BATON ROUGE, La. – Apparently, new LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is doing something right. Zach Mettenberger's single-game school record five touchdown passes against UAB attested to that.
Three of Mettenberger's touchdowns went to Odell Beckham Jr., who also returned a missed field goal 100 yards for a score, and the ninth-ranked Tigers overwhelmed UAB 56-17 on Saturday night.
Even Jeremy Hill got involved for LSU (2-0) when coach Les Miles decided early in the second quarter to end the running back's benching in connection with his arrest in a bar scuffle last spring.
After sitting out a game and a quarter, Hill scored a 3-yard touchdown on his first carry and wound up carrying six times for 50 yards.
The Blazers (0-2) came in with a perfect record in Death Valley — a stunning 13-10 last second win in their only other visit in 2000.
It wasn't long before the Tigers put to rest any notion of that happening again.
Beckham, who also returned a punt 60 yards to set up Kenny Hilliard's 1-yard TD run, finished with 331 all-purpose yards.
Mettenberger was 16 of 19 for 282 yards and was not intercepted. Beckham's 136 yards and three TDs receiving were both career highs.
Jarvis Landry caught two touchdown passes, leaping and reaching high to snag his 24-yard score. Mettenberger put the ball where only Landry had a chance at it, out of the reach of a defensive back undercutting the route.
Beckham had only two 100-yard receiving games as a sophomore last season. He has two in his first two games this season, clearly establishing chemistry with Mettenberger, who is in turn seems to be benefiting from Cameron's tutelage.
LSU stalled on its first drive, a result which could not have belied any more what was about to happen.
The Tigers marched 89 yards in only five plays on their second series, thanks in large part to three catches for 87 yards by Beckham. His 49-yard reception set up his 29-yard scorce on a hard throw by Mettenberger, who hit his target in stride as two helpless defenders converged.
The Tigers then marched 50 yards in six plays for their second touchdown. Beckham started the drive with a 15-yard run on an end-around and finished it with a 22-yard TD catch.
Hilliard's run gave LSU — a five-TD favorite — a 21-0 lead on the last play of the first quarter.
A few plays into the second quarter, UAB reserve quarterback Jonathan Perry fumbled and LSU's Quentin Thomas recovered, that's when Miles sent in Hill, who was last season's leading rusher. Three plays later, Hill burst through the left side of the line for his score to make it 28-0.
Darren Reaves scored UAB's first touchdown on a 12-yard run in the second quarter.
Receiver Jamarcus Nelson, who had 10 catches for 199 yards in an overtime loss at Troy a week earlier, added a 41-yard touchdown catch from that pulled UAB to 35-14 in the second quarter. The Blazers added a field goal as time expired in the half to get as close as 35-17.
But LSU responded with Beckham's third touchdown catch on a 27-yard pass to the left corner of the end zone early in the third quarter.
But the highlight of his night, even if the game was in hand by then, may have come when he camped out in the back of the end zone for Ty Long's 59-yard field goal attempt. He caught in 9 yards deep in the end zone and immediately sprinted out. By the time the Blazers realized it, Beckham was sprinting down the left sideline with blockers in front of him.