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LSU Team Report
"You think so? Last year?" Jackson told the Baton Rouge Advocate. "Just wait to see this year."
The Tigers (4-1, 1-1 SEC) can afford to be confident entering Saturday's game at Florida. Since losing 7-3 to No. 2 Auburn on Sept. 16, LSU has dominated Tulane 41-7 and Mississippi State 48-17 and made progress in nearly every area of the game.
"I'll tell you," LSU coach Les Miles said, "this team enjoys playing football. They just want a grass field and an opponent to play."
Just don't expect another blowout against Florida, especially with a running game that continues to fall short of expectations. With Mississippi State determined to stack the line and stop the run, the Tigers ran for only 108 yards on 38 attempts (2.8 yards per carry). Most of those yards came on two 80-yard, fourth-quarter drives when the Tigers were finally able to wear down Mississippi State's defense.
"I'd like to get more out of the running game," Miles said. "Give Mississippi State credit, but we've got to get more out of it."
At the same time, the Tigers did make Mississippi State pay for its strategy. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell completed an impressive 18 of 20 passes for a career-high 330 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.
"This game made a statement around the league," receiver Craig Davis said. "Stack the box all you want to stop the run, but you better respect our passing game. We're going to hurt you downfield if you focus too much on our run."
Fifth-ranked Florida is listening, reading, watching film, leading the SEC in rushing defense, allowing 50.2 rushing yards per game and entering the week ranked 10th in the SEC in passing defense, allowing 197.8 passing yards per game.
It will be interesting to see how Florida decides to play LSU's offense. Whatever Florida tries to do, the game has to be a lot more interesting and challenging than what LSU has faced the past two weeks.
"We took care of business," Miles said. "It's nice to beat an opponent and look forward to playing an opponent that we can really get excited about."
GAME BALL GOES TO: QB JaMarcus Russell -- Mississippi State decided to stop the run and dare Russell to win the game with the pass, so he ripped the Bulldogs by completing 18 of 20 passes for a career-best 330 yards and three touchdowns.
KEEP AN EYE ON: DB Craig Steltz -- Steltz is the first LSU player to intercept a pass in four consecutive games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "JaMarcus has been good all season, but this might've been him at his best. He's been real good at finding the open spots and the receivers are doing a good job getting open. Right now, he's reading the coverages more and not just throwing the ball to me. He's throwing to where I should be at. A couple of years ago he would wait for me to get open, but now he's throwing it where I'm supposed to be and I'm trying my best to get over there." -- WR Dwayne Bowe.
LOOKING GOOD: WR Craig Davis -- Davis caught snagged six passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.
WR Dwayne Bowe -- Bowe followed Davis with five receptions for 95 yards and a TD.
WR Early Doucet -- Doucet did his part as well, catching five passes for 71 yards and a score.
DEs Chase Pittman and Tyson Jackson -- LSU sacked Mississippi State quarterbacks six times, and Pittman and Jackson led the way with two each.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Defensive reserves -- The first-team defense kept Mississippi State out of the end zone, but the reserves gave up three long passes on Mississippi State's touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
QB Matt Flynn -- He finally got a chance to play in the third quarter and threw an interception that Mississippi State's Derek Pegues returned 23 yards for a touchdown.
ROSTER REPORT: After two consecutive blowout wins, the Tigers could be headed to Florida a little short-handed. The biggest concern is with starting OG Will Arnold, who limped off the field in the third quarter with a sprained right ankle and could be questionable for the Florida game.
Starting OG Brian Johnson missed his second consecutive game with an injured toe. Herman Johnson started in his place.
Deep snapper Jacob O'Hair sustained a sprained knee in the third quarter and did not return.
LB Jacob Cutrera suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff and did not return.
TE Keith Zinger continues to battle a stomach ailment and was not in uniform for the game. True freshman Richard Dickson continued to start in his place.
True freshman TB Charles Scott started for the first time this season after a big game against Tulane but managed only 27 yards on 11 carries. The players he replaced didn't do any better. Senior Justin Vincent carried five times for 3 yards and Alley Broussard carried 10 times for 28 yards after not playing at all against Tulane. The only productive ball carrier was versatile FB Jacob Hester, who led LSU with 49 yards on eight carries.
Previous Report: 09/26/2006