10th-ranked Tigers host Warhawks

Sep 10, 2014 - 3:23 PM Baton Rouge, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - The 10th-ranked LSU Tigers will continue their four-game homestand at Tiger Stadium on Saturday night, as they welcome intrastate foe the ULM Warhawks for a non-conference battle.

ULM opened up its season with a pair of home games and came away victorious in each contest. The Warhawks kicked off the campaign with an impressive non- conference victory over Wake Forest (17-10) before beginning Sun Belt Conference play last weekend by defeating Idaho, 38-31.

"The thing I continue to be impressed with from this group is our resiliency," ULM head coach Todd Berry said. "When you find ways to win, especially early in the season, there is some confidence that is derived from that, so I'm really, really excited for the team."

LSU was put to the test right out of the shoot with a marquee primetime matchup in the opener versus nationally-ranked Wisconsin in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff and came from behind to capture a 28-24 victory. The Tigers followed that up with an FCS opponent last week in their home opener and dismissed Sam Houston State, 56-0.

"As we go forward, we're going to play very, very quality teams, including this Saturday," LSU head coach Les Miles said in his weekly address to the media. "We have to improve, and if there's any question about it, the youth of our team needs to grow up and they need to understand the things that they do in practice make a difference in what they do on Saturdays."

The Tigers are 2-0 all-time versus the Warhawks, winning matchups in 2010 and 2003.

ULM's offense has been relatively quiet in the early going, as the team is scoring 27.5 ppg and amassing 443.0 ypg while converting third downs at only 34-percent efficiency.

Pete Thomas has been up-and-down in his first season since transferring from NC State. He's completing only 55.3 percent of his passes for 573 yards with two touchdowns and a pick while also rushing for a score.

The team's most dynamic playmaker so far has been running back Centarius Donald, who has earned the majority of the backfield work and has put up 228 yards and three touchdowns.

Kenzee Jackson is Thomas' most trusted target with 12 receptions for 170 yards, while Ajalen Holley has broken off several big plays with 187 yards and a score on just eight catches.

Defensively, the Warhawks have impressed, giving up just 20.5 ppg while ranking tied for 19th nationally in total defense (268.0 ypg).

A strong pass-rush is led by Ray Stovall (2.5 sacks) and Jacob Tyson (2.0 sacks). Justin Backus has 15 tackles to lead the team, and Mitch Lane, Hunter Kissinger and Cody Robinson each have an interception.

LSU put on an offensive clinic against Sam Houston State last weekend with eight touchdowns and 584 yards, upping its yearly averages in the process to 42.0 ppg and 474.5 ypg.

The Tigers have employed both Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris under center, but Jennings has emerged with the most playing time, and while he's completed only 47.1 percent of his passes, he's piled up 427 yards and five touchdowns with zero picks.

"I really felt like Anthony Jennings managed the game well and did things," Miles said. "He has to continue to develop...But he did a good job, and no turnovers, which to me is a key piece to the offense."

Harris has done good things with his playing time as well, going 4-of-5 for 62 yards and a score while adding solid rushing stats (42 yards, TD).

Travin Dural has been a big play waiting to happen at wide receiver. He's caught just six balls this season but four have gone for touchdowns and he has amassed an astounding 291 yards (48.5 ypc), fourth most in the nation.

Kenny Hillard has taken the lion's share of the carries in the backfield, turning 29 attempts into 165 yards and two scores, while Leonard Fournette (21 carries, 110 yards, TD) is off to a stellar start to his freshman season.

The LSU defense looked in top form last week in pitching a shutout versus Sam Houston State, bringing its season totals to 12.0 ppg and 262.0 ypg.

Danielle Hunter is the team's leading tackler with 14 stops, 2.5 of those coming behind the line of scrimmage. Dwayne Thomas (12 tackles) has one of the team's four interceptions, and Sione Teuhema has a pair of sacks.

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