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LSU won't sweat passing game woes

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU's paucity of passing yardage hasn't haunted the Tigers yet.

In its past two games, LSU had fewer than 100 yards passing and has not scored a touchdown through the air — yet won by three-plus touchdowns each week while improving to 3-0.

Though coach Les Miles expects his quarterback and highly regarded receivers to be more productive, he stressed that the Tigers aren't about to air it out just for the sake of it.

"Our offense is preparing to answer the call based on the need of the game," Miles said.

With West Virginia visiting Saturday night, this could be the week that LSU's passing game is asked to emerge. The Mountaineers' explosive offense averages nearly 29 points, while their defense has played well against the run.

In the past two weeks, the burden on LSU's offense has been lightened by a dominant defense that registered six sacks at Vanderbilt and five interceptions against Mississippi State.

Against the Commodores, LSU's running game piled up 280 yards.

More than half of LSU's points against Mississippi State came on five field goals by Josh Jasper.

Russell Shepard said he and his fellow receivers have to take some blame for the failures and for quarterback Jordan Jefferson's low passing numbers.

Shepard said he dropped two passes he should have caught, one of which would have resulted in a touchdown.

"There's two throws that Jordan made that would have put him over 100 yards, that would have gave him that touchdown," Shepard said. "I had to put that (on) myself. As a receiving corps, we have things we have to work on. It's not all Jordan."

Another potential touchdown toss fell incomplete when receiver Terrence Toliver struggled to find what looked like a catchable fade pass.

Clemson gets week off to regroup for UM

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Clemson's week off couldn't have come at a better time.

Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said his coaches and players would have the week to clean up the things that went wrong in a 27-24 OT loss at Auburn and build on the things that went right. They also won't have to rush banged-up quarterback Kyle Parker into action for nearly two weeks.

Parker was in pain after a shot to the back might have cracked some ribs. Instead, X-rays showed no broken bones, Swinney said. The sophomore passer will be limited at practice for a couple of days, then begin preparations for the ACC opener against Miami on Oct. 2.

"Got nailed pretty good right in the back there," Swinney said. "He's really, really sore."

Offensive lineman David Smith has an ankle sprain that should not keep him out long.

Swinney was happy with much of what he saw.

The Tigers gave up all of a 17-point lead and trailed 24-17 yet forced overtime with a fourth-quarter touchdown. Chandler Catanzaro had apparently tied things again with a field goal for Clemson in the first overtime. But snapper Matt Skinner double-clutched for a penalty, and Catanzaro missed the retry.

Parker said Clemson has the talent to match up with the game's best — a message he'll emphasize to the younger players this week. "I guess we can just tell our players that we can really play with anyone, but we've just got to finish it and we'll be all right," he said.

Swinney had talked all last week coming in that while he had an idea about the makeup of his team, he couldn't be sure after lopsided wins over North Texas and Presbyterian. Clemson responded at Auburn as Swinney thought it would.

When Auburn took the lead, Swinney said his players showed a "no-quit attitude. That's what I want the foundation of the team to be."

Swinney plans to hammer home that Clemson still has its ACC goals, starting with Miami.

"The Tigers and Hurricanes have played three times this decade — before that they hadn't met since 1956 — and each one was down to the wire.

Clemson won in overtime at Miami in 2004 and 2009. Miami won at Clemson in 2005.

Boise State: The Broncos are staying home this week — at last.

After two long road trips and an extended break in between, they finally get a chance to break in their new blue field turf when they host Oregon State on Saturday.

The Broncos opened their season with a win at Virginia Tech and last week won at Wyoming.

The last weekend in September is late for a home opener, and coach Chris Petersen joked his team might have to adjust to the dynamics of playing in front of a friendly crowd.

"In some ways it's been so long, we've kind of figured that's what you do — go play away games," Petersen said. "It'll feel different for sure."

Wide receiver and punt returner Mitch Burroughs is recovering from a high ankle sprain and could miss several games. Starting defensive end Shea McClellin is day to day with a concussion.

Missouri: Starting defensive end Aldon Smith will miss Saturday's game against Miami of Ohio due to a broken bone in his right leg. After the ensuing off week, Smith might return for the Big 12 opener at home against Colorado on Oct. 9.

Tennessee: The Vols have injury issues for Saturday's game against UAB. Starting receiver Gerald Jones won't play as he continues to recover from left hand surgery. Starting left guard JerQuari Schofield is likely out (broken bone in his left foot), starting center Cody Pope is recovering from a severe stinger and concussion, and running back Tauren Poole and receiver Denarius Moore are "banged up" and day to day.

LSU won't sweat passing game woes 09/20/10 [Last modified: Monday, September 20, 2010 11:31pm]
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