Scores

Final

(2) LSU 34

(5-0, 2-0 away)

Tulane 9

(1-3, 1-3 home)

Coverage: ESPN

12:00 PM ET, September 29, 2007

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

1 2 3 4 T
#2LSU 7 3 10 1434
TULN 0 9 0 09

Top Performers

Passing: M. Flynn (LSU) - 258 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: C. Scott (LSU) - 6 CAR, 53 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: B. LaFell (LSU) - 4 REC, 76 YDS

Tulane defense hangs tough, but LSU pulls away late

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Matt Flynn pulled himself up from under a pile of Tulane defenders, and LSU's normally potent offense walked to the sidelines, dejected, after giving up a safety.

The second-ranked Tigers, favored by almost six touchdowns, had gone backward for much of the first half.

Slow Start
LSU Tigers

At halftime of Saturday's game against unranked Tulane, No. 2 LSU led 10-9. Why was that unusual? LSU had outscored opponents 85-7 in the first half this year.

First half 1st 4 games Saturday
Points conceded 1.8 9
Total YPG 69.3 127
1st downs PG 4.8 8

"We saw the offense put their heads down," LSU defensive end Kirston Pittman said. "But we went over and told them, 'Pick y'all's head up. It's going to be a long game. They have to play for 60 minutes. We just have to overcome a little adversity.'"

A good 30 minutes turned out to be more than enough for LSU to crush Tulane's early notions of an upset.

Jacob Hester's second touchdown of the game and Charles Scott's pair of scoring runs helped LSU (5-0) amass 24 unanswered second-half points in a 34-9 victory Saturday.

"It was a mental thing today," Scott said. "We were not focused at all in the first half. And we can't come out and do that with anybody, especially not Florida."

The defending national champion Gators, ranked fourth heading into their game against Auburn Saturday night, come to Baton Rouge next weekend for a contest likely holding national championship implications.

So if the Tigers overlooked Tulane (1-3), it would be understandable. Forgivable, perhaps, since they pulled away with ease when it mattered.

"It's obviously not what we wanted, but I think it could be good for this team to come out here and get a little bit of a wake-up call," Flynn said. "This team stepped up."

Flynn himself shook off six sacks to throw for 258 yards. Still recovering from an ankle sprain, he was inconsistent in the face of constant pressure and he was intercepted once.

Tulane, which has lost 16 straight to LSU since its last victory in 1982, played with emotion and made a it better game than anticipated.

"They played a lot better than a lot of people gave them credit for," Tulane coach Bob Toledo said of his players. "I told them: 'Nobody's a six touchdown favorite. ... We're not going to let that happen. We battled and I think we gained respect.'"

Tulane trailed only 10-9 at halftime and didn't fall more than one score behind until Hester's 1-yard touchdown run gave LSU a 20-9 lead with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter.

If not for a pair of Tulane turnovers, Matt Forte's fumble and Anthony Scelfo's interception, the game might have been closer.

"We made a few mistakes and you can't have any against a team like this," Scelfo said. "I think we would have been right with them without the mistakes."

The fumble set up Hester's TD, and the interception by LSU cornerback Chevis Jackson led to Scott's slashing 35-yard scoring run to make it 27-9. Scott then pounded his way in for a short TD on LSU's next drive.

Brandon LaFell had four catches for 76 yards, including a 43-yard reception that set up Hester's first touchdown. Demetrius Byrd caught three passes for 69 yards.

"We came into locker room [at halftime] and decided we weren't being physical enough," Scott said. "So coach came in and he decided we're going to just run it. We're going to use every back we've got and run it, and that's what we did."

Scelfo finished 11-of-26 passing for 117 yards, while Forte rushed for 73 yards on 16 carries.

Andre Anderson had a 5-yard touchdown run that gave the Green Wave a 9-7 lead late in the first half.

"When they went up 9-7 on us, we knew we had to do something and get it together or we were going to be embarrassed out there," Scott said.

Trindon Holliday returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards to the LSU 44, and the Tigers marched quickly into field goal range to regain the lead seconds before halftime on the first of two field goals by Colt David.

Now the Tigers can really start thinking about Florida, if they weren't already.

"I can't imagine how Death Valley's going to be next Saturday night, but I think it's going to be an unbelievable game," LSU safety Craig Steltz said. "A lot of stuff is going to play out. A lot of people will be watching."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
LSU
TULN
1st Downs1612
Total Yards391227
Passing257139
Rushing13488
Penalties15-914-23
3rd Down Conversions8-176-17
4th Down Conversions0-00-0
Turnovers13
Possession31:3428:26

Passing Leaders

LSUC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Flynn16/292588.901
TulaneC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Scelfo11/261174.501

Rushing Leaders

LSUCARYDSAVGTDLG
Scott6538.8235
Murphy6355.809
TulaneCARYDSAVGTDLG
Forte16734.6021
Anderson7182.616

Receiving Leaders

LSURECYDSAVGTDLG
LaFell47619.0043
Byrd36923.0039
TulaneRECYDSAVGTDLG
Ratcliff45513.8024
King4328.0022

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERLSUTULN
TD10:56Jacob Hester 3 Yd Run (Colt David Kick)
Drive: 2 plays, 49 yds, :41
70
SECOND QUARTERLSUTULN
SF05:56Penalty On Herman Johnson In End Zone 72
TD01:40Andre Anderson 5 Yd Run (Ross Thevenot Kick)
Drive: 11 plays, 58 yds, 4:11
79
FG00:03Colt David 36 Yd
Drive: 9 plays, 37 yds, 1:30
109
THIRD QUARTERLSUTULN
FG08:51Colt David 33 Yd
Drive: 11 plays, 54 yds, 6:03
139
TD05:53Jacob Hester 1 Yd Run (Colt David Kick)
Drive: 5 plays, 30 yds, 2:20
209
FOURTH QUARTERLSUTULN
TD12:00Charles Scott 35 Yd Run (Colt David Kick)
Drive: 8 plays, 76 yds, 3:28
279
TD08:49Charles Scott 3 Yd Run (Colt David Kick)
Drive: 4 plays, 45 yds, 1:39
349