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Monday, April 21, 2014

Merciful LSU is a team on a mission

COLUMN: The LSU Tigers are on a roll and right now it doesn’t appear anyone will stop them.

Not a dominant Alabama team. Not a ragtag group of Rebels. And not an Arkansas squad that hung 44 points on the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday.

“I really think that this team realizes the path that it’s on,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “I think our football team recognizes we control our destiny and the things we need to do we’re going to do. I never brought up the example of any other team to be honest.”

Two days ago the Tigers could have named their score.

That was quite apparent, not only when LSU scored seconds into the game on a pick-six, but when Miles called for third-string quarterback Zach Mettenberger to begin kneeing out the clock.

While that normally wouldn’t mean much, the Tigers, in this instance, were at Ole Miss’ 1-yard line with more than five minutes remaining in the 52-3 massacre.

“I have never seen that,” one legendary scribe said on the sideline about the time Mettenberger took his second knee and flipped the ball to the official. “Ever.”

Even an area priest joked during Sunday’s service that he was overwhelmed by the faith LSU showed with the amount of genuflection Mettenberger did in the fourth.

“It’s unfortunate to have a coach have to end a homestand in a fashion like today,” Miles said of the end of Houston Nutt’s tenure.

Miles later elaborated.

“I didn’t want to take a 5-yard penalty, so I called a timeout. Then at that point in time I realized I didn’t want to score, either. So I told them to kneel on it and used the clock,” Miles said. “Victory was assured, there was no reason to take snaps at that point.”

The Tigers scored almost at will against Ole Miss and by the time the first quarter was over, the nation’s top team had scored 21 points.

“We always want to take their will away from the first snap,” said LSU running back Michael Ford, who rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown on five carries.

Mission accomplished.

Home or away the Tigers have been able to flex their collective muscle and come away victorious.

“It’s interesting, they set a precedent on how they would play on the road. It started in Dallas (against Oregon) and they have not regressed in any way and understand what they need to do, they play in tight quarters,” Miles said. “Opponents’ stadiums seem to bring it out of them. I can tell you from West Virginia to Alabama, this is a football team that is not going to be dismayed by a stadium that’s a little loud and aggressive.”

Next up for the Tigers is a showdown against No. 3 Arkansas on Friday, and, if everything plays out as expected, a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship and an eventual re-match against No. 2 Alabama for the BCS National Championship. (November 21, 2011, Page 1B)

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