Late-game heroics against some of the top teams in the country have put LSU back in position to play in the BCS title game. The Tigers, though, probably won’t be challenged much by this week’s opponent.
Coming off another contest decided in the last few minutes, No. 2 LSU gets a break from its difficult SEC schedule Saturday night with a rare matchup against Louisiana Tech.
The Tigers (8-1) moved up a spot in the AP poll after scoring two touchdowns in the final 2:49 of last Saturday’s 41-34 win at then-No. 17 Alabama. The dramatic victory, coupled with Boston College’s 27-17 loss to Florida State later that night, allowed LSU to also move up to No. 2 in the BCS standings.
LSU was the top-ranked team in the nation for two weeks before falling 43-37 in triple overtime at then-No. 17 Kentucky on Oct. 13. The Tigers rebounded from that loss to beat Auburn, ranked 18th at the time, 30-24 at home the following week on Matt Flynn’s 22-yard TD pass to Demetrius Byrd with one second remaining in the game.
Then after a bye week, LSU pulled out the improbable road victory over the Crimson Tide.
“I feel that our team has a very special component and a competitive spirit, and if you had to have a characteristic of a championship team, that is it,” Tigers coach Les Miles said. “We need to correct some mistakes and improve and if we do, this team can be something special. You don’t want to give any gifts and nothing easy. If we do that, our best should be good enough.”
Flynn, who had three first-half interceptions, helped complete the comeback against the Crimson Tide by throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Early Doucet with 2:49 to play. LSU then recovered a fumble and Jacob Hester scored on a one-yard plunge 1:23 later.
Flynn has four picks in the last two games, but has completed 59.0 percent of his passes for 672 yards and six touchdowns over that span.
The senior quarterback has been helped by the outstanding play of Byrd, who had six catches for a career-high 144 yards and a touchdown against Alabama. The junior wide receiver’s four touchdowns tie him with Doucet for the team lead, while his 443 receiving yards are behind only Brandon LaFell’s 455.
LSU averages 37.2 points and 439.8 yards of offense per game, while the defense is ranked second in the nation, allowing 234.7 yards a contest.
The strong defensive play has been evident over the last two games as opponents have been limited to 117 total rushing yards, including only 20 by Alabama.
LSU now faces the Bulldogs (4-5) before heading into the final two games of its SEC schedule. The Tigers visit Mississippi on Nov. 17 before closing out the regular season the following weekend against Arkansas.
Louisiana Tech is trying to win its third straight after scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally for a 28-16 victory at Idaho last Saturday.
“A win is a win,” said Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley, who was an LSU assistant from 2000-04. “Last week we made it look easy, and this week we almost made it look impossible.”
The Bulldogs are led by a strong backfield consisting of junior Patrick Jackson and sophomore Daniel Porter.
Jackson, the Bulldogs’ leader with 755 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, has run for 256 yards and three scores in the last two games. He had 155 yards and a TD last Saturday.
Porter, second on the team with 577 rushing yards and six touchdowns, ran for 129 yards and two scores in a 31-21 victory at Utah State on Oct. 27.
LSU is 16-1 against Louisiana Tech, including a 49-10 victory on Nov. 1, 2003 in the last meeting, which was the first between the teams since 1941.