LSU beats UT-Chattanooga 45-10; looks ahead to Miss. State
BATON ROUGE — Derrius Guice ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns, D.J. Chark returned a punt 65 yards for a score, and No. 12 LSU overcame bouts of sloppiness in a 45-10 victory over Chattanooga on Saturday night.
Danny Etling passed for 227 yards and a TD, connecting on eight of 14 attempts in less than three quarters of work for the Tigers (2-0). Etling's scoring pass was a 36-yarder to Drake Davis, who had only one career catch before that.
Chark had three receptions for 103 yards, including a 48-yard catch from Etling in the third quarter. Chark also had a 79-yard punt return for a would-be TD negated by a holding penalty.
While LSU coach Ed Orgeron is bound to be pleased overall by a two-game start in which the Tigers have outscored opponents 72-10 combined, he also could be concerned about a rash of penalties and place-kicking problems as his team prepares for its first Southeastern Conference game next week.
LSU was penalized 11 times for 74 yards, one week after committing 10 penalties for 86 yards against BYU.
Several early penalties helped Chattanooga (0-2), a member of the NCAA's second-tier Football Championship Subdivision, drive inside the LSU 10 on the game's opening series for an early 3-0 lead.
The Tigers scored the next 42 points — with senior Darrel Williams scoring twice on rushes of 4 and 3 yards. But LSU also had two drives end with missed field goal attempts by two different kickers — Jack Gonsoulin from 40 yards and Connor Culp from 47 yards. Culp did manage to hit from 45 yards out on his second attempt in the fourth quarter.
Nick Tiano completed 15 of 32 passes for 174 yards and was intercepted twice. LSU cornerback Andraez "Greedy" Williams intercepted his second pass in two games. Later, freshman cornerback Kary Vincent Jr. made a diving, one-handed interception of a tipped pass, pulling the ball into his body with his left hand as he crashed to the ground.
LSU's defense also made five sacks — two by freshman edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson — even as last season's sack leader, Arden Key, remained sidelined as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.
The Mocs' scored their lone TD on Darrell Bridges' 16-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Chattanooga: There were moments when the Mocs looked like they belonged, just not enough to remain competitive for four quarters. Still, there were enough plays made to offer Chattanooga hope of emerging as a contender in the Southern Conference.
LSU: The Tigers are clearly loaded with talent both young and experienced, as evidenced by spectacular highlights recorded in all three phases of the game. But execution isn't consistent yet, marred at times by mental errors and penalties that have been so far inconsequential in a pair of lopsided victories. Yet such errors could haunt the Tigers if they cannot eliminate them soon.
Chattanooga: Hosts UT-Martin.
LSU: Opens its Southeastern Conference schedule at Mississippi State.