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September 29, 2012

LSU-Towson pregame notebook

LSU will attempt to continue its dominance in Tiger Stadium against Towson. LSU has won a school-record 20 consecutive games at home. Moreover, the last nine victories have been by at least ten points. The Tigers' last home defeat came against Florida in 2009.

Over the past ten seasons, LSU has built a comfortable 9-game lead over every other Southeastern Conference school. Beginning with the 2003 season, the Tigers have a 101-22 record (.821 winning percentage). Florida is next at 91-31 (.746 winning percentage).

By defeating Auburn, LSU has a 4-0 record for the sixth straight year - the longest such streak in school history. With a victory against Towson, the Tigers would have a 5-0 record for the fourth consecutive season.

LSU has won 36 consecutive non-conference games in Tiger Stadium. The last non-SEC team to beat LSU in Baton Rouge was UAB in 2000, the first year Nick Saban was Tigers coach. Overall, LSU has won 40 straight regular-season games against non-SEC teams - a record for FBS schools.

The Tigers will play their final September game of the year Saturday. LSU has won its last 25 games played in September. The Tigers, who are third in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls, have been ranked in the top ten in both polls for the past 22 weeks.

Towson will be the eighth FCS opponent for LSU in school history. The Tigers won all seven previous games. The closest of the seven games was LSU's 32-10 victory against McNeese State two seasons ago.

The Tigers lead the SEC in rushing defense (56.8 yards per game), first downs allowed (11.0 first downs per game) and fourth-down defense (20 percent conversion).

LSU is ranked in the top ten nationally in five categories - rushing defense (third/56.8 yards per game), total defense (fourth/199.5 yards per game), scoring defense (eighth/10.3 points per game), pass defense (eighth/142.8 yards per game) and pass efficiency defense (eighth/92.3 rating).

Drew Alleman fell into second place in SEC kick-scoring. He has 35 points, three fewer than Florida's Caleb Sturgis. Alleman missed a 34-yard field goal attempt against Auburn. Alleman is one of seven SEC kickers who have yet to miss an extra point. Alleman is 20-of-20 on conversion attempts.

Sam Montgomery is coming close to being among LSU's top ten players in both career tackles-for-loss and sacks. Montgomery needs 2 tackles-for-loss to tie Rydell Malancon and four sacks to tie Anthony McFarland for tenth place in both categories. Montgomery has 25 tackles-for-loss, including 13 sacks.

Towson has played just five other games against FBS schools, including a 41-21 loss at Kent State earlier this month. Towson has lost all five games - three against BCS conference opponents (Northwestern in 2009, Indiana in 2010 and Maryland in 2011).

Towson is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. CAA teams won six games against FBS teams in the past three years. Four victories came against BCS conference teams - Richmond over Duke in 2009 and 2011, William & Mary over Virginia in 2009 and James Madison over Virginia Tech in 2010.

Towson is the favorite to win the CAA this season. Towson opened conference play with a 20-17 victory against William & Mary two weeks ago. Towson defeated St. Francis 46-17 last weekend.

Rob Ambrose won the Eddie Robinson Award as the FCS Coach of the Year in 2011. Towson went from one victory in 2010 to nine victories in 2011. Towson was the most improved team among FCS schools. The nine victories were the most for Towson since it had a 9-4 record as a Division II team in 1984.

Running back Terrance West has rushed for 1,545 yards and 34 touchdowns in 15 career games. With his three touchdowns last week against St. Francis, West set the school record for rushing touchdowns in a career.

Quarterback Grant Enders has won 11 of his 14 starts. In his career, Enders has completed 69 percent of his passes for 2,691 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Last year, Enders led the CAA in pass efficiency (153.7). His rating after three games in 2012 is 152.0.

Towson has 13 transfers from BCS programs on its roster. There are two transfers from SEC schools - junior cornerback Jordan Love from Georgia and redshirt freshman cornerback Ben Harvey from South Carolina. Love has seven tackles and one pass breakup, while Harvey has two tackles.

Towson had a plus-eight turnover ratio last season with 17 turnovers and 25 takeaways. However, Towson is minus-seven in the first three games of 2012 with eight turnovers and one takeaway.

There is a connection between the New Orleans Saints and Towson. Starting offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod was a four-year starter at Towson (2003-06). He was drafted in the fourth round by the Saints. Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt was a linebacker at Towson from 1974-77.

Towson will perform before the largest crowd in its history Saturday. The largest paid attendance for a Towson football game is 35,573 - at Maryland last season. Towson has been played in two other games with more than 30,000 paid attendance - at Indiana in 2010 and at Navy in 2008.

The ESPNU broadcast crew for Saturday's game consists of Clay Matvick (play-by-play), Matt Stinchcomb (analyst) and Allison Williams (sideline reporter).


TEAM STATISTICS

LSU rushing yards per game: 247.5
Towson opponents rushing yards per game: 145.7

LSU passing yards per game: 194.5
Towson opponents passing yards per game: 107.0

LSU completion percentage: 66.3
Towson opponents completion percentage: 50.9

LSU points per game: 39.2
Towson opponents points per game: 25.0

LSU third-down conversion percentage: 44.4
Towson opponents third-down conversion percentage: 29.4

LSU fourth-down conversion percentage: 0.0
Towson opponents fourth-down conversion percentage: 28.6

LSU sacks allowed: 7
Towson opponents sacks allowed: 9

LSU turnovers: 5
Towson opponents turnovers: 1

LSU opponents rushing yards per game: 56.8
Towson rushing yards per game: 196.3

LSU opponents passing yards per game: 142.8
Towson passing yards per game: 201.7

LSU opponents completion percentage: 53.0
Towson completion percentage: 74.7

LSU opponents points per game: 10.2
Towson points per game: 29.0

LSU opponents third-down conversion percentage: 24.6
Towson third-down conversion percentage: 54.3

LSU opponents fourth-down conversion percentage: 20.0
Towson fourth-down conversion percentage: 50.0

LSU opponents sacks allowed: 8
Towson sacks allowed: 6

LSU opponents turnovers: 10
Towson turnovers: 8


INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

LSU top rusher: Kenny Hilliard - 47 carries, 343 yards, 6 touchdowns
Towson top rusher: Terrance West - 49 carries, 251 yards, 5 touchdowns

LSU top passer: Zach Mettenberger - 93 attempts, 63 completions, 778 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Towson top passer: Grant Enders - 75 attempts, 56 completions, 605 yards, 4 touchdowns, 3 interceptions

LSU top receiver: Jarvis Landry - 17 catches, 160 yards, 1 touchdown
Towson top receiver: Erron Banks - 13 catches, 150 yards, 1 touchdown

LSU top kick returner: Odell Beckham - 11 punt returns, 105 yards, 1 touchdown; 3 kickoff returns, 80 yards
Towson top kick returner: Derrick Joseph - 7 kickoff returns, 243 yards, 1 touchdown

LSU top kick-scorer: Drew Alleman - 5-of-7 on field goals; 20-of-20 on extra points
Towson top kick-scorer: D.J. Soven - 3-of-3 on field goals; 10-of-10 on extra points

LSU top punter: Brad Wing - 16 punts, 45.4-yard average
Towson top punter: R.J. Peppers - 7 punts, 39.3-yard average

LSU tackles leader: Kevin Minter - 25 tackles
Towson tackles leader: Jordan Dangerfield - 20 tackles

LSU interceptions leader: Ronald Martin - 2 interceptions; Jalen Mills - 2 interceptions
Towson interceptions leader: None

LSU sacks leader: Micah Eugene - 3 sacks
Towson sacks leader: Romale Tucker - 3 sacks



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