LSU only scored a field goal in the first quarter, but that didn't stop the Tigers from continuing to put up high offensive numbers.
Coming off the heels of an emotional win over Texas, the Tigers beat Northwestern State 65-14 Saturday night. Despite the big win, the Demons held on until, keeping the game close at halftime.
"I felt confident," said LSU coach Ed Orgeron. "I felt confident that were were going to go out there and just keep on chomping away. I didn't raise my voice that much at halftime. I think it was more in the fourth quarter. I wanted to make sure we played for 60 minutes.
Senior quarterback Joe Burrow continued with his Heisman worthy season, finishing two and a half quarters at 21-of-24 with 373 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
With multiple players out on defense due to injuries sustained in LSU's win over Texas, the Tigers were forced to dig into the depth chart. Defensive linemen Glen Logan, Rashard Lawrence and K'Lavon Chaisson were were all out with injuries while Michael Divinity was a "coach's decision, according to the SEC Network broadcast.
On the offensive side, receiver Ja’Marr Chase and tight end Thaddeus Moss were both out with coach's decisions.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron said after the game that everybody would return next Saturday except Logan and Lawrence, who are both questionable.
The defense felt the losses a lot more than the offense did, as Northwestern quarterback Shelton Eppler went 21-of-38 with 225 yards and two touchdowns.
"You've got to give them credit," Orgeron said. "They were throwing some quick slants, getting rid of the ball quick. That quarterback was on fire in the first quarter. I think we were playing a little too far off on those slants."
The Demons started the game with a 40-yard drive, but came up with no points.
Cade York kicked a 26-yard field goal to give LSU a slight lead on the following drive, but LSU wouldn't need him again for the rest of the game.
Northwestern State got on the board late the first quarter when Eppler hit receiver Quan Shorts for a 17-yard touchdown to take a 7-3 lead.
The LSU offense wasted no time getting back on top. A four-yard touchdown run by Clyde Edwards-Helaire to put LSU up 10-7. LSU followed the next drive to extend its lead when Burrow hit sophomore receiver Terrace Marshall for a 14-yard touchdown to make it 17-7.
Northwestern struck again when Eppler hit a wide open David Fitzwater in the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown. The LSU defense finally got into a groove after that, not allowing the Demons to score again in the game, while the offense continued to do its job.
"That second touchdown there was a bust [coverage] no question," Orgeron said. "It went empty. The outside linebacker had to take the wheel route and he didn't."
"We still haven't really had a game this year where the defense is leaving the game happy, proud of what we put on tape," added junior linebacker Jacob Phillips. "Still a lot of mistakes this week. It's still the beginning of the season and we've got a lot of learn and adjust to."
Edward-Helaire had another short touchdown run before halftime. LSU had another chance to score late in the first half, but Burrow threw his second interception of the season to kill the drive.
Orgeron said that at halftime, he and defensive coordinator Dave Aranada decided to go to more man coverage instead of zone, which shut Northwestern down in the second half.
"We tightened up our guys in man coverage," Orgeron said. "It worked. You saw us bring up a little fast. You saw some guys almost get some picks."
LSU scored on all four drives of the third quarter.
LSU opened the second half with 48-yard pass to Justin Jefferson. Burrow scored on the zone read two plays later, running it five yards in to give LSU a 37-14 lead.
Burrow connected with Marshall again on the next drive to go up 43-14 before redshirt sophomore Myles Brennan took over at quarterback.
Orgeron said Burrow did not even want to come out of the game when the Tigers were up 44-14 in the third quarter, but Brennan went 8-of-9 with 115 yards in his time under center.
Both of LSU's highly recruited freshmen running backs John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price scored their first touchdowns of their LSU careers. Davis-Price scored on another touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers capped off the game with a 54-yard punt return for a touchdown by Trey Palmer.
The Tigers improve to 3-0 on the season before heading out to Nashville to start SEC play against Vanderbilt next Saturday.
"I'm proud of our football team, we fought for 60 minutes," Orgeron said. "We had to face some adversity and we did. We needed a game like this."