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No. 3 LSU makes early impression with lopsided win

Associated Press Modified: September 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm •  Published: September 9, 2012

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — After watching LSU run roughshod over his Huskies for a more than five-touchdown victory, Washington coach Steve Sarkisian lamented that the "complexion" of the game could have been different if not for his team missing some early opportunities.

Meanwhile, LSU's Les Miles was outside the home locker room, lamenting a handful of dropped passes — one in the end zone — and dropped interceptions that prevented the third-ranked Tigers from dominating even more than they did in a 41-3 triumph.

After seemingly going through the motions in a season-opening 41-14 win over North Texas in its opener a week earlier, LSU demonstrated against Washington how large of a gap there is between their squad and an average team in another major conference such as the Pac-12.

This was apparent even as dismissed 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu sat in the stands for the first home game since he returned to LSU exclusively as a student. He saw his replacement at cornerback, true freshman Jalen Mills, step in front of a fourth-down pass by Huskies quarterback Keith Price for his first career interception.

"We probably could have had more picks and forced more turnovers if our guys would have just decided to handle the ball a little bit better," Miles said. "There were some balls that went through our hands."

On both sides of the ball.

Quarterback Zach Mettenberger responded from an inconsistent debut as a starter against the Mean Green by putting all but perhaps two of the 18 passes he attempted right where he wanted. Normally sure-handed Odell Beckham Jr. dropped two, if not three catches he would usually make.

James Wright had a quick screen pass bounce off his hands. LSU settled for a field goal on one drive late in the second quarter after Russell Shepard had a pass bounce off his chest in the end zone.

Then there was Spencer Ware's on-the-money halfback pass dropped by Jarvis Landry, who was wide open behind the defense and could have scored.

Still, Mettenberger completed 12 passes for 195 yards, including a 32-yard TD to Kadron Boone, and was not intercepted.

"If you take the number of drops out of the equation and you look at the quarterback play, he was on the money," Miles said. "We ran the football when we needed to and threw it when we needed to."

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