Skip to content

LSU shows Vols close-up of No. 1

LSU shows Vols close-up of No. 1

Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011 7:03 pm

By BETH RUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Even when top-ranked LSU isn’t playing its best, the Tigers are still finding ways to dominate games.
Jarrett Lee and LSU got off to a slower start than usual against Tennessee but wore the Volunteers down in a 38-7 victory on Saturday. It was a record sixth straight victory over a Southeastern Conference East Division opponent for the Tigers, and their seventh consecutive win by a double-digit margin.
“I felt like we did what we needed to do,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “It wasn’t our best game, but we did what we had to do to ensure victory. Our defense gave us turnovers and the opportunities to take the opponent out. Our offense late in the game gave us the football and ate up the time of possession and scored.”
It marked a departure in the series between the two teams in which three of the last four games have been decided by a touchdown or less, including last year’s bizarre finish in Baton Rouge when LSU scored the winning touchdown after the game was extended by a Tennessee penalty for too many men on the field.
Matt Simms, making his first start of the season for Tennessee in place of the injured Tyler Bray, was 6-of-20 for 128 yards and two interceptions.
Twice LSU (7-0, 4-0) started drives on Tenne-ssee’s side of the field, and both times the Tigers turned the field position into touchdowns.
“It wasn’t a really complex game,” Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said. “In the first half, I thought we competed our tails off and had a couple of real bad mistakes that was ultimately the difference in the first half. In the second half, we had a couple of third-down opportunities where we didn’t execute.”
The Vols had crossed midfield when Simms connected with Rajion Neal on a 38-yard pass that was ruled out of bounds but overturned on review. On the next play, Simms aimed deep for Da’Rick Rogers but hit LSU’s Morris Claiborne instead.
Claiborne returned the interception 89 yards, but Zach Rogers caught up with him at the Tennessee five. It was LSU’s longest non-scoring interception return ever and longest return overall since Greg Jackson’s 100-yard return in 1988 against Mississippi State.
On second down, Lee hit Rueben Randle for a five-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 14:56 in the second quarter.
Tennessee (3-3, 0-3) started the next drive on its own 11 and went backward. Odell Beckham Jr. returned Michael Palardy’s 42-yard punt to the Tennessee 36.
On third-and-11 at the Vols 13, Tennessee blitz and Lee lobbed a screen pass to Spencer Ware, who went 13 yards for a score to give LSU a 14-0 lead with 10:01 in the second quarter. The Tigers’ Drew Alleman tacked on an 18-yard field goal with 15 seconds before halftime.
Lee finished 10-of-14 for 115 yards, Ware ran for 80 yards and a score, Jordan Jefferson added 73 yards rushing and a touchdown on 14 carries and Randle had 86 yards receiving and a touchdown. Michael Ford and Russell Shepard also ran for scores.
Aside from LSU’s 99 yards on interception returns, the teams played almost evenly through the first half.
The Vols kept from falling apart, even as Simms threw another interception midway through the second quarter. Tennessee’s defense held LSU after the pick, and the offense put together an 80-yard drive.
Simms threw a 44-yard pass to Da’Rick Rogers, who dragged LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu the last 10 yards of the play, and Tauren Poole covered 28 yards on seven plays before punching the ball in the end zone.”
Published in The Messenger 10.17.11

Leave a Comment