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October 26, 2013
LSU-Furman pre-game notebook
A FBS-record winning streak will be on the line when LSU plays host to Furman on Saturday night. The Tigers have won 44 consecutive non-conference games since losing at Virginia Tech in the 2002 season-opener.
Saturday's game will be the ninth in a row for LSU - its longest stretch without an open date in eight years. Due to a schedule change with Hurricane Katrina, the Tigers played 11 straight weeks in 2005. LSU won nine of those 11 games.
For the second time this season, the Tigers will be playing a week after a loss. LSU beat Mississippi State after losing at Georgia. Under coach Les Miles, the Tigers have a 21-1 record following a defeat. LSU's lone back-to-back setbacks occurred in 2008 - against Ole Miss and Arkansas.
With Miles as coach, the Tigers have a 39-2 record against teams from outside the Southeastern Conference. The two losses came in bowl games - against Penn State in the Capital One Bowl following the 2009 season and against Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl last year.
LSU football gameday feature, "Selfless Tigers".
LSU has won all eight of its previous games against FCS opponents with five of those victories coming while Miles has been coach. Last year, the Tigers defeated Towson 38-22. That 16-point margin of victory has been the smallest against a FCS team.
Saturday's game will be homecoming for LSU, which has a 12-game winning streak in such contests. The last time the Tigers lost a homecoming game was 2000 when they were beaten by UAB 13-10. Furman will be LSU's first FCS opponent for homecoming. Overall, the Tigers are 59-24-3 in homecoming games.
LSU leads the SEC in third-down conversions (56.5 percent). Only Louisville has a higher rate on third-down conversions at 63.6 percent. The Tigers are the only SEC team without a missed field goal or extra point. Colby Delahoussaye is 9-of-9 on field goals and 41-of-41 on extra points.
Only Oregon State (54) and Texas A&M (45) have more than LSU's 44 passing plays of at least 20 yards. Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion (53) is the only quarterback with more 20-plus yard passing plays than Zach Mettenberger (44).
The Tigers are in the bottom half of the SEC in rushing (10th), rushing defense (8th), total offense (8th) interceptions (9th), punting (9th), kickoff coverage (13th), first downs allowed (12th), sacks allowed (8th), third down conversions allowed (8th), turnover (9th), penalties (11th) and possession time (9th).
Mettenberger is second in the SEC in passing yards (2,164) and pass efficiency (173.7). He trails Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel in both categories. Jarvis Landry (53) is second to Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews (58) in receptions. Delahoussaye (68) is second to Missouri's Andrew Baggett (70) in scoring.
Redshirt year helps LSU's Thomas and Hawkins.
Mettenberger needs just 336 yards to become the first LSU quarterback to throw for at least 2,500 yards in consecutive seasons. A year ago, Mettenberger threw for 2,609 yards. Mettenberger needs three touchdown passes to have the sixth most in a single season for the Tigers.
Mettenberger has 16 scoring passes this year. He would pass five quarterbacks on the single season list with three touchdown passes. Three scoring passes would move Mettenberger into a seventh-place tie with Jarrett Lee on the school's career rankings. Lee had 32 career touchdown passes.
Landry has been a clutch receiver. He is second in the country with 312 receiving yards on third down. Landry leads the nation with ten catches of at least 15 yards and six catches of at least 25 yards on third down. He is also No. 1 in the country with third-down scoring receptions with five.
With his next touchdown catch, Landry would tie Dwayne Bowe (2005), Eddie Fuller (1989) and Tony Moss (1989) for the eighth most in a season. Those three players each caught nine touchdown passes. Bowe has the school record with 12 scoring catches in 2006.
Odell Beckham leads the conference in all-purpose yards (1,649). Beckham (805) is second to Texas AM's Mike Evans (1,024) in receiving yards. Beckham (11.9) is also second to Alabama's Christion Jones (12.5) in punt return average.
Both Beckham and Landry are in the top eight in the country in pass receiving yards. Beckham is sixth with his 805 yards, while Landry is eighth with 795 yards. Oregon State's Brandin Cooks is the national leader with 1,176 receiving yards.
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Beckham needs 118 all-purpose yards to surpass Charles Alexander for the fifth highest total in a single season for a LSU player. Alexander had 1,766 all-purpose yards in 1977. Beckham needs three kickoff return yards to move past Domanick Davis for the second most in a season. Davis had 618 yards in 1999.
There are 14 players who have started every game - Beckham, Dillon Gordon, La'El Collins, Vadal Alexander, Elliott Porter, Trai Turner, Jerald Hawkins, Mettenberger, Jermauria Rasco, Anthony Johnson, Ego Ferguson, Lamin Barrow, D.J. Welter and Jalen Mills. Only Mettenberger and Barrow are seniors.
Porter continues to lead the offensive linemen in knockdown blocks with 37 - two more than Collins. Alexander has 33 knockdown blocks. Turner had eight of his season total of 27 last week against Ole Miss. Hawkins, who has 21 knockdowns, had just one against the Rebels.
