LSU Tigers: Jamauria Rasco

What we learned: Week 3

September, 15, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU won its FBS-record 44th consecutive regular-season, nonconference game, 45-13 over Kent State on Saturday. Here's what we learned:

The Tigers come out ready to play: For any of the five Southeastern Conference opponents lined to play LSU before it takes a break from league play at the end of October, a word of warning -- don’t start slowly. The Tigers are fast from the gates. They led 21-0 on Saturday after 15 minutes for the second consecutive week. The Tigers have outscored three opponents 48-3 in the first quarter this season. On Saturday, running back Jeremy Hill took the fourth play from scrimmage for a 58-yard scoring burst through the heart of the Kent State defense. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger connected with Jarvis Landry for a 21-yard score on third and 20 to cap LSU’s second drive. Its third possession covered just 37 yards in four plays after Ego Ferguson’s sack of Kent State QB Colin Reardon to the 1-yard line created fantastic field position. Yes, the Tigers did it with defense, too, allowing 34 yards in the opening quarter. In the first half, LSU accumulated 359 yards to remove all suspense.

The backfield features options aplenty: Even with the sophomore Hill back for another game from his suspension to open the season, the Tigers look determined to play a committee of running backs. Hill started fast and rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns, but junior Terrence Magee played early and gained 108 yards on nine carries. Alfred Blue got 10 carries, and the Tigers saved four attempts for Kenny Hilliard. According to coach Les Miles, Hill hasn’t reached the top of his game. “Snaps are a great teacher,” Miles said. “He just hasn’t had many.” If the four-headed monster works, why not stick with it? LSU produced 307 rushing yards against the Golden Flashes without so much as tiring one of its backs. Sounds like a great recipe for success in the SEC. Realistically, the Tigers figure to pare it down some. Hill, with some sharpening over the next few weeks, should emerge as the featured guy, but Magee, Hillard and the more compact Blue form a nice complementary trio.

That defense is maturing quickly: Hard to question those who doubted the ability of LSU’s defense to dominate this season after five of its starters -- in addition to cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who did not play a year ago -- landed in the top three rounds of the NFL draft in April. That’s a record number, by the way, for one defensive unit. And while they’re not dominant yet, the signs are there, especially up front, where ends Jermauria Rasco and Jordan Allen were supposed to anchor the line. They’re good, but tackles Ferguson and Anthony Johnson might be better. Ferguson and Johnson controlled the trenches on Saturday. Then there’s the second level, where linebacker Kwon Alexander continues to blossom and show rare athleticism. In the secondary, freshman cornerback Tre'Davious White stood out early in his first career start. Another first-time starter, safety Micah Eugene, and cornerback Jalen Collins were active with 11 tackles between them.

Helmet stickers: Week 2

September, 8, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. -- No. 9 LSU controlled the game from the start and throttled UAB 56-17 in Baton Rouge on Saturday night to improve to 2-0 on the season.

During the course of the action, a few players stood out as worthy of a coveted helmet sticker.

WR/PR/KR Odell Beckham Jr.: The coverage was there, but it didn't matter. UAB hemmed in Beckham \on special teams and bracketed him on defense, and still LSU's speedy wideout couldn't be contained. Beckham ran picture perfect routes in the Tigers' home opener, faking an outside break to create the separation necessary for both of Zach Mettenberger's first two touchdown passes, one for 29 yards and another for 22 yards. In between, Beckham flipped field position with a spectacular 60-yard punt return, weaving through a field of green jerseys all the way down to the UAB 9-yard line to set up another LSU touchdown. He had 208 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns by halftime and finished with 331 total yards and four touchdowns.

QB Zach Mettenberger: It wasn't the Mettenberger of a season ago, the quarterback who wowed LSU fans with his arm strength but left something to be desired in terms of his accuracy and consistency. For the second straight game, Mettenberger put together the complete package, showing poise and confidence in the pocket. He read the UAB defense well and anticipated the coverage on all three of his first half touchdown passes, putting the ball just only where his receivers could reach it. Mettenberger, who finished with a healthy 16 of 19 for 282 yards and five touchdowns, and new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron have been a formidable tandem thus far, riding a solid running game while stretching the field vertically through the air.

DE Jermauria Rasco: He's learned from some of the best, serving as understudy to departed LSU greats Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery and Lavar Edwards in his first two years on campus. Now, Jamauria Rasco is beginning to create his own legacy at defensive end. The 6-foot-3, 262-pound junior from Shreveport, La., was in the backfield all day against UAB, finishing with one sack, two quarterback hurries for loss and a key fumble recovery that resulted in a Tigers touchdown. Rasco helped keep the UAB passing game off balance, limiting the Blazers to 136 yards through the air and a 36 percent completion percentage.


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