6:30 PM ET, September 9, 2006
Tiger Stadium, BATON ROUGE, LA
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU could afford a little sloppiness on offense with its defense once again scoring more points than it gave up.
Jonathan Zenon returned an interception for a touchdown for the second consecutive week, highlighting a smothering defensive performance by No. 8 LSU in a 45-3 victory over Arizona on Saturday night.
"I knew the formation the Arizona receivers were going to run ... and I broke on it," Zenon said of his 41-yard interception return. "Our coaches are giving us a great scheme defensively and we already know what is about to happen."
Arizona had only 54 total yards through the first three quarters. The rest of the Wildcats' yardage came after replacements had begun to take over and a boisterous crowd of 92,218 was half gone.
"Obviously, playing a team like LSU they can expose some weaknesses," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said, dejectedly resting his chin on his hand. "There's no weaknesses when you play LSU. ... We just weren't ready for this."
Although the Tigers (2-0) put up 45 points for a second-straight week, they could have scored more. They settled for a field goal on their opening drive after having a first-and-goal on the 3. Three other drives ended with turnovers in Arizona territory on two fumbles and an interception.
LSU may not get away with squandering scoring chances next week in a Southeastern Conference showdown at No. 4 Auburn (2-0), which beat Mississippi State 34-0 on Saturday.
"You're going to have mistakes like that when you're moving 100 miles per hour," LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell said. "There's nothing like ball security. We had a few mistakes but we just have to step it up in practice and tighten up next week."
Against Arizona (1-1), it wasn't a factor.
LSU fullback Jacob Hester scored two TDs, his first on a 5-yard pass from Russell to cap a short drive set up by B.J. Dennard's fumbled kickoff return. Hester ran for a 28-yard score in the third quarter.
Alley Broussard continued his encouraging return from a knee injury, hopping sprawled defenders at the line of scrimmage and slipping another tackler for a 17-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. It was his second touchdown of the young season.
LSU rushed for 231 yards on 38 carries, compared to 170 yards in its opener against Louisiana-Lafayette a week earlier.
"I definitely think we rushed the ball better against a legitimate Pac-10 defense," LSU head coach Les Miles said. "I also think we protected the passer better."
Russell ultimately took advantage of that protection when he found Dwayne Bowe on an 29-yard touchdown pass which made the score 38-0 with five minutes still remaining in the third quarter.
Russell was 13-of-20 passing for 198 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He came out of the game in the third quarter for the second week in a row.
Without a strong running game, Arizona needed to pass well. LSU countered with a relentless mix of linebacker and safety blitzes that had Willie Tuitama throwing hurriedly and usually off the mark.
He was sacked three times, and once barely managed to throw the ball away as he was pounded down hard on his back by safety LaRon Landry, who later had an interception of his own.
Tuitama finished 8-for-17 for 50 yards and two interceptions. He was lifted late in the third quarter because team trainers were trying to determine whether he had a concussion from Landry's hit.
"It looked like he might have a concussion. I don't know, but he wasn't in sync again," Stoops said. "He's been struggling and a team like LSU can really get after the quarterback."
LSU's held Arizona to only 35 yards rushing and has yet to give up a touchdown this season, having allowed only a field goal in its opener a week earlier.
"I think we knew what they were about to do a lot of the time and I think we had some matchup advantages," Miles said. "I really expect our defense to play well all year."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... JaMarcus Russell threw his first TD of the night late in the first quarter to make it 17-0 LSU.
Gameball goes to... LSU defense. It limited Arizona to 156 total yards and recovered four Wildcats turnovers.
Stat of the game... 3-14: Arizona's third-down efficiency was only one of the Wildcats problems in Baton Rouge.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-15||9-12|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||0-0|
|FG||9:17||COLT DAVID 21 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 47 yards.
|TD||7:44||JONATHAN ZENON 41 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (COLT DAVID KICK)||0||10|
|TD||6:17||JACOB HESTER 5 YD PASS FROM JAMARCUS RUSSELL (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 18 yards.
|TD||14:05||ALLEY BROUSSARD 17 YD RUN (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 57 yards.
|TD||7:06||JACOB HESTER 28 YD RUN (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 61 yards.
|TD||5:05||DWAYNE BOWE 29 YD PASS FROM JAMARCUS RUSSELL (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 29 yards.
|TD||7:22||CHARLES SCOTT 38 YD RUN (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 81 yards.
|FG||1:06||NICHOLAS FOLK 22 YD FG|
Drive info: 15 plays, 75 yards.