According to Furman, it will receive $500,000 for Saturday's game. The Paladins have played two other games Louisiana schools - losing to Louisiana-Lafayette 27-16 in 1976 and beating Nicholls State 14-12 in a first-round FCS playoff game in 2005.
Furman has lost seven straight games to SEC teams with its last victory coming against Vanderbilt 50 years ago. The last time the Paladins beat a current member of the SEC was 1982 when they knocked off South Carolina 28-23. The Gamecocks were not in the SEC at that time.
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Furman head coach Bruce Fowler was an assistant coach at Vanderbilt from 2002-10. He was the Commodores' defensive coordinator when they were beaten by the Tigers in 2004-05 and 2009-10.
The Paladins have a 5-23-1 record against FBS teams since that division was created in 1982. Since 1987, Furman has lost 20 of 21 games to FBS schools with its lone victory coming against North Carolina in 1999. Seven of those defeats came to nationally-ranked FBS teams.
Five of the Paladins' first seven games have been decided by seven points or less. Furman defeated Presbyterian 21-20 and The Citadel 24-17. The Paladins were beaten by Gardner-Webb 28-21, Coastal Carolina 35-28 and Elon 28-25. Furman is 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the Southern Conference.
Furman leads the Southern Conference in rushing defense (154.4 yards) and red-zone defense. Furman is second in total defense (356.0 yards).
Gary Robinson, Furman's leading receiver, fractured an ankle in the victory against Appalachian State last week. Robinson, who has caught 24 passes, will be replaced in the starting lineup by Andrej Suttles, who has 22 receptions.
After missing two games with injuries, quarterback Reese Hannon returned to the starting lineup against Appalachian State. He completed 13 of 19 passes for 164 yards and one touchdown. The Paladins have used five quarterbacks, including three different starters, this season.
LSU defensive players have different reasons for collapse
Scott Smouse, the Paladins' offensive line coach, was a graduate assistant on coach Nick Saban's staff at LSU in 2003-04. Tigers soccer coach Brian Lee is a 1993 graduate of Furman.
The LSU-Furman game will be televised on TigerVision. The broadcasting crew will be Doug Greengard (play-by-play) and Rene Nadeau (analyst). This game will be the final one televised on TigerVision. There will be no pay-per-view broadcasts next season with the start of the SEC Network.
Team statistical comparison
LSU points per game: 39.2
Furman opponents per game: 24.1
LSU rushing yards per game: 184.1
Furman opponents rushing yards per game: 154.4
LSU passing yards per game: 271.9
Furman opponents passing yards per game: 201.6
LSU pass completion percentage: 65
Furman opponents pass completion percentage: 72
LSU turnovers: 11
Furman opponents turnovers: 14
LSU sacks allowed: 14
Furman sacks: 10
LSU red-zone touchdown percentage: 69 (27-of-39)
Furman opponents red-zone touchdown percentage: 57 (16-of-28)
Furman points per game: 22.1
LSU opponents points per game: 22.6
Furman rushing yards per game: 150.7
LSU opponents rushing yards per game: 155.5
Furman passing yards per game: 153.4
LSU opponents passing yards per game: 215.4
Furman pass completion percentage: 59
LSU opponents pass completion percentage: 58
Furman turnovers: 10
LSU opponents turnovers: 11
Furman sacks allowed: 16
LSU sacks: 17
Furman red-zone touchdown percentage: 61 (11-of-18)
LSU opponents red-zone touchdown percentage: 46 (12-of-26)
Individual statistical leaders
LSU: Jeremy Hill - 114 carries, 779 yards, 10 touchdowns
Furman: Hank McCloud - 115 carries, 604 yards, 4 touchdowns
LSU: Zach Mettenberger - 207 attempts, 135 completions, 2,164 yards, 16 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
Furman: Reese Hannon - 87 attempts, 53 completions, 573 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception
LSU: Jarvis Landry - 53 catches, 795 yards, 8 touchdowns
Furman: Gary Robinson - 24 catches, 351 yards, 2 touchdowns (injured - out for the season)
LSU: LB Lamin Barrow - 57
Furman: LB Carl Rider - 73
LSU: CB Jalen Mills - 3
Furman: DE Gary Wilkins - 3½
LSU: CB Jalen Mills - 2
Furman: CB Jairus Holman, S Marcus McMorris, CB Reggie Thomas, DE Gary Wilkins, CB Austin Williams - 1
LSU: Jamie Keehn - 25 punts, 38.9-yard average
Furman: Ray Early - 31 punts, 44.6-yard average
LSU: Colby Delahoussaye - 9-of-9 on FG, 41-of-41 on XP
Furman: Ray Early - 7-of-11 on FG, 18-of-18 on XP
LSU: Odell Beckham - 25 kickoff returns, 616 yards; 8 punt returns, 95 yards
Furman: Hank McCloud - 14 kickoff returns, 329 yards