LSU defensive end Andre Anthony said although the target was a friendly face with a familiar last name, the Tigers didn’t treat McNeese State quarterback Cody Orgeron any different than any other opposing quarterback.
“We knew it was him, but we treat everybody the same,” Anthony said. “He’s another quarterback that we have to get to and sack. It was also fun. I talked to him before halftime. They were doing a lot of quick stuff. I wanted to know when he was going to hold the ball because I was trying to get back there. No matter who it is, who we play, we’ve got to treat everybody the same.”
LSU’s defense literally teed off against Orgeron, the son of LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron, to the tune of eight sacks and thoroughly bottled-up McNeese State’s offense until the last five minutes in Saturday’s 34-7 victory over the Cowboys at Tiger Stadium.
LSU’s heralded pass rush more than lived up to its billing. The Tigers’ defense, after surrendering 470 yards of offense in last week’s 38-27 loss at UCLA, registered 16 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
“I’m very pleased with the defensive performance,” Ed Orgeron said. “I’m not pleased with the last touchdown on the screen. I’m very pleased with our pass rush. I knew we were a good pass rush team.”
McNeese’s offense managed just 67 offensive yards going into its final series when Cody Orgeron connected with Carlo Williams crossing over the middle of LSU’s defense en route to his 44-yard scoring play with 4:33 remaining to avoid the shutout.
The Cowboys wound up with 142 total yards, 51 rushing on 42 attempts and Cody Orgeron completed 10 of 20 passes for 91 yards. He wasn’t intercepted, though he was certainly harassed throughout the evening in the unique matchup against his father’s team.
“He said, ‘I’m proud of you son, on to the next one,” Cody said of his postgame exchange with his father. “I told him I love him. It’s our opportunity to get back on track. I saw my dad looking at me and I could see how proud he was of me.”
Ed Orgeron admitted feeling strange watching his defense get after his son early in the game.
“The first couple of plays it was kind of weird,” he said. “After that I knew he could handle it. I’ve watched some games where he’s been sacked a bunch, too. He can handle it. He’s a big man. He knew it coming in. I’m just glad he didn’t get hurt.”
LSU’s sack total was spread out among four players with freshman Maason Smith leading the way with three, Anthony adding 2 ½ with Desmond Little and BJ Ojulari each picking up one.
Smith tied for team-high honors with Damone Clark and Major Burns with six tackles, with Anthony, Little and Bug Strong adding five apiece.
“I thought he rushed the passer very good the first game,” Orgeron said of Smith. “He had some good one on one rushes. Tonight, he dominated his man. He had three sacks. He’s a tremendous rusher, especially inside. He’s very athletic. For a guy 6-5, he’s a great young player for us.”
LSU’s defense provided a spark midway through the second quarter when sophomore defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy not only forced a fumble by McNeese running back Stephen Huderson but recovered it at the Cowboys’ 28 yard-line.
Three plays later, quarterback Max Johnson capped the drive with a 4-yard pass to Kayshon Boutte for a 14-0 lead.
LSU’s defense limited McNeese to 53 total yards on 31 plays at halftime, yielding just five yards in the third quarter.
LSU did a better job in Week 2 of limiting explosive plays, allowing just two plays of 10 yards or more. Huderson 30-yard run gave McNeese its best field position at the Tigers’ 33-yard line before Cody Orgeron’s TD pass in the last five minutes of play.
“I wish we had this energy last week,” Anthony said. “It was a learning lesson last week. We knew what we had to do. We have to keep the same energy going forward, no matter who we play. Go out there and do what we need to do and carry it over.”