Mettenberger takes blame for red-zone interception
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger has worked on earning his role as a team leader in his first season as a starter.
He put in long hours during the summer and didn’t just assume he was a leader by the nature of the position he played.
Mettenberger has helped lead the No. 2 Tigers to a 3-0 start by completing 72.7 percent of his passes and throwing for four touchdowns. The only blemish for him is that he has thrown two interceptions, both coming near the opponents’ goal line.
The second one was returned 94 yards by Idaho’s Gary Walker to the Tigers’ 5-yard line. Instead of LSU likely increasing its lead to 17 or 21 points, the Vandals scored to make it 14-7.
After the game, Mettenberger showed maturity and responsibility when talking about the interception.
“I really put that slow start on myself,” Mettenberger said. “If I don’t throw that interception, we are up 21-0. Throwing that interception really gave them life, and I put the first half solely on myself.”
LSU scored a late second-quarter touchdown to take a 28-14 halftime lead, then rolled to a 63-14 victory. The defense had four interceptions, and Ronald Martin and Lavar Edwards each returned one for a touchdown.
“We look to the defense to play how they did in the second half all year,” Mettenberger said. “Hopefully I won’t have as many interceptions so the offense can get some yards. Overall, we played pretty well, but there is a lot of room for improvement.”
Landry gets first TD
Sophomore Jarvis Landry scored his first career touchdown on a 7-yard pass from Mettenberger. That was Mettenberger’s fifth career TD pass and first to someone other than Kadron Boone, who caught Mettenberger’s only touchdown last season and has one in each game this season.
Saturday’s game was Mettenberger’s first with more than one touchdown pass.
Slow with the sacks
For the second time in three games, the LSU defense did not have a sack. Idaho sacked Mettenberger three times, and North Texas sacked Mettenberger twice in the opener, but the Tigers did not get to the Mean Green quarterback. All four of LSU’s sacks came against Washington, which didn’t get to Mettenberger.
The Tigers have allowed more sacks (five) than they have made (four).
Hilliard keeps rolling
Another game, another pair of touchdowns for Kenny Hilliard. The sophomore running back has rushed for two TDs in all three of the Tigers games.
He had a 71-yarder — the longest run by an LSU player since quarterback Jordan Jefferson ran 83 yards for a touchdown against Tennessee two years ago — and a 1-yarder. Hilliard has 14 touchdowns in 16 career games.
Alleman streak is No. 2
Drew Alleman was 9-for-9 on extra points Saturday, extending his streak of consecutive PATs to 81. That moved him past Colt David (72) for the second-longest streak in school history. David Browndyke holds the record with 109.
Ford returns kickoffs
Michael Ford replaced Odell Beckham Jr. on kickoff returns and totaled 99 yards on three returns. Beckham — whose fumble on the opening kickoff led to Washinton’s only points in LSU’s 41-3 victory a week earlier — returned four punts for 31 yards.
The Tigers have scored 40 or more points in each of their first three games for the second time in modern school history. The other time came in 2007. ... Martin’s two interceptions came one year to the day after former Tigers cornerback Morris Claiborne had two interceptions at Mississippi State, the last time an LSU player had multiple interceptions in a game. ... Mettenberger’s interception marked the third time LSU has failed to score in the red zone this season. Last season, the Tigers failed just four times in 61 trips into the red zone. ... Terrence Magee made a 7-yard catch for his first reception since adding wide receiver duties to his running back duties this season. ... Punter Brad Wing and kickoff specialist James Hairston each had a solo tackle.