(Saturday, September 11th)
Final Score: (19) LSU 27, Vanderbilt 3
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Stevan Ridley rushed for career-high 159 yards on 17 carries and his 65-yard touchdown scamper put the finishing touches on LSU's dominating fourth quarter, as the 19th-ranked Tigers handled Vanderbilt, 27-3, in the SEC opener for both teams.
LSU (2-0, 1-0 SEC), which was coming off a surprisingly tough 30-24 win over a depleted North Carolina squad last week, pulled away by outscoring the Commodores 17-0 in the final 15 minutes and holding them to 135 total yards.
"The defense was spectacular, really from the start, and really pressed the Vanderbilt offense to get first downs," LSU head coach Les Miles said. "The offense got a chance late in the game and we finished."
Jordan Jefferson had a forgettable day under center for the Tigers, completing only 8-of-20 passes for 96 yards with an interception.
His counterpart, Larry Smith, was also ineffective, throwing for 70 yards on 8-of-15 efficiency for Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1), which was coming off a home loss to Northwestern.
The Commodores gained momentum with a field goal and interception in the early stages of the third quarter. However, they failed to move the ball effectively after the turnover, and LSU took over from there.
The Tigers held the ball for the next 6:42, and though they were only able to muster a 23-yard Josh Jasper field goal 2 1/2 minutes into the final stanza, Warren Norman fumbled the ensuing kickoff at his own 26.
Four plays later, Alfred Blue ran up the middle for six yards, and LSU was suddenly ahead, 20-3.
Ridley's 65-yard jaunt to paydirt on the Tigers' next touch put the game away with under five minutes left.
"Offensively, we've got to go back to the drawing board and find something our people are capable of doing," Vandy head coach Robbie Caldwell said." Hats off to LSU."
Vanderbilt twice moved the chains in the first half, but were able to keep it close by holding LSU to 121 yards in a punt-filled opening 30 minutes.
The Tigers' best drive early on spanned the first and second quarter, with Russell Shepard capping the 12-play, 81-yard march with a 30-yard TD run.
Good field position later in the quarter resulted in a Jasper 36-yard field goal with 5 1/2 minutes left, and it was 10-0 at the break.
Norman's 51-yard run on the second play of the second half nearly doubled Vandy's 30 yards of total offense in the first half. The long gain set up Ryan Fowler's 23-yard field goal, and Casey Hayward thwarted a promising LSU drive by picking off Jefferson in the end zone midway through the third.
The Tigers have won 15 straight games in September and seven consecutive against Vanderbilt...Norman finished with 68 yards on eight carries for Vandy, which was outgained, 280-65, on the ground...The Commodores converted 2-of-13 third down tries...Vanderbilt's Brandon Barden had a game-high five catches for 38 yards.
09/11 23:55:23 ET