No. 3 LSU hosts Idaho team with 'nothing to lose'
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Despite Idaho coach Robb Akey's enthusiasm about the chance to take his team into LSU's Tiger Stadium, he isn't under any illusions about how tough it could get on the field.
The moment he started breaking down game video of the third-ranked Tigers (2-0) earlier this week, he knew what he and the Vandals (0-2) would be in for on Saturday night.
"Watching LSU, those guys fly around. They're big. They're fast. They're strong. And I went home and slept like a baby — I woke up every hour and I cried," Akey said, grinning and then apologizing if he offended any babies. "They're damn good. But what an opportunity and what a great venue that we're going to play in."
For LSU, a 41-14 victory over North Texas came off as a disappointment because of some sloppy play.
The Tigers responded by pounding Washington of the Pac-12 last week, 41-3, and it could have been more lopsided if not for LSU fumbling a kickoff return and dropping a handful of passes, including two that should have been touchdowns.
Now LSU is a six-touchdown favorite against Idaho as the Tigers, winners of 19 straight at home, seek an NCAA FBS record 40th consecutive regular season non-conference victory.
Regardless of how heavily his team is favored, LSU coach Les Miles said the Tigers must demonstrate continued improvement before its Southeastern Conference opener a week from Saturday at Auburn.
Although Miles was pleased with first-year starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger's accuracy last week, he said he would like for the passing game to be a little better than the numbers it put up against Washington: 12 of 18 for 195 yards and one TD.
"A part of that is to not mishandle well-thrown balls," Miles said of his receivers, adding that he had not forgotten about Odell Beckham Jr.'s fumbled kickoff return, either. "Consistency has to take place in our special teams. We'll have return men, and we'll work hard in making sure we understand ball security in that game as well."
As for his defense and running game, Miles had few complaints this week, saying only that doesn't want to see any drop-off in intensity.
Defensive ends Lavar Edwards, Sam Montgomery and Chancey Aghayere each has sacks last week, as did safety Micah Eugene on a blitz. Freshman Jalen Mills, starting at the cornerback spot vacated by dismissed star Tyrann Mathieu, had an interception.