The No. 3 LSU Tigers were able to plow through the North Texas Mean Green and finish the season opener with a big win. The Tigers defeated North Texas 41 - 14.
The Tigers defense was as good as advertised in the game, and Zach Mettenberger was able to come back from and early injury and lead the Tigers offense to a high scoring game.
LSU now sits at 1-0, while North Texas falls to 0-1.
Let's take a look at the final grades and evaluation of the Tigers performance in tonight's win.
Zach Mettenberger was able to finish the game 19-of-26 for 192 yards and one touchdown. He did throw an interception on the goal line early, but overall the performance was very good for the new quarterback.
Mettenberger took a huge shot to start the game and spent some of the first half in the locker room, but he returned to the game more efficient that when he originally took the field.
The Tigers were excited about the deep threat ability that Mettenberger brought to the offense to start the season, but there was only one deep pass that was attempted by the Tigers in the game. There wasn't a need for more.
There is a bright future ahead for the Tigers quarterback and it showed in this game.
Considering the accuracy that he played with and the tenacity shown to comeback and sit in the pocket after the hard shot, Mettenberger played as good as anyone could have expected.
The LSU running backs looked unstoppable in the first game of the 2012 season.
Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue led the charge from the backfield churning up yards consistently throughout the game. Hilliard was the Tigers leading back on the day finishing the game with 13 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Alfred Blue was the second leading rusher for the Tigers finishing the game with 16 carries and 123 yards.
The Tigers were able to get five different ball carriers involved in the game, with four of the five averaging over six yards per carry.
The running backs were expected to be a major portion of the LSU offense this season and they didn’t disappoint in the season opener.
The LSU wide receivers had a very good game down the stretch. There were not a lot of passing attempts early with Mettenberger taking a few snaps off thanks to a big hit in the first quarter, but the Tigers receivers proved they are one of the most talented groups in the country.
Jarvis Landry was the most impressive of all the Tigers pass catchers with eight catches for 82 yards—one of which was a diving catch in the fourth quarter.
Kadron Boone caught the lone touchdown pass for the Tigers to start the fourth quarter and showed a lot of explosion after the catch. Boone finished the game with two catches for 46 yards.
Odell Beckham was a consistent target for the screen play, but he only finished with three catches for 30 yards.
Overall the Tigers were very consistent when the ball was thrown their way and showed a lot of promise this season. Expect LSU to utilize the passing game a lot more this season than they have in the past few years.
The tight ends for LSU were mainly used in blocking situations in this game.
Despite the lack of throws that came their way, the tight ends helped plow major rushing lanes for the Tigers offense against North Texas.
As the season progresses they will become more involved in the passing game, but tonight’s performance was exactly what the Tigers needed from the position.
The offensive line for LSU was very dominate in this game. They were able to open major holes for the LSU rushing attack and consistently provided great protection for Zach Mettenberger.
Mettenberger did take a few shots early, but overall the performance was very strong by the Tigers offensive front five.
The rushing attack for the Tigers benefited greatly from the consistent holes that were opened by the Tigers front. By the end of the game the Tigers front had completely worn down the Mean Green defense giving Mettenberger a ton of time to pick apart the North Texas defense.
The Tigers front four was expected to be one of the best in the country this season, and they proved their worth in this game. The Tigers consistently played in the backfield of the Mean Green and were able to make plays consistently in the North Texas backfield.
LSU was able to hold the Mean Green to less than 100 yards on the ground and kept Derek Thompson scrambling in the backfield.
The Mean Green was able to produce a few yards in the fourth quarter, but the defensive front stood strong for the majority of the game.
A big question mark for the Tigers heading into this season was the linebacker play for LSU. The talent was obvious, but the Tigers were inexperienced along the middle of the defense.
The Tigers showed that they were ready and able to pick up where the Tigers left off last season.
Kevin Minter had a huge game for the Tigers, keeping the Mean Green offense at bay and flying to the football consistently. Minter was a key player for the Tigers defense and looks to be a leader for the Tigers this season from the linebacker position.
The LSU defensive backfield was missing a major playmaker with the dismissal of Tyrann Mathieu, but it didn’t show tonight.
Eric Reid made a huge interception in the second half of the game, digging the ball from the turf. The Tigers had a great performance overall, despite allowing two touchdown passes by the Mean Green.
Derek Thompson finished the night with a very modest 143 yards passing and was only able to go 8-of-21 against the smothering coverage that was provided by the Tigers secondary.
LSU saw freshman Jalen Collins earn significant playing time with the loss of Mathieu, and for his first start he played extremely well.
This secondary will be fast attacking and fun to watch all season.
The LSU special teams played consistent tonight, but a missed field goal and a short punt were a few of the blemishes carried by the unit. The Tigers also allowed some good return yards on kickoffs, allowing for North Texas to start a number of possessions outside of the 20 yard line.
The Tigers did not miss Tyrann Mathieu in the return game with Odell Beckham having a strong showing in the punt return game with an 18.8 yard return average and a touchdown. He also added a 26 yard kickoff return.
Stud punter Brad Wing was held out of competition in tonight's game do to a lingering hamstring injury, but Jamie Keehn filled in well for the injured Wing.
Keehn finished the game with a 41 yard average on three punts.
Kicker Drew Alleman had a good day, finishing 2-of-3 on field goals with a long of 44, and 5-of-5 on extra points.
Les Miles had his team ready for the season opener tonight. Since he has taken over the LSU program, it is consistently strong on opening night when most teams struggle.
The Tigers carried a good game plan into the game, and were able to keep their guys focused despite the lower level of the competition and the big lead that came with the second half.
Les Miles and his coaches made a big stride with the LSU team focus in the off season.