October 2, 2006
Baton Rouge, LA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- JaMarcus Russell did something he had never done before against Mississippi State University on Saturday.
Russell completed 18 of 20 passes for three touchdowns and a career high 330 yards. It was his first 300-yard game.
In the first half, Russell completed 13 of 14 passes for 272 yards as the Tigers marched down field to score touchdowns on their first five possessions of the game establishing a 35-0 lead at the half.
"We didn't compete in the first quarter at all," said MSU coach Sylvester Croom in a news release. "Maybe they did a better job than I want to give them credit for, but I can't accept the fact that we didn't compete. When we got in one-on-one situations on offense and on defense, their ones just beat our ones."
At one point, Russell completed 14-consecutive passes which tied an LSU record.
"Obviously JaMarcus Russell and our passing game had a great day," said LSU coach Les Miles. "He's a tremendous weapon for us; he really performs when called on."
The success of the passing game kept the offense moving, as the running game only averaged 2.8 yards a carry.
Russell led LSU's offense on several quick scoring drives, which included seven passes of 20 yards or longer.
Russell threw a 37-yard touchdown to junior wide receiver Early Doucet, a 41-yard pass to senior wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and a 55-yard pass to freshman tight end Richard Dixon.
"We was getting them kind of quick, but I'd never say it's easy," Russell said. "We have to look back on some things we still make mistakes on and improve on, so I'd never say it was easy."
Russell distributed the ball evenly between his top-three receivers. Senior Craig Davis caught six passes for 101 yards. Bowe caught five passes for 95 yards and Doucet caught five passes for 71 yards. All three receivers caught a touchdown pass.
"Well right now he's reading the coverages, and he's not just throwing the ball to me, he's throwing the ball to where I should be," Bowe said. "A couple of years ago he would wait for me to get open. But now he's throwing the ball to where I'm supposed to be, and I'm trying my best to get over there."
Russell said he kept his head in the game during the lengthy lightning delay, which came shortly after halftime.
Russell was relieved by junior backup quarterback Matt Flynn in the third quarter, but was immediately sent back into the game after MSU defensive back Derek Pegues intercepted Flynn's first pass and returned it for a touchdown.
"They had thrown that pass earlier in the game and it went through my hands," said Pegues in a news release. "Coach told me to sink back there in case they ran it again. They did, and they threw it right to me."
Russell responded by leading the offense on an 80-yard scoring drive.
"I thought 'last time to get out there and get another one and put them away,'" Russell said. "I was getting my equipment taken off. After a while the guy came back to me and I had to put my ankle braces back on."
Davis said Russells' performance came at the perfect time.
"He's improved a lot," Davis said. "He couldn't have picked a better day to do it, especially the week going into the Florida game."
(C) 2006 The Daily Reveille via CSTV U-WIRE