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McNeese St.-LSU Preview

Oct 13, 2010 - 3:51 AM By MATT BEARDMORE STATS Writer

McNeese State (2-3) at No. 12 LSU (6-0), 7:00 p.m. EDT

LSU needed some late heroics to win its last two games. Coach Les Miles' team will unlikely be put in that position for a third straight week.

The ninth-ranked Tigers look to improve to 7-0 for the first time in 37 years Saturday night when they host McNeese State of the Football Championship Subdivision.

A week after Miles was questioned for his play calling and late-game clock management in a 16-14 home win over Tennessee, the LSU coach made the right call last Saturday - a fake field goal with 35 seconds left - as the Tigers scored the game-winning touchdown with six seconds remaining in a 33-29 victory at then-No. 14 Florida.

"How about that one, huh?" Miles said of the fake that set up Jarrett Lee's three-yard fade to senior wide receiver Terrence Toliver. "These games are becoming more routine."

Winning against non-conference opponents during the regular season continues to be routine for the Tigers, who have won their last 31 of those matchups - the nation's longest such streak.

Facing McNeese State for the first time, LSU will also be trying to win its 30th straight home game against a non-conference foe since a 13-10 loss to UAB on Sept. 23, 2000.

"It's a tough task for us," McNeese State coach Matt Viator told the school's official website. "Anytime you go play a good football team, in a tough atmosphere and maybe minus a few of your guys, it's always going to be tough."

Making the trip from Lake Charles, La., the Cowboys (2-3) will be without leading rusher Marcus Wiltz, who is out for the season following knee surgery. Michigan State transfer Andre Anderson, who ran for a team-best 72 yards and a TD in last Saturday's 32-27 home loss to Stephen F. Austin, will get the start as McNeese State gets its first look at a team from the SEC.

Anderson could be in for a long night in Baton Rouge, where he'll face a Tigers defense that is fifth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense (246.0 yards per game) and sixth in rushing defense (80.7 yards).

Tigers leading rusher Stevan Ridley, whose one-yard TD run as time expired beat the Volunteers two weeks ago, likely won't see much action Saturday with LSU looking toward a big road matchup with No. 7 Auburn next week.

"I think we have to have other running backs contribute. You want to make sure that guys like Stevan Ridley are fresh when it comes to your best games," Miles said. "I think we are fortunate to have some quality, young tailbacks that will take snaps there."

Senior Richard Murphy and freshmen Spencer Ware and Michael Ford will likely see plenty of carries.

Lee and Jordan Jefferson are expected to split time taking snaps as Miles and the Tigers continue to see the benefit of using two quarterbacks.

"I think it has more affect on our opponents than our receivers," said Toliver, who has a team-high 20 receptions for 259 yards. "I think it's kind of hard to prepare for both of them. Jordan (Jefferson) could be a wildcat quarterback when he comes in and Jarrett (Lee) can throw the ball."

Freshman Coby Stroud and senior Jacob Bower could both line up behind center for the Cowboys on Saturday.

LSU is 6-0 for the first time since it won the national championship in 2007.