No. 10 LSU shuts out ULM, 31-0
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) LSU's Darrel Williams didn't remotely generate the recruiting hype of fellow freshman running back Leonard Fournette.
For now, though, Williams is producing more points for the 10th-ranked Tigers.
Williams ran for two touchdowns, Fournette added a score of his own, and LSU posted its second-straight shutout, 31-0 over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night.
''Leonard's going to get publicity regardless,'' LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings said. ''Darrel is doing a great job. Leonard obviously is doing a great job, too. But I think those guys, as a tandem in the backfield, they're going to be unstoppable.''
ULM (2-1) kept the game close for one half, but the Warhawks' defense eventually wore down while their offense managed just 93 total yards and six first downs against a Tigers defense that has been in suffocating form since the second half of their season-opening comeback victory over Wisconsin.
LSU, which beat Sam Houston State 56-0 a week earlier, has not allowed a point since yielding a touchdown early in the third quarter against the Badgers in posting consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1985.
''As a defense we take a tremendous amount of pride in shutting two teams out regardless of who the opponent is,'' LSU linebacker Deion Jones said.
While the Tigers only got credit for one sack against ULM - by defensive end Jermauria Rasco - they forced numerous rushed and errant throws by Warhawks quarterback Pete Thomas, who finished 16 of 30 for 77 yards - just one week after he'd passed for 384 yards and two scores against Idaho.
''Man did we cover well tonight,'' LSU coach Les Miles said. ''Even in short throws we were covering well. I think the defense is playing dominant football.''
ULM coach Todd Berry credited LSU's defensive play but was also critical of his offense.
''Offensively, we were just bad,'' Berry said. ''We just got our tails whipped on everything. We couldn't get open. We couldn't block anybody. ... That was an embarrassment.''
Williams scored the Tigers' first two touchdowns, first on a tackle-breaking, 22-yard run, then on a 1-yard score early in the third quarter. On both plays, he was lined up as a fullback.
Fournette scored from 24 yards out, but dispensed with the Heisman Trophy-like pose he struck after his first TD last week, instead tossing the ball to officials and finding teammates with which to celebrate. Kenny Hilliard added a short scoring run for LSU (3-0) early in the fourth quarter, giving him three TDs in as many games.
With the Tigers' Southeastern Conference opener against Mississippi State coming up next weekend, Miles said he'll be comfortable putting any of four running backs in the game, with senior Terrence Magee being the other.
Of LSU's two freshmen running backs, Miles said, ''They are going to be ready to play ball in the big games. ... They are going to run with strength and confidence.''
''Both guys are really good,'' he said. ''Leonard is a little faster than Darrel. Darrel may be a little more powerful in the upper body, but both guys can really go get the job done for us.''
Jennings was 11 of 18 for 139 yards and was intercepted for the first time this season late in the first half. As usual, he had his most success throwing to Travin Dural. The pair hooked up for a 32-yard gain that set up Williams' short TD.
Dural played less than a week after a car accident that forced him to miss a couple practices with stitches in his forehead. He finished with six catches for 79 yards, but was held out of the end zone for the first time this season.
LSU's defense allowed only 44 yards in the opening half, when ULM managed only two first downs on offensive plays and crossed midfield only once.
That took pressure off of a Tigers' offense that was a little slow to get going against the Warhawks, whose defense is loaded with experience and gave little ground early on.
The Tigers needed three possessions just to take a 3-0 lead on Colby Dellahoussaye's 21-yard field goal. LSU went up 10-0 early in the second quarter when Williams bounced off tacklers at the line of scrimmage and broke into the open for his 22-yard score.
LSU wound up with 202 total yards in the opening half, but one scoring chance evaporated when ULM's Mitch Lane made a diving interception on the Warhawks 14, keeping the Warhawks within 10 points at halftime. Lane finished with a team-high 14 tackles.