BATON ROUGE -- In its final pre-conference tune-up, No. 8 LSU had its biggest offensive output since 2007 on the way to a 45-13 victory over Kent State on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
Led by quarterback Zach Mettenberger's 264 yards passing and 100-yard rushers Jeremy Hill and Terrence Magee, LSU totaled 571 yards of total offense to move the ball at will against Kent State (1-2). The Tigers' 10.4 yards per play was second best in school history.
LSU (3-0) begins Southeastern Conference play on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 6:45 p.m. CT when Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC) comes to Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised live by ESPN and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network starting with a 4:45 p.m. pregame show.
By adding three touchdowns this evening, Mettenberger set a school record with nine TD's in the first three games to start a season. He was 13-of-18 passing with a long of 52 yards.
Hill ran 11 times for 119 yards and touchdown runs of 58 and 12 yards. All nine of Magee's carries came in the second half, as he rolled for 108 yards and a touchdown. Alfred Blue added 56 rushing yards, also all in the second half.
Receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry continued to find holes in the secondary. Beckham Jr. had five catches for 76 yards with a 5-yard touchdown grab, while Landry had four catches for 66 yards and two scores.
Kent State was led by quarterback Colin Reardon who completed 20 of 29 passes for 190 yards. He scored the Golden Flashes lone touchdown with a 2-yard scamper in the second quarter. Traylon Durham led Kent State on the ground with 36 net yards on 18 carries.
The Golden Flashes were limited to 58 yards rushing and were outgained 571-248. It was LSU’s best offensive night since gaining 595 yards against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 10, 2007.
Two mistakes in the opening half cost the Tigers 10 points. On third-and-5 from the Kent State 30, a blown coverage led to a 25-yard reception into LSU territory on the final play of the first quarter. Six plays later, the Golden Flashes scored a 2-yard touchdown that cut LSU's lead to 21-7.
Late in the half, LSU head coach Les Miles called timeout prior to a Kent State punt to give his offense another shot before the half. However, Travin Dural muffed the punt at the LSU 22. Kent State recovered at the 20, but the Tigers defense came up with a stop to hold the Golden Flashes to a 37-yard field goal with 17 seconds left in the half.
Otherwise, LSU dominated every aspect of the first 30 minutes.
The Tigers scored on all five possessions of the opening half, scoring four touchdowns and coming up two yards short of another.
Kent State won the coin toss and deferred its decision until the second half. LSU took the opening kickoff and used a 17-yard pass from Mettenberger to Beckham Jr. to pick up a first down on third-and-5. Two plays later, Hill's 58-yard burst for a touchdown put LSU ahead 7-0 with 12:19 left in the first quarter.
After a Kent State punt, Mettenberger connected with Dural for a 36-yard catch to the Golden Flashes 23. Hill gained another first down, but a holding penalty backed LSU to the 21. After two incomplete passes, Mettenberger lobbed a pass in Landry's directions and the receiver pulled the ball down between two defenders for a touchdown.
LSU led 14-0 with 8:16 on the first-quarter clock.
Kent State was backed up to its 4-yard line after a 15-yard sack by Ego Ferguson, and the Golden Flashes managed only 34 yards on the punt.
Starting at the Kent State 37, the Tigers took advantage of a pass interference penalty to gain a first down at the 17. Hill scored for the second time from 12 yards for a 21-0 lead with 2:36 left in the quarter.
Kent State answered with a 75-yard scoring drive that ended with Reardon's 2-yard keeper around the right side.
A career-best, 52-yard catch and run by 239-pound fullback Connor Neighbors and a 12-yard reception by Beckham Jr. put LSU in position for another trip to the endzone. However, three runs by Kenny Hilliard came up a yard short of the first down and the Tigers were whistled for false start on a fourth-down run. Colby Delahoussaye tacked on a 25-yard field goal to put LSU ahead 24-7 with 10:03 left in the half.
LSU's fifth score in as many drives included a 22-yard catch by Beckham Jr., a 15-yarder by Landry, an 18-yard run by Hill and another 20-yard reception by Beckham Jr. to the Kent State 16. Though Hill's third touchdown was called back by a chop block, Landry found the endzone with a 31-yard catch and run. The 93-yard drive - LSU's longest since 2011 at Tennessee - gave LSU a 31-7 lead.
The muffed punt by Dural led a Kent State field goal just before the half. With a 359-105 advantage in total offense, LSU led 31-10 at the break.
Kent State scored the only points of the third quarter with a 38-yard field goal that cut LSU's lead to 31-13 with 3:16 remaining.
Though it couldn't get into gear offensively in the third quarter, LSU added a 5-yard touchdown reception by Beckham Jr. and a 12-yard rushing score by Magee in the final 15 minutes. A drive led by true freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings ended at the Kent State 16 when the clock expired.
Attendance for the game was 89,113.