(AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

No. 6 LSU beats back La Tech upset bid, 38-21

By BRETT MARTEL , AP Sports Writer

September 22, 2018 - 9:05 pm
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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Nick Brossette scored three touchdowns, Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for a career-high 136 yards and two TDs, and No. 6 LSU beat Louisiana Tech 38-21 on Saturday night in a game infused with far more tension than expected.

The Tigers (4-0) were favored by about three touchdowns and raced to a 24-0 lead, only to see the Bulldogs (2-1) pull as close as 24-21 on J'Mar Smith's 42-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Hardy early in the fourth quarter.

"There was a letdown in the second half," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said, comparing his team to an overconfident fighter who drops his hands and then gets "hit in the face."

"They had a great game-plan. We couldn't stop them. They kept us off balance," Orgeron said. "We won the game, but it wasn't good enough. Obviously, we're not happy."

Yet, when the game got tight, LSU immediately responded with a touchdown drive of its own. It was highlighted by Joe Burrow's 28-yard timing pass down the right sideline to Dee Anderson, who narrowly stayed in bounds as he made the catch in tight coverage. The Tigers also benefited from a pass interference penalty in the end zone before Brossette's 2-yard run gave LSU a two-score lead again.

Edwards-Helaire scored his second touchdown on LSU's next possession late in the game.

"We have two backs that are pretty good backs," Orgeron said. "That's what it takes in the SEC."

Burrow was 16 of 28 for 191 yards. He still has not thrown an interception this season but did lose his first fumble late in the first half on a sack by Jaylon Ferguson.

That turnover did not lead directly to opponent points, however, unlike two Louisiana Tech turnovers in the first half that set up LSU touchdowns.

Smith completed 27 of 50 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns, including a 20-yard strike to Hardy in the first half and a short fourth-down pass to Bobby Holly in the third quarter. Hardy caught 10 passes in all for 181 yards.

Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said he was "so proud" of how his team competed, yet "so frustrated to be as close as we were and let it slip away at the end."

The Tigers "did the things they needed to do to win the game. They're a very talented football team," Holtz added. "I'll second-guess myself on a lot of things that we did. ... We've got to learn from it. We've got to grow from it."

Brossette finished with 78 yards on 23 carries. His second TD came after defensive back Christian Fulton stripped Hardy and linebacker Devin White scooped the fumble and returned it 29 yards to the Tech 3.

Later in the half, senior safety Ed Paris made his first career interception on a pass initially tipped by White, as well as some other players.

On the next play, Edwards-Helaire broke loose along the left sideline for a 28-yard touchdown.

THE TAKEAWAY

Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs had its share of offensive highlights on offense, while the Bulldogs defense forced five punts — as well as the Tigers' first turnover of the season — to keep themselves in the game. A respectable performance in Death Valley should infuse the squad with confidence heading into its Conference USA slate.

LSU: The Tigers were resting some key players including left tackle Saahdiq Charles and later lost left guard Garrett Brumfield to an apparent leg injury. Changes on the offensive line appeared to disrupt some of the Tigers' flow and often left Burrow throwing under pressure. But when LSU needed to make plays to put the game away, it did. Meanwhile, LSU's defense now has nine takeaways this season.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Although Oklahoma needed overtime to beat Army, none of the top five lost, so LSU is likely to hold steady unless voters decide the victory over Tech wasn't convincing enough.

INURIES

Brumfield appeared to have a leg injury late in the first quarter. He needed help limping to the sideline and did not return to the game.

UP NEXT

Louisiana Tech visits North Texas on Saturday night to open Conference USA play.

LSU hosts Mississippi on Saturday night.

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