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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    LSU thoroughly dominates Cats

    BATON ROUGE, La. – More than 92,000 fans showed up ready at Tiger Stadium for Saturday night’s game between the Arizona football team and No. 8 Louisiana State.

    The Wildcats couldn’t find 11 players to do the same.

    LSU jumped out to a 17-0 lead midway through the first quarter and never looked back, pounding Arizona 45-3 behind a stifling defense and 461 yards of total offense.

    Quarterback JaMarcus Russell threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns in leading LSU (2-0) to its ninth straight win over a Pacific 10 Conference opponent, but it was Arizona’s attack – or lack thereof – that killed the Wildcats (1-1).

    “”Playing a team like LSU, they can expose some weaknesses, and obviously they exposed some in this game,”” UA head coach Mike Stoops said of Arizona, who gained a mere 152 yards of total offense. “”We just didn’t handle things very well.””

    Quarterback Willie Tuitama finished the game 8-of-17 with two interceptions and only 50 yards. He was pulled in the third quarter out of concern of a possible concussion.

    The sophomore absorbed two helmet-to-helmet hits on the game’s first drive – one of which was flagged for a personal foul – and looked out of his element the rest of the night, overthrowing receivers and failing to recognize blitzes.

    “”I would think they’d (LSU) try to get him out of the game, some way, somehow,”” offensive coordinator Mike Canales said. “”I don’t know if they were targeting him – but a blow to the head like that, that was pretty malicious.

    “”I’m surprised he was still in the game after taking a blow like that. It was really a straight on shot to the head. There’s no excuse.””

    Tuitama was replaced by redshirt senior Adam Austin, who went 8-of-19 for 67 yards and an interception.

    It quickly became clear that when things went bad for the visitors, they got worse.

    LSU scored three times during a three-minute span in the opening quarter, crushing any hope of a Wildcat upset.

    With Arizona facing third down and six from its own 37, LSU cornerback Jonathan Zenon picked off Tuitama’s pass and returned it 41 yards for a score and a 10-0 lead only 1:33 after Colt David’s 21-yard field goal opened the scoring.

    Things got worse on the ensuing kickoff, when wide receiver B.J. Dennard’s fumble was recovered by the Tigers’ Jacob Cutrera. Russell hit fullback Jacob Hester on a 5-yard route three plays later for a 17-0 lead.

    “”We stepped up a class to the heavyweight division tonight and just didn’t handle it,”” Stoops said. “”We just weren’t ready for this.””

    LSU was. Even when Arizona appeared to slow them down, the Tigers wound up in the end zone.

    On third-and-two from the Arizona 17, Tiger running back Alley Broussard burst through the Arizona defensive line and past Patrick for a 24-0 lead.

    Six LSU players had at least 20 yards on the ground, with three of them finding the end zone.

    “”Whenever you get down on a team that’s that good, it’s kind of hard to come back –

    especially when they get three quick scores in the first couple of minutes,”” safety Dominic Patrick said.

    The Wildcats struggled again to run the football, averaging 1.7 yards per carry, despite junior running back Chris Jennings, who finished with 53 yards on eight carries.

    Starter Chris Henry had two yards on six rushes.

    The Arizona offense didn’t even cross midfield until the 5:40 mark of the second quarter, but even that drive stalled after three UA fumbles killed the Wildcats’ momentum and forced one of six Nick Folk punts on the day.

    LSU kept the rout on in the second half. Midway through the third quarter, Hester went 28 yards untouched into the end zone to put the Tigers up 31-0.

    Russell found Dwayne Bowe two minutes later for his second touchdown of the night, and Charles Scott added a 38-yard dash in the fourth to cap the Tiger scoring.

    LSU’s defense extended its streak of not giving up a touchdown to 14 quarters. A 22-yard Folk field goal with 1:06 remaining is all that saved Arizona from its first shutout since a 28-0 loss to California last October.

    “”We practiced like we knew what we were doing,”” Patrick said. “”We should have been able to come out and execute a little better, but this is behind us now.

    “”We’ve got to put it behind us.””

    Late hits

    LSU didn’t punt until the last play of the third quarter. … Though Austin led the offense to its only points of the night, there’s no quarterback controversy in Tucson: “”Willie’s still the guy, definitely,”” Austin said. … Arizona went 3-for-15 on third down. … LSU running backs Justin Vincent, Hester and Broussard each had eight carries for the second straight week – coincidentally, in the Tigers’ second consecutive 45-3 victory after beating Louisiana-Lafayette by the same score last week.

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