By Chucky Colin
Baton Rouge – After giving up the most yards allowed during Les Miles’ tenure as head coach in its last outing, the LSU Tigers defense played much better Saturday night against the New Mexico State Aggies.
The Tigers only surrendered seven points, while giving up a total of 274 yards.
They forced four turnovers, with the biggest being a 29-yard interception returned for a touchdown by linebacker Kendell Beckwith late in the first quarter. It was the 14th defensive touchdown for the Tigers under defensive coordinator John Chavis.
“We left a lot of doubt out there last week, we really wanted to come in and play dominate LSU defense all night,” Beckwith said.
The defense set the tone early as Tre’Davious White intercepted the Aggies starting quarterback, sophomore Tyler Rodgers, on the opening drive.
“Everybody had a sour taste in their mouth after last week and we just wanted to execute,” White said.
Despite LSU committing four turnovers in the first quarter, the Aggies were held scoreless during that time.
The Tiger defense was able to force three and outs on two of the four turnovers which helped to minimize the damage.
The only defensive breakdown came in the second quarter as Aggies backup quarterback, Andrew Allen, ran for a 79-yard touchdown, but by that time it was too little, too late as the Tigers had already built a 28-point lead.
The second half consisted of much of the same as the Tigers’ defense forced a turnover on the Aggies’ opening drive. From that point on the defense stifled the Aggies while LSU scored touchdowns on each of its third quarter possessions.
The Tigers held the Aggies to 102 total passing yards and 13 first downs, while allowing only 4 of 17 third down conversions.
Head coach Les Miles believes that this effort is one that the Tigers can build on going forward.
“I felt like we played defense like we’re supposed to, minus one play, and we’re improved and looking forward to resuming conference play,” Miles said.
The Tigers will need similar success against the spread offense next week as they travel to play their SEC West rival, the Auburn Tigers.