LSU pitched its first shutout since 2010, against an overmatched Sam Houston State team en route to a 56-0 win in the Tigers’ first game inside the newly expanded Tiger Stadium.
Aside from some untimely penalties, the defense clicked on all cylinders against its Football Championship Subdivision foe.
“Any time you come out and you put on that type of defensive performance, it’s a big deal,” said sophomore cornerback Tre’Davious White. “It was the first time it has happened in a while so it’s a great accomplishment for the defense.”
The No. 10 Tigers (2-0, 0-0) were able to get immense pressure on Sam Houston State sophomore quarterbacks Jared Johnson and Don King III, amassing seven sacks against the Bearkats.
“We knew they were a big passing team, and we wanted to get some pressure on the quarterback. We wanted to see how he reacts on his feet, and we wound up getting pressure on him, so he couldn’t make big passes,” said junior linebacker Deion Jones, who got a spike in play time after an injury to fellow junior Kwon Alexander.
LSU’s front seven showed improvements from the Tigers’ win against Wisconsin, holding the Bearkats to 50 yards rushing on 36 carries.
Johnson came into the game having thrown for 703 yards and five touchdowns in the first two contests in the 2014 season. Against the Tigers, he went 8-for-25 for 142 yards and two interceptions.
“We tried to keep him under 100 yards,” said sophomore cornerback Dwayne Thomas. “It’s hard for the secondary against a passing team, but we did a great job tonight as a whole.”
On the first drive of the game the Bearkat coaching staff called a flea-flicker that failed to trick the experienced Tiger secondary, leading to an interception by Thomas.
“I wanted to make a play for my team,” Thomas said. “Everybody was saying we don’t want to give up any deep balls. We are trying to hold that standard of DBU [Defensive Back University].”
In the third quarter, the Tigers showed their composure with their backs against the wall, as Sam Houston’s offense was knocking on the door only five yards away from the endzone. On a 2nd and goal play, sophomore safety Rickey Jefferson intercepted the ball and returned it 18 yards.
LSU played predominantly man coverage against the Sam Houston receivers with seven men in the box to stop the run. The Bearkat receivers had a tough time separating from the Tigers secondary, led by White, a Preseason Second Team All-Southeastern Conference selection.
“It’s a thing that has been around this defense for years,” White said. “[Defensive coordinator John Chavis] likes bump-and-run corners. That’s the technique that we try to run every week. We will challenge any receiver.”
The blowout victory allowed the Tigers to parcel out playing time to the younger generation of defensive backs, with true freshmen Jamal Adams, Ed Paris, Devin Voorhies and John Battle receiving significant play time.
Even after a strong performance, White said the defense will be forced to improve throughout the season.
“When you have Coach Chavis as your defensive coordinator, you know he’s going to challenge you each and every week to come out and play Tiger defense,” White said.