LSU not getting style points, just victories

LSU's offense has been bad enough to incite boos from fans in Tiger stadium.

None of those same boo-birds are complaining about the 12th-ranked Tigers win-loss record though.

LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC) remains unbeaten and on the rise in the polls following their 20-14 triumph on Saturday night that knocked then-22nd ranked West Virginia out of the Top 25.

The recipe was the same: Outstanding defense and solid special teams. The Tigers held the Mountaineers to 177 yards of offense. Josh Jasper kicked two field goals and Patrick Peterson returned a punt for a touchdown.

The offense contributed little beyond Stevan Ridley's 116 yards rushing. Jordan Jefferson passed for 75 yards — his third straight game with fewer than 100 yards passing and no TDs through the air. LSU is averaging just 110 yards passing per game for the season.

Coach Les Miles said Monday that the way in which the defense and special teams are playing does influence the offensive game plan by making it more conservative.

"If it looks like you're getting dominant play on defense and great special teams play, you don't have to be too risky on offense," Miles said. "We just need to have a quality offense. I want a dominant defense. I want a dominant offense too. But, the scenario in the first four games has been a dominant defense."

It's been a rough first four games for Jefferson. He has completed just 54 percent of his passes (43 of 79) for 419 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. In the last three games, Jefferson completed 48 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

Against West Virginia, Jefferson was 10-for-22 for only 75 yards with two interceptions. Miles removed Jefferson from the game in favor of backup Jarrett Lee in the fourth quarter. After sitting out a series, Jefferson returned to the field for the last possession of the game.

While acknowledging that Jefferson must throw the ball better, Miles defended his quarterback's work against the Mountaineers. Miles mentioned a drop by Terrance Toliver and a handful of offensive penalties.

"Offensively, nobody is satisfied in our building," Miles said. "We had the opportunity to get off to a good start. We throw a ball right to a receiver and it goes through his hands for a pick. That's not the way to start the game.

"We have penalties which turn a third-and-3 into a third-and-8. We put our quarterback in a bad position with the penalties."

In addition, West Virginia dropped eight players in pass coverage against Jefferson. The Mountaineers used a lot of zone defense. LSU was expecting West Virginia to play man-to-man.

"West Virginia was rushing three and dropping eight," Miles said. "That's not an ideal time to throw the football. Any quarterback other than Brett Favre would have trouble. It was not a great night to play quarterback no matter who the quarterback would be."

Miles indicated that Jefferson will start this week when Tennessee comes to town, but added that Lee may be getting an opportunity for some meaningful playing time in the near future.

"Jordan is going to start," Miles said. "You have to use the strengths of the player on the field. You don't make a change just because one guy is playing poorly. The other guy has to be ready to do the things we want him to do. Jarrett is more mature. His opportunity to play is getting closer and closer."

Miles' LSU teams have played very well in September. The Tigers are 20-2 in September games in Miles' six seasons. Now, LSU will try to open its second straight season with five consecutive victories.

"We still understand that there's work to be done," Miles said. "But, I enjoy the fact that we are undefeated. I want to stay there as routinely as possible."