8:00 PM ET, October 23, 2004
Tiger Stadium, BATON ROUGE, LA
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Marcus Randall put a fine finish on a difficult night.
Randall threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to David Jones with 2:18 left to give LSU (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) a come-from-behind 24-20 victory over Troy.
"You certainly have to appreciate every win that you have," LSU coach Nick Saban said. "And I certainly appreciate the fact that we competed, that we came back in the game and found a way to win."
It was the second straight game Randall rallied LSU to victory, though this wasn't what the Tigers expected against the Trojans from the Sun Belt Conference.
With no chance of repeating as co-national champions, Saban had urged LSU (5-2) to dominate its final five opponents, all unranked. The Tigers fell far short of domination.
The Trojans (3-4) had only 36 yards of offense in the first half, but trailed only 17-10 at the break thanks to LSU turnovers. Turnovers also allowed the Trojans to stay with the Tigers throughout the second half.
Troy scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but a penalty nullified it. Even with the touchdown called back, LSU couldn't get Troy off the field. The Trojans held the ball for 4 minutes and 44 seconds and capped the long drive with a 24-yard field goal by Greg Whibbs -- his second of the game -- to go up 20-17 with 3:59 left.
"I thought we had a chance to play with them," Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. "I didn't know how long we could hold out. You measure them player for player, in the two deep or player for player throughout the program, we don't have a dying chance. We don't stack up at all. But our kids gave it a tremendous try. We had them on the ropes."
Randall, who was named SEC offensive player of the week following the comeback win at Florida, engineered the winning 54-yard drive on four plays, including his own 7-yard run.
Starting and playing the entire game for the first time this season, Randall completed 24 of 37 passes for 328 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted three times and sacked twice.
"Coach told me before the game, turnovers are a big thing," Randall said. "That made the game tougher for me."
Troy held LSU to 57 yards rushing, the lowest total of the year.
"We couldn't run a lick on their defense," Saban said.
Troy is trying to build itself into a competitive I-A program after a fast climb from Division II and I-AA. After opening the season with victories over Marshall and then-No. 17 Missouri, the Trojans have now lost four of their last five.
After last week's loss, Blakeney tried shaking things up with some lineup changes. The biggest one was starting freshman quarterback D.T. McDowell.
McDowell struggled against the Tigers. He completed only 7 of 14 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked five times and had to leave the game briefly after one hit.
LSU had 22 first downs to nine for Troy. The Tigers had 386 yards to 150 for Troy.
"It was tough out there," said LSU defensive lineman Marcus Spears, who had two sacks and six tackles for loss. "Troy got us backed up and they started two drives inside the 10-yard line and we gave up points. We were just halfhearted at times."
The Tigers took the opening drive 79 yards in nine plays to go up 7-0 less than five minutes into the game on Alley Broussard's 1-yard run.
Leverne Johnson forced and recovered an LSU fumble to set the Trojans up on the Tigers 20. Three plays later, McDowell hit James Earl Cray for a 4-yard touchdown to tie it.
Randall was intercepted twice in the first half. The second one led to a 25-yard field goal by Whibbs that put the Trojans up 10-7 early in the second quarter.
The Tigers took a 14-10 lead on a 1-yard run by Joseph Addai. A 23-yard field goal by Ryan Gaudet made it 17-10 at halftime.
After a third interception of Randall, the Trojans got the ball on the LSU 2. Troy tied it late in the third quarter at 17 on a 1-yard run by DeWhitt Betterson.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-14||6-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||1-2|
|TD||10:42||ALLEY BROUSSARD 1 YD RUN (RYAN GAUDET KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 79 yards.
|TD||5:39||JAMES EARL CRAY 4 YD PASS FROM D.T. MCDOWELL (GREG WHIBBS KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 20 yards.
|FG||14:11||GREG WHIBBS 25 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, -1 yards.
|TD||7:09||JOSEPH ADDAI 1 YD RUN (RYAN GAUDET KICK)|
Drive info: 15 plays, 65 yards.
|FG||3:14||RYAN GAUDET 23 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 75 yards.
|TD||9:23||DEWHITT BETTERSON 1 YD RUN (GREG WHIBBS KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 2 yards.
|FG||3:59||GREG WHIBBS 24 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 47 yards.
|TD||2:18||DAVID JONES 30 YD PASS FROM MARCUS RANDALL (RYAN GAUDET KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 54 yards.