 21-0 at halftime.
"The field was pretty slippery, but I think as the game went on everybody on the team got more comfortable,'' Mauck said.
Mauck's 8-yard scramble in the third quarter set up another touchdown. Shyrone Carey ran it in the last yard to make it 28-0.
Seventeen seconds later, LSU safety Jack Hunt intercepted Steven Jyles and returned it 31 yards for another touchdown.
LSU went up 42-0 with 2:52 left in the third quarter when Clayton took a pass from Randall 66 yards for a score.
Randall, the starter after Mauck's injury last season, was 5-of-7 for 153 yards and a touchdown.
Clayton had six receptions for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
"Matt did a great job finding the open guy when we had a chance to make some plays,'' Clayton said.
Addai rushed for 81 yards on 15 carries and caught two passes for 21 yards.
Louisiana-Monroe got across midfield for the third time in the third quarter and got into the end zone for the first time 50 seconds into the fourth quarter, when Kevin Payne ran for a 12-yard touchdown to make it 42-7.
"I felt like we played pretty well in the first quarter,'' Louisiana-Monroe coach Charlie Weatherbie said. "But about midway through the second quarter we gave up a couple of cheap ones.''
The Tigers pulled ahead 49-7 in the fourth quarter after Saban began substituting liberally. Running back Alley Broussard, one of nine freshmen LSU who played, scored on a 1-yard run.
Jyles, who left in the fourth quarter, completed 14 of 30 passes for 180 yards. He was sacked twice and intercepted once. Payne rushed for 72 yards on 16 carries. He also had five catches for 40 yards.