LSU stiffles Vanderbilt, 23-9

Larry Smith (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

BATON ROUGE-- The weather and a strong LSU Tigers defense muddied Vanderbilt's SEC opener. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson completed 20 of 29 passes for 138 yards and the Tiger defense limited Vanderbilt to just 210 total yards of offense as the Commodores fell in Death Valley, 23-9.

LSU took a 7-0 lead with 2:12 remaining in the first quarter when running back Keiland Williams bulled for a 6-yard touchdown. That drive took the Tigers nine plays and 69 yards in just 3:22.

After a Vanderbilt three and out drive, the Tigers put together another scoring drive, this time a 10-play, 42-yard drive. Tiger kicker Josh Jasper booted a 32-yard field goal to give the home team a 10-0 lead with 10:22 remaining in the half. Jasper would go on to make three field goals on the night.

Vanderbilt managed their only scoring drive of the game late in the second quarter when Larry Smith ran for the end zone, fumbled the ball and then picked it up as he sprinted into the end zone. The drive consumed 80 yards in 12 plays and accounted for a good portion of Vandy's 210 yards of total offense.

Jasper added a 22-yard field goal late in the first half and a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter to put the Tigers seemingly in command, 16-7. However, Vanderbilt would threaten early in the fourth quarter but failed to convert on an excellent opportunity.

After scoring a safety when a high snap went over the head of the Tiger punter and into the end zone Vanderbilt took the free kick at their own 39 and drove to the LSU 23. However, a well-thrown pass from Smith to Alex Washington was mishandled and then intercepted by the Tiger's Brandon Taylor. Vandy would never threaten again.

Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson expressed frustration with the low production of the Commodore offense, which was a trademark of the 2008 season, "It is always disappointing to do that, but it was our execution problems. I didn't think it was a scheme problem that we had. We have to catch the ball better. We dropped and fumbled first downs, and the ball went through our hands for an interception."

The Tigers later added an insurance touchdown when Williams scored his second touchdown of the day on a 14-yard run.

Vanderbilt, 1-1 (0-1 SEC), will next host Mississippi State on Saturday. The Bulldogs fell at Auburn, 49-24, on Saturday night.

NOTES

Vanderbilt offensive tackle James Williams suffered a serious injury to his ankle, likely ending his season.

John Cole caught his first two passes of his career during the game.

Freshman running back Zac Stacy finished with 89 yards in 20 carries. Stacy now has 225 yards rushing on the season. Fellow freshman and roommate Warren Norman did not get a carry but did return three kickoffs.

Vanderbilt now trails the overall series 7-21-1 and 2-11-1 in Baton Rouge.

Defensive tackle T.J. Greenstone started in place of Greg Billinger.

A steady rain led to slippery conditions on the field and caused many of the crowd of 90,000 to head for the exits early.

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