8:00 PM ET, September 11, 2004
Tiger Stadium, BATON ROUGE, LA
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- A weak opponent made LSU look like champs again.
Tigers coach Nick Saban wasn't fooled.
Last week's bumbling quarterbacks looked unstoppable Saturday night, the running game worked, the defense was stifling and the Tigers (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 AP) beat up Arkansas State 53-3.
Still, Saban isn't comfortable with his team -- not with Southeastern Conference action and Auburn coming up next week.
"We've got an SEC game and the players have got to be able to do whatever they need to do to help this team get better," Saban said. "I'm sure in watching the film we'll have a lot of work and corrections to make. We're playing a good football team and we've got to get ready for that."
The defending BCS champs showed no sign of the struggle that left them scrambling to beat Oregon State in overtime in their opener.
The offense rolled up 461 total yards and scored the first six times it touched the football. The Tigers scored every possession of the first half until they sent in third-string quarterback Matt Flynn in the final minutes of the first half. By that time LSU (2-0) was up 37-0 so it didn't matter.
Marcus Randall started and completed 5 of 7 for 59 yards and a touchdown. JaMarcus Russell came in late in the first quarter and completed 7 of 10 for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Neither was sacked or intercepted.
"Coming in, coach told us that execution was the key," Russell said. "I think we just did a better job executing this week."
Justin Vincent rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Joseph Addai had 95 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
"Having such an effective running attack really helped our passing game," Randall said. "We were able to throw all our routes all night long."
In the fourth quarter Saban sent Flynn, a redshirt freshman, back in and went to the bench for players that normally get little or no game time. The only LSU score was a 33-yard field goal by Ryan Gaudet.
The Indians (0-2) lost 52-20 last week at Missouri. They are 1-42-3 all-time against current members of the SEC. The only win came against Ole Miss in 1915.
"We did some good things, but not enough of them," Arkansas State coach Steve Roberts said. "This was a very, very strong LSU team. They played extremely well."
Arkansas State, which had 438 yards in offense against Missouri, had 201 against LSU.
"That is the kind of football we want to play," LSU defensive end Marcus Spears said. "We executed well, but we still had too many penalties. You can never get satisfied."
Nick Noce completed 9 of 18 for 147 yards. Devin Hollins was 0-for-4.
"It's tough as an offense to try to get started against a great team like LSU," Noce said. "It's going to take time to get on the board because their defense is very strong."
Chuck Walker had three receptions for 113 yards.
The Tigers were up 23-0 after one quarter. They scored on the opening drive, going 54 yards in six plays and 54 seconds. Vincent ran it the final 5-yards to put the Tigers up 7-0.
On the ensuing kick, Vincent forced a fumble and Ali Highsmith recovered it on the Arkansas State 9. Three plays later Randall hit Corey Webster for a 6-yard touchdown. LSU led 13-0.
Webster, the Tigers' starting cornerback, also played receiver and returned punts.
On the Tigers' third possession Randall hit Dwayne Bowe for an 18-yard touchdown only to have it nullified by a holding call. They settled for a 34-yard field goal by Chris Jackson, making it 16-0.
LSU added another touchdown, a 32-yard pass from Russell to Bowe.
The closest the Indians got to scoring was a 37-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide right.
In the second quarter, Russell hit Bowe for a 24-yard touchdown that made it 30-0. Then Addai ran for a 12-yard touchdown that made it 37-0 at the break.
Arkansas State opened the second half with a 69-yard drive fueled by a 40-yard pass from Noce to Walker. The Indians drove to the LSU 5 before the Tigers' defense kicked in and Noce was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Eric Neihouse made a 34-yard field goal to pull Arkansas State to 37-3.
The Tigers scored on a 22-yard run by Vincent to make it 43-3.
They added another TD when Highsmith intercepted Noce and returned it 10 yards, fumbled and Travis Daniels picked it up and scored on a 1-yard run.
LSU led 50-3 after three quarters.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-14||4-9|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||1-1|
|TD||12:58||JUSTIN VINCENT 5 YD RUN (CHRIS JACKSON KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 54 yards.
|TD||11:23||COREY WEBSTER 6 YD PASS FROM MARCUS RANDALL (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 8 yards.
|FG||5:16||CHRIS JACKSON 34 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 28 yards.
|TD||1:50||DWAYNE BOWE 32 YD PASS FROM JAMARCUS RUSSELL (CHRIS JACKSON KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||7:47||DWAYNE BOWE 24 YD PASS FROM JAMARCUS RUSSELL (CHRIS JACKSON KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 77 yards.
|TD||4:39||JOSEPH ADDAI 12 YD RUN (CHRIS JACKSON KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 76 yards.
|FG||8:51||ERIC NEIHOUSE 34 YD FG|
Drive info: 13 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||5:51||JUSTIN VINCENT 22 YD RUN (CHRIS JACKSON KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||3:46||TRAVIS DANIELS 1 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (MISSED KICK)||3||50|
|FG||11:47||RYAN GAUDET 33 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, -8 yards.