BATON ROUGE, La. -- Zach Mettenberger set a school record with five touchdown passes -- three to Odell Beckham Jr. and two to Jarvis Landry -- and Beckham returned a missed field goal 109 yards untouched for another score to power ninth-ranked LSU to a 56-17 rout of the University of Alabama-Birmingham Saturday night at Tiger Stadium.
Beckham's night has to be counted among one of the most spectacular in LSU history. In addition to his scoring catches of 29, 22 and 27 yards, he had a 60-yard punt return to set up another nine-yard touchdown drive in the first half.
But his most thrilling play occurred late in the third quarter. Trailing 49-17, UAB trotted out its strong-legged placekicker, Ty Long, to attempt a 59-yard field goal. Long hit it with power, but the ball was one yard short of the crossbar, and Beckham was playing centerfield.
Rather than let the ball bounce out of the end zone, Beckham hauled it in and then set sail down the left sidelines. He outran several UAB defenders to the sidelines and then cut back without being touched.
Although the play went for 109 yards, Beckham was officially credited only with 100 yards for a missed field goal return. Still, Beckham caught five passes for 136 yards -- including a game-high 49-yarder -- and amassed 316 all-purpose yards. Beckham had 272 all-purpose yards last week in a 37-27 victory over TCU.
Mettenberger's two other TD throws went to Landry for 25 and 15 yards. He finished 16 of 19 for 282 yards. Eleven other LSU quarterbacks had thrown four TD passes in a game, the last being Matt Flynn against Ohio State in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game against Ohio State.
LSU, which also welcomed back 2012 leading rusher Jeremy Hill from a suspension, improved to 2-0 on the season, and UAB fell to 0-2.
Mettenberger looked sharp from the outset, completing 13 of 16 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, including scoring strikes of 29 and 22 yards to Beckham. Mettenberger's third TD pass was a 24-yarder to a leaping Landry, which gave the Tigers a 35-7 lead with 8:01 left in the second quarter.
But the Blazers scored the final 10 points of the half to close the deficit to 35-17.
LSU scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions in the first half as Mettenberger picked apart man-to-man coverage. Two of LSU's touchdowns came on drives of nine and 19 yards, the first set up by Beckham's 60-yard punt return and the second when UAB backup quarterback Jonathan Perry muffed a handoff to Greg Franklin.
Hill, the Tigers' leading returning rusher, entered the game at the beginning of the second quarter and scored on his first carry -- a three-yard run over left guard. Hill was held out of the TCU game last week by coach Les Miles after being arrested in the offseason for his part in a fight in a parking lot at an off-campus bar.
UAB scored after Landry was stripped of the ball by cornerback Lamarcus Farmer after a first-down catch and the Blazers recovered at the LSU 39. On third-and-11 from the 41, UAB quarterback Austin Brown found Jamarcus Nelson streaking past cornerback Jalen Mills on the right sideline and delivered a perfect pass for a touchdown that narrowed the gap to 35-14.
After UAB forced an LSU punt, the Blazers marched 65 yards in 10 plays to set up Ty Long's 24-yard field goal as the first half ended.
NOTES: A lightning alert delayed the kickoff by 41 minutes. ... LSU extended its record to 43 consecutive regular-season victories against non-conference opponents. Les Miles is now 33-0 against non-conference foes in the regular season. ... After losing eight defensive players in the 2013 NFL draft, LSU has played eight true freshmen in its first two games.