The LSU Tigers defeated North Texas, 41-14, on Sept. 1 at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers moved to 5-0 all-time against the Mean Green with the win.
The LSU team as a whole looked like it was still in the preseason during this game. However, the Tigers had too much talent to ever be in danger in the game. While LSU ultimately won comfortably, the team left points on the field due to penalties and miscues. The Tigers also made mistakes which allowed North Texas to score more points in this meeting than in the previous four meetings combined (13). There was also a scary moment for LSU fans when starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger was crushed on a sack by North Texas cornerback Hilbert Jackson in the first quarter. Mettenberger had to leave the game to recover after the play but returned later in the half and finished the game.
LSU Running Game Dominates
Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue did most of the work for the Tigers on the ground and both players put up impressive efforts. Hilliard racked up 141 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Blue had 123 yards on 16 carries. Michael Ford, who led LSU in rushing last season, had eight carries for 50 yards. Overall, the Tigers topped 300 rushing yards and had three rushing touchdowns in the game.
LSU Passing Game Needs Work
While the run blocking was great, the pass blocking left a lot to be desired. Mettenberger was sacked twice in the game, but received pressure throughout the contest and did not look comfortable. He finished the game 19-of-26 passing for 192 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The interception came in the first half when he forced a pass in the red zone. Mettenberger did eventually get his first passing touchdown of the season after a penalty wiped out what would have been a score on a nice pass to Russell Shepard.
LSU Defense Gives Up Two Passing Touchdowns
The defense was not as dominant as I expected they would be against North Texas. While the rush defense was solid, there were issues in pass coverage. Mean Green wide receiver Brelan Chancellor broke off an 80-yard touchdown reception in the first half and capped a sustained drive with a 15-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. West Virginia was the only team to record two passing touchdowns against LSU last season.
The Tigers will try to work out the kinks against Washington next on Sept. 8.
As an LSU fan, I am glad the first game was against an opponent that was not going to make LSU pay for their mistakes.
More from Patrick Johnston:LSU football No. 3 in preseason AP Top 25 poll
Stats from LSU Sports.net
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