LSU giants appear
Published 11:53 pm Sunday, September 9, 2007
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Ryan Perrilloux’s pair of touchdown passes made for a nice outing against Virginia Tech’s nationally respected defense.
And Perrilloux is only a backup.
LSU’s roster is looking increasingly like an embarrassment of riches for head coach Les Miles, who seems a little disquieted by all the compliments coming the Tigers’ way after a pair of blowouts to open the season.
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‘‘I like what we did, I certainly understand it, but I’m not letting anyone bestow anything upon us,’’ Miles said after LSU’s 48-7 triumph over the Hokies on Saturday night. ‘‘We need to come to work every day how we came to work this last week. If we do that, we’ll be fine. If we don’t we will not achieve what we want to.’’
What second-ranked LSU (2-0) wants to achieve is a chance to take an 80-mile trip to New Orleans in January to play in the BCS national championship game, preferably against mighty Southern Cal, which for now remains the top-ranked team in the land.
To get there, the Tigers will have to win the Southeastern Conference and probably go undefeated. That’s always a tall order, but it hardly seems out of reach for LSU, considering how the Tigers have totally dismantled their first two opponents, both of which play in major conferences.
First came a 45-0 victory at Mississippi State, a Southeastern Conference team, albeit a relatively weak one in recent seasons.
Saturday night was a different story. Virginia Tech came in ranked No. 9 for one of the most anticipated non-conference matchups of the season.
The Tigers handed Frank Beamer his most lopsided loss since he took Virginia Tech’s head coaching job in 1987.
It wasn’t so surprising to see LSU’s highly regarded defense hold the Hokies to a single touchdown. What really has to cause heartburn for the remaining teams on LSU’s schedule is the ease with which starting LSU quarterback Matt Flynn and company rolled up 24-0 lead in the first 18 minutes and 327 yards in the first half.
By the time the game ended, LSU had a whopping 598 total yards in offense, while Virginia Tech managed a meager 149.
‘‘They hit us,’’ Beamer said. ‘‘Their backs are good, their receivers are good, Flynn was excellent, their second quarterback got us a couple times, their offensive line protected well … I’m not sure if this isn’t the No. 1 football team in the country.’’
He’s not the only one.
LSU remained No. 2 in the AP Top 25 poll this week, but took 19 first-place votes from USC.
Much of the reason for that stemmed from questions the Tigers answered on offense.
Flynn, a first-year starter who got off to slow start a week ago at Mississippi State, now looks quite comfortable running a balanced a versatile LSU offense. The composed, fifth-year senior has yet to turn the ball over. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass against the Hokies, but didn’t need to. He ran for one instead and finished with 217 yards passing after completing 17 of 27 attempts.
LSU rushed for 297 yards, with lead tailback Keiland Williams scoring touchdowns of 67 and 32 yards en route to a 126-yard night. Jacob Hester rushed for 81 yards and a score.
Small but stunningly fast Trindon Holliday, who returns kicks and lines up in a variety of running and passing formations, broke lose for a 32-yard run in the second half. Charles Scott averaged a solid 6 yards per carry on only four rushes.
Then there was sophomore receiver Brandon LaFell, who caught a career-high seven passes for 125 yards, including a 56-yarder on LSU’s second scoring drive.
After LSU had lost quarterback JaMarcus Russell and receivers Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis in the first round of last spring’s NFL Draft, one had to wonder how the Tigers would remake their passing game.
Early Doucet was the only receiver with much experience and Flynn had only one start before this season. When Virginia Tech double-teamed Doucet, Flynn and LaFell made them pay.
‘‘We wanted to call his number more and got that opportunity,’’ Miles said of LaFell. ‘‘We really feel like he’s a big play waiting to happen for us.’’
It’s hard to argue with that. During his freshman season, LaFell had trouble getting in the game behind the trio of Bowe, Davis and Doucet. But his two receptions in 2006 both went for long touchdowns.
The scary thing is that LSU might not even need an offense this good.
Their defense is big, fast and hard-hitting with a nose for the ball. In two games, LSU has allowed 7 points, forced eight turnovers and registered seven sacks.
‘‘LSU football is based on great defense,’’ Miles said. ‘‘We count on it and they performed.’’