BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Zach Mettenberger and the LSU offense are still searching for consistency as the Tigers enter one of the toughest stretches on their schedule.
Mettenberger connected with Odell Beckham Jr. five times for 128 yards and two touchdowns, but No. 3 LSU was unable to eliminate nagging offensive sloppiness in a 38-22 victory over overmatched but feisty Towson on Saturday night.
Mettenberger’s scoring strikes to Beckham went for 53 and 27 yards, and LSU’s quarterback finished 15-of-26 for 238 yards passing. Still, Mettenberger was sacked four times, missed some open receivers and a fumble he gave up — one of three LSU turnovers — led to the first of two touchdown runs by Towson’s Terrance West.
West’s first TD run gave Towson, an FCS team, a stunning 9-7 lead in the second quarter before LSU responded with 24 straight points.
J.C. Copeland, LSU’s powerful 272-pound fullback, scored his third touchdown of the season on a 1-yard plunge, but was hurt in the fourth quarter and did not put any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the field.
In all, LSU’s performance fell well short of the confidence-building performance it wanted before a trip to No. 11 Florida next weekend, followed by a visit from No. 6 South Carolina.
LSU had portrayed its narrow 12-10 victory at Auburn a week earlier as a wakeup call, but it continued to stumble intermittently against its first FCS opponent of the season — enough so that frustrated fans routinely groaned and even booed.
LSU fumbled five times in all but recovered two of them. Mettenberger’s fumble was his third in two games. Michael Ford’s fumble in the third quarter stalled a likely scoring drive on the Towson 13. Kenny Hilliard’s fumble set up Towson’s opening points on a field goal.
Ford still had a solid game overall, rushing 11 times for 76 yards, including a 4-yard TD. Receiver Russell Shepard had his best play on a designed run, bursting through the line and speeding down the sideline for a career-long 78-yard scoring run that he finished by diving to the pylon.
Towson quarterback Grant Enders was 13-of-33 for 103 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown pass to Gerrard Shepard. He also rushed for 86 yards, including a 43-yard scamper that set up West’s first TD on a 1-yard dive. West finished with 79 yards on 22 carries. His second TD run also came from a yard out.
Shepard opened scoring on the first play of LSU’s second possession.
Towson did not drive past its own 30 on its first three possessions, but Hilliard’s fumble on the LSU 38 late in the first quarter gave Towson its first break, and it capitalize with D.J. Sloven’s field goal.
Five of LSU’s first six drives ended with three punts, a fumble and a missed 51-yard field goal attempt, keeping Towson in the game.
Animated Towson coach Rob Ambrose appeared to be thoroughly enjoying his Death Valley experience on the visitor’s sideline, and it only got better for him when Mettenberger fumbled on a sack while scrambling left and Towson recovered on LSU’s 45. Soon after, Enders scrambled 43 yards to the LSU 1, and West dove over the pile to give Towson the lead. The point-after kick missed, however, leaving it 9-7.
Mettenberger responded as LSU hoped on his next drive, hitting tight end Chase Clement over the middle for 27 yards, then finding Beckham for a 27-yard score to make it 14-9.
LSU had another scoring chance before halftime after Towson’s R.J. Peppers shanked a punt only 6 yards to his own 22, but the drive stalled at the 5, setting up Drew Alleman’s field goal to make it 17-9.
More Related Stories
- Ray Manzarek, founding member of The Doors, dies at 74
- Beware of book blurbs
- Did a Salon excerpt ruin Penn Jillette's chance to win "Celebrity Apprentice"?
- Zach Galifianakis to take formerly homeless woman to "Hangover 3" premiere
- Seth MacFarlane will not host Oscars again
- "SNL's" uncomfortable Garner/Affleck moment
- "Celebrity Apprentice" finale ratings hit a new low
- Worst National Anthem fails
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
- Stephen Colbert to UVA: "You must always make the path for yourself"
- "Game of Thrones," season 3, episode 8: A salon
- Bieber booed, Miguel falls on fan at Billboard Awards
- "Mad Men" recap: Love, acid and whores. Lots of whores
- Taylor Swift leads Billboard winners
- “Game of Thrones” recap: “We must do our duty”
- "The Unwinding": What's gone wrong with America
- Michael J. Fox wins: The best and worst of the new fall shows
- First look: The Coens' marvelous folk-music odyssey
- New York's most persecuted subway artist?
- James Franco: "I really felt I was in conversation with Faulkner"
- "Jodorowsky's Dune": The sci-fi classic that never was
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11