LSU gets big performances in season opener vs. Louisiana-Monroe

Updated: August 31, 2003, 2:35 PM ET

BATON ROUGE, La. -- It was a big night for Matt Mauck, who found out for sure his foot was fine.

It was a big night for Michael Clayton, who proved himself as an offensive threat.

It was a big night for Joseph Addai, who showed he can fill the big back slot for LSU.

On top of all that, the Tigers opened the season with a 49-7 victory over Louisiana-Monroe. The win came despite a slow start for LSU, including a 39-minute rain delay just after the opening kickoff.

"I think mentally we were flat in the beginning," LSU coach Nick Saban said. "I'm not sure the delay helped us. But we came around. And there were some things to be pleased about."

Mauck, who missed the final seven games of last season with torn ligaments in his foot, tied his career high for touchdown passes in a game with three in the final 6{ minutes of the first half.

"I was a lot more calm than I thought I would be," Mauck said. "I thought I'd be real jacked up inside. I was excited, but I really wasn't nervous."

He finished 13-for-28 for 153 yards. He was intercepted once before being replaced by Marcus Randall in the third quarter.

"I felt real comfortable," Mauck said. "With the ground so uneven, it probably wasn't the best situation for us, but the foot didn't hurt the whole time."

Mauck threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson for LSU's first score, then hit Joseph Addai for a 17-yard TD less than two minutes later to put LSU up 14-0. With 7 seconds left in the half, Mauck connected with Michael Clayton for a 40-yard touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 21-0 at halftime.

"The field was pretty slippery, but I think as the game went on everybody on the team got more comfortable," Mauck said.

Clayton, who did not have a pass thrown his way until late in the second quarter, set a career high for yards in a game.

He caught his first touchdown pass around the 25-yard line, shook off a defender and ran for the score. Late in the third, he took another short pass and turned it into a 66-yard touchdown, leaving the Louisiana-Monroe defense flat-footed.

Addai had a strong debut at starting tailback. The sophomore carried 15 times for 81 yards and caught two passes for 21 yards.

LSU's defense was solid. The second string allowed one Monroe touchdown, a 12-yard run by Kevin Payne in the fourth.

Safety Jack Hunt returned an interception 31 yards in the third quarter for a touchdown.

The defense also suffered the only injury of the night. Starting cornerback Randall Gay fractured a small bone in his arm, but will not require surgery.

"We did some good things out there and we got to play a lot of people," Saban said.


This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index