LSU fights through sluggish first half in rout of Furman

Baton Rouge, LA ( - Jeremy Hill and Terrence Magee rushed for two touchdowns apiece as 13th-ranked LSU overcame a difficult first half to rout Furman, 48-16, on Saturday.

LSU (7-2) led just 20-16 at halftime against the FCS-opponent, but outscored Furman 28-0 in a dominant second half. The Tigers won their 45th straight game against non-SEC opponents.

"The game started sloppy," said LSU head coach Les Miles. "We turned the ball over twice in the first half. The first half scores were not inclined to what we would like. Second half, the offense took control, and the defense played like they were supposed to and looked like they were supposed to."

Hill carried 14 times for 143 yards while Magee needed just seven rushes for 108 yards in the triumph. Zach Mettenberger completed 16-of-24 passes for 328 yards, three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions as LSU improved to 22-1 under Miles following a loss.

Odell Beckham hauled in six receptions for two touchdowns and a career-best 204 yards.

Reese Hannon threw for 104 yards on 16-for-28 efficiency for Furman (3-5), which has lost eight in a row to standing members of the SEC. Hank McCloud ran for 79 yards on 15 carries.

"We were able to control the ball a little bit, and that helped us because we were obviously having trouble stopping in the first half," said Furman coach Bruce Fowler. "In the second half, (LSU) physically took over the game with their offense."

Furman took an early lead when Reggie Thomas intercepted Mettenberger and took it back 74 yards for a touchdown. LSU responded just over a minute later when Hill broke off a 55-yard touchdown run to tie the score.

"Any time you get to break a long one it is fun," said Hill. "It gives our offense so much momentum. It gets my teammates excited. I think we need to continue to do that."

Ray Early put the visiting Paladins back in front with a 46-yard field goal, capping a 13-play march.

Mettenberger's 53-yard strike to Beckham set up Hill's second touchdown plunge of the quarter, this one from four yards out. Colby Delahoussaye missed the ensuing extra point and LSU led 13-10 after the first.

On the fourth play of the second period, Beckham made a difficult catch in double coverage and got into the end zone for a 37-yard score.

Another Early field goal had Furman trailing just 20-13. Late in the first half, the Paladins punted back to LSU but Beckham muffed the return and Danny LaMontagne scooped up the loose ball. McCloud carried 14 yards down to the LSU 1 with just over a minute remaining, but an LSU stop and a false start penalty caused Furman to settle for a last-second field goal.

The Tigers moved down the field effortlessly in eight plays on the opening drive of the second half. Jarvis Landry caught a 26-yard pass to move LSU to the Furman 43 and Magee ran 33 yards down to the 1-yard line. Magee scored a play later to create a 27-16 cushion for LSU.

Hannon and Mettenberger traded third-quarter interceptions before a Furman punt pinned LSU down on its own 10-yard line. Unphased, Mettenberger led an 11-play surge which ended with a dump off to Melvin Jones for a 7-yard score.

A Furman three-and-out led to Magee's 39-yard touchdown scamper and a 41-16 edge.

Early in the fourth, Beckham benefited from multiple downfield blocks on his 63-yard touchdown reception, which capped the scoring.

Game Notes

Furman fell to 27-71-1 all-time against current members of the SEC ... LSU outgained the Paladins, 672-198 ... The Tigers converted 5-of-7 on third down, while Furman went just 4-for-16 ... Landry had five catches for 87 yards ... LSU has its first bye week of the season before traveling to Alabama.