LSU overcomes slow start to down Towson

Zach Mettenberger threw a pair of touchdown passes to Odell Beckham and third-ranked LSU overcame early mistakes to beat Towson, 38-22, Saturday night.

Russell Shepard ran 78 yards for a touchdown. Michael Ford and J.C. Copeland also rushed for a score for LSU (5-0), which opens SEC play next Saturday on the road against the Florida Gators.

Mettenberger completed 15-of-26 passes for 238 yards, while Ford gained 76 yards on 11 carries. Beckham had five catches for 128 yards.

"I thought that we played down to our opponent," LSU coach Les Miles said. "I thought that if we don't turn the ball over or throw the ball on the ground and we protect our quarterback that this thing looks like it is supposed to be."

LSU, which went into the Towson game coming off a 12-10 road win over Auburn, fell behind 9-7 with 5:15 left in the second quarter when Terrance West scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.

Towson (2-2), ranked 12th in The Sports Network FCS Top 25, then gave up the ensuing 24 points.

Grant Enders finished 13-of-33 for 103 yards and a touchdown through the air. He also rushed for 86 yards. West had a pair of rushing TDs.

If not for some early miscues by LSU, the hosts might have made this game a blowout early. Shepard scored on 78-yard rush less than five minutes into the game, but Kenny Hilliard fumbled the ball away in LSU territory later in the period.

Towson got a 26-yard field goal from D.J. Soven off the turnover.

Drew Alleman missed a 51-yard field goal try early in the second for LSU, and Mettenberger fumbled the ball away after being sacked midway through the period.

Enders rumbled 43 yards to the LSU 1-yard line prior to West's TD to give Towson a 9-7 edge. Soven missed the extra point.

Mettenberger came back with a 27-yard TD strike to Odell Beckham, and LSU was given great field position when R.J. Peppers' punt went just six yards.

Starting from the Towson 22-yard line, LSU moved to the Towson 5-yard line before Alleman made a 23-yard field goal with 1:19 left in the half.

Soven missed a 53-yard field goal attempt on Towson's opening possession of the second half, but Ford had the ball stripped by Jordan Dangerfield on the next LSU series.

Towson's defense stiffened and sacked Mettenberger, forcing a 4th-and-20 at the LSU 46-yard line. Jordan Love muffed Brad Wing's punt, and LSU recovered at the Towson 8-yard line.

Hilliard fumbled near the goal line on second down, but on the next play, Copeland barely broke the plane on a leap up the middle. Video replay was used to confirm the 1-yard TD run, making the score 24-9 with barely under six minutes remaining in the quarter.

Mettenberger and Beckham hooked up for a 53-yard score on the opening play of the final quarter.

West scored on a 1-yard run prior to LSU essentially sealing the outcome on Ford's 4-yard scamper into the end zone with about 5 1/2 minutes left.

Enders then connected with Gerrard Sheppard on a 9-yard score.

"I'm not sure if they were too familiar with our school and where we are from," Enders said. "I think and I hope that after the game they will realize the difference between FCS and FBS football is not that big. At the end of the day it's 11 guys versus 11 guys competing to win and anyone can beat anyone."

Game Notes

LSU is 31-0 under Miles in non-conference regular season games ... LSU is 49-4 against unranked teams under Miles, which includes a current streak of 17 straight wins ... LSU hasn't lost a non-conference home game since a 13-10 loss to UAB in 2000 ... Copeland left the game with a left knee injury.