SEC INSIDER

Tigers looking like another vintage Miles team

Sports Xchange

September 21, 2015 at 10:55 am.

Sep 19, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) breaks a tackle by Auburn Tigers defensive back Jonathan Jones (3) during the second quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 19, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) breaks a tackle by Auburn Tigers defensive back Jonathan Jones (3) during the second quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

BATON ROUGE, La. — It’s just two games into the season, but so far LSU is looking like the kind of team coach Les Miles wants it to be.

The Tigers have beaten two SEC rivals — Mississippi State and Auburn — and they’ve done it with improvement in the two areas that are the biggest trademarks of Miles’ best teams — a power running game and a stifling defense.

In the 45-21 victory against Auburn last Saturday in Baton Rouge, Leonard Fournette showed why he’s one of the top running backs in the country, trampling the Auburn defense for 228 yards and three touchdowns with highlight run after highlight run.

But he wasn’t a one-man show as the Tigers finished with 411 rushing yards and an eye-popping 8.6 yards per rush behind outstanding play from the offensive line.

“I felt like our offensive line played dominant,” Miles said. “We didn’t have a lost yard in the day. I don’t know that I’ve been around one of those. I’m really proud of offensively how they played — very physical wide receivers blocked, tight ends were very strong, fullbacks made their plays, backs made their cuts.”

The LSU defense allowed just 260 yards and had five sacks.

“Defensively I thought they played a tremendous game,” Miles said.

Auburn, playing from behind virtually from the start, completed 11-of-19 passes for only 100 yards with one interception.

The impressive start has landed LSU at No. 8 in The Associated Press poll going into its nonconference game at Syracuse on Saturday.

NOTES, QUOTES
PLAYERS TO WATCH

–OT Vadal Alexander stood out the most in a dominant offensive line performance.

–RB Darrel Williams has trouble getting much attention because of Fournette, but he has been effective when spelling Fournette, gaining 86 yards in the first two games.

–LB Lamar Louis will see extended playing time, at least in the first half because starter Deion Jones will be suspended for that long because of a targeting penalty he committed against Auburn.

SERIES HISTORY: LSU and Syracuse are tied, 1-1. LSU won 13-10 in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1965 while Syracuse won 23-10 in the Hall of Fame Bowl on Jan. 2, 1989.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We’ve seen all the stuff he does in practice. (Reporters) just see the games. He’s a freak of nature.” — LSU center Ethan Pocic on RB Leonard Fournette.

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