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LSU Team Report
After losses to Auburn and Florida and a flood of criticism and doubts from fans and the media, the LSU Tigers were in no mood to mess around with Kentucky on Saturday.
"I think there was an edge to this football team going into this game," LSU coach Les Miles said.
It showed from start to finish as the Tigers opened a 28-0 first-half lead and ran away with a 49-0 victory.
"We started fast," Miles said. "We came out and scored quickly. The defense played well. We had the balance that we are looking for, both run and pass. We didn't have a turnover. We played like we were supposed to. It's nice to be back on track."
It was a game that 14th-ranked LSU (5-2, 2-2 SEC) should have won, but give the Tigers credit for bouncing back from a 23-10 loss at Florida and not wasting any time taking control of the game.
The offense finally got the running game going with 268 yards, albeit against the SEC's worst rush defense. Add 278 passing yards and the Tigers produced effective balance. Even better, they didn't turn the ball over after giving away four turnovers last year.
The defense never let Kentucky off the mat, holding the Wildcats' previously potent passing game to 166 yards and only five first downs on 17 third-down plays.
"I think the defense played pretty well last week, and I think they played pretty well this week," Miles said. "It's a different challenge. This team has played some teams very, very well. So, for us to handle them as well as we did, this football team came out today in a fashion where they were needy. They needed victory. You could see how they played that they were not going to be denied tonight."
In the process, the Tigers took a step toward moving past the Florida loss and getting their season back on the right track as they turn their attention toward Saturday's non-conference home game against Fresno State.
"It's hard to get over," said strong safety Jessie Daniels, referring to the Florida loss, "but, I mean, you have to move on. It's a new week and a whole preparation for another team. Trying to get over a loss, it helps to get a feel of the next team and hopefully take it out on them."
GAME BALL GOES TO: WR Dwayne Bowe -- Bowe hit Kentucky for some big plays, turning six receptions into three touchdowns and 111 yards.
KEEP AN EYE ON: QB JaMarcus Russell -- Russell bounced back from a frustrating performance at Florida, completing his first 12 passes and finishing 15 of 18 for 226 yards and two touchdowns.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's hard to understand that they're sitting here with two losses at this point because they've got some really good players. They can throw it. They can run it. And their defense was as good as advertised." -- Kentucky coach Rich Brooks.
LOOKING GOOD: WR Early Doucet -- Doucet has been playing some quarterback in the shotgun to give LSU some different options. This time he took a snap directly from center and scored on a 12-yard run. Doucet also caught four passes for 54 yards.
RB Jacob Hester -- LSU's most versatile back started at tailback for the second consecutive week and scored his fifth and sixth rushing touchdowns of the season.
WR Craig Davis -- Davis caught four passes for 59 yards but also looked good on punt returns, returning one for 27 yards and returning another for 38 yards. The second return was wiped out by a penalty, but at least Davis showed what he could do on punts. "He sure did look like he was comfortable back there, didn't he?" LSU coach Les Miles said. "He'll get the opportunity to do that again."
STILL NEEDS WORK: Punt coverage unit -- Kentucky's Keenan Burton returned a punt 22 yards.
SS Jessie Daniels -- His holding penalty wiped out Davis' 38-yard punt return.
ROSTER REPORT: The one-sided nature of the game allowed LSU to play all three scholarship quarterbacks. Junior Matt Flynn completed 4 of 7 passes for 52 yards and two touchdowns while redshirt freshman Ryan Perrilloux saw his most extended playing time. He entering with 7:15 left and drove LSU from its 32 to the Kentucky 8 before the Tigers lost the ball on downs with 1:06 left.
Two true freshmen backs got the ball against Kentucky, with Charles Scott rushing for a team-high 56 yards on nine carries and Keiland Williams carrying eight times for 47 yards.
True freshman TE Richard Dickson started at tight end for regular starter Keith Zinger, who was not in uniform. Zinger has been plagued by undisclosed stomach problems throughout the season.
Previous Report: 10/10/2006