Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA: LSU took a step in the right direction on Saturday night against Central Michigan, showing improvement in their play as they dominated the Chippewas with a 49-21 victory in Tiger Stadium.
The LSU defense held Central Michigan, who came into the contest averaging 238 yards rushing per game to only 56 yards on the ground. Then put heavy pressure on Chippewas quarterback Jacob Sirmon all game long sacking him five times.
Offensively the Tigers ran a no-huddle, up-tempo offense which had Max Johnson getting rid of the ball much quicker and using the short passing game as a substitute for a still weak running game.
The Tigers took the opening kickoff and wasted little time as the offense would go fast with a no huddle. Max Johnson would find Deion Smith deep in the corner of the end zone for a 28 yard touchdown. The ball was slightly under thrown, but Smith made a fantastic catch over the defender for the score. The scoring drive took 8 plays to go 65 yards in 3:12. .. 7-0 Tigers...
LSU would score again four plays later. Sirmon would complete a swing pass to Darius Bracy. Derek Stingley hit Bracy immediately, forcing a fumble. Andre Anthony then scooped up the ball and race 33 yards down the far sidelines for the touchdown. York would convert the PAT for a 14-0 LSU lead with 10:05 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers continued to play aggressive adding to their first quarter lead. Starting on their own 37, Max Johnson would move the offense 63 yards in only three plays, hitting Deion Smith for a 40 yard touchdown. 21-0 Tigers with 1:52 left in the quarter.
Central Michigan would answer the LSU score quickly. A break down in the LSU secondary would leave Chippewas' wide receiver JaCorey Sullivan running wide open down the far sideline. Sirmon would find him for a 78 yard touchdown to cut the LSU lead to 21-7 at the end of the first quarter.
With 11:58 to go in the half, the Tigers would start another scoring drive from their 35 yard line. We would finally see signs of a running game as Corey Kiner would begin to find some room to run. The Tigers mixed it up well on the drive with short effective runs and a nice short passing attack, driving 65 yards on 12 plays ending with Johnson finding Kayshon Boutte for a 2 yard touchdown. 28-7 Tigers with 6:54 to go in the half.
The LSU defense would continue to dominate the Central Michigan offense, shutting down their running game and putting constant pressuring Jacob Sirmon.
LSU would put another score on the board and do it in electrifying fashion. Starting at their own 8 yard line, Max Johnson would find Jack Bech for a 31 yard gain to the 39 yard line. Still going no huddle, Johnson would drop back to throw and find Brian Thomas Jr. streaking down the far sideline for a 41 yard completion to the Chippewas 20. Staying Up-tempo the Tigers rushed to the line, quickly snapping the ball to Johnson who would throw into the far corner of the South end zone to Jack Bech who would reach up over the defender, pulling in the ball for an incredible one handed touchdown grab.... 35-7 Tigers with 2:15 to go in the first half and would be our halftime score.
The Tigers continued flexing their muscles early in the second half, beginning their first drive of the 3rd quarter deep in their own territory at the 7 yard line. Nine plays and 93 yards later, the Tigers would increase their lead to 42-7 with Johnson hitting Devonte Lee over the middle for a 21 yard touchdown. Key plays in the drive came when Johnson would find Boutte for a nice 15 yard gain on a 3rd and five from the Tigers' 15 yard line. On the next play Deion Smith would make an incredible adjustment to a back shoulder throw, catching Johnson's pass along the sidelines, keeping a foot in for a huge 18 yard pick up. Three plays later on a 3rd and ten, Smith made another fantastic grab for 34 yards down to the CMU 21 yard line.
Max Johnson would make his first mistake of the contest on the Tigers' next possession. Facing a 3rd and six at their own 14 yard line, Johnson would be picked off by Devonni Reed who returned the interception 20 yards for a touchdown. 42-14 with 5:41 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Tigers final score of the contest would come on a 6 play, 75 yard drive with Garrett Nussmeier running the offense. But the drive belonged to running back Corey Kiner who handled the ball on five of the six plays. He started the drive off stiff arming a defender to the ground on an outstanding 26 yard gain. Then finishing the drive off with an impressive five yard touchdown run, spinning away from a defender before trotting into the end zone. Great job by the Tigers' offensive line also, as they blocked well opening up nice holes for Kiner.
LSU finally showed signs of life on Saturday night. For the first time this season, they played like a prepared, focused team. The defense was dominate again for the second straight week and the offensive line showed improvement in their pass protection. The no-huddle, up-tempo offense was executed well all night. Overall it was refreshing to see LSU play well and defeat an inferior opponent with ease as expected. It was exactly what the Tigers needed heading into SEC play next weekend.
Max Johnson finished 26-35 for 372 yards passing, 5 touchdowns with 1 interception
Corey Kiner was the team's leading rusher for the second game in a row as he had 74 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.
Deion Smith had a career night, leading the team with 153 yards receiving on 5 catches and 2 touchdowns. Jack Bech had a fantastic game with 5 catches for 81 yards, and a touchdown.
Defensively, Damone Clark, Micah Baskerville, and Nav Strong lead the team in tackles with six each. The Tigers ended up forcing two turnovers and registering five sacks on the night.
Next up the Tigers will travel to Starkville on Saturday, Sept. 25th to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Kickoff is set for 11:00am and will be carried on ESPN....
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi