BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU didn't need any small-school sacrificial lambs on its early season schedule to post a couple of gaudy blowouts. The tenacious Tigers made Virginia Tech look like a pushover instead of the ninth-ranked team in the nation.
Keiland Williams ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Matt Flynn led LSU to scores on four of its first five possessions as the Tigers cruised to a 48-7 victory over the uncharacteristically hapless Hokies on Saturday night.
The performance was so overwhelming that head coach Les Miles spent his opening comments trying to dissuade people from saying things that might go to his players' heads.
"You can save the accolades. We've just won two games and we have a lot of football to play," Miles said. "Don't make too much of this. It's all about what we have to get done in the future."
But there was little Miles could say to undercut what everyone saw -- LSU (2-0) looked awesome in handing Frank Beamer his most lopsided loss since he took the head coaching job at Virginia Tech
in 1987, and the national title talk will only ramp up among Tigers fans.
The vaunted Virginia Tech defense, the best in the land the past two seasons, was getting pushed around. By contrast, LSU drove Virginia Tech starting quarterback Sean Glennon from the game midway through the second quarter.
"I don't think comparisons were made throughout the week that related that" performance by the LSU defense, Miles said. "Our defense is going to play that way. That's how they're trained and we look forward to seeing that every Saturday."
Williams highlighted a stunning first half for the Tigers with a career-long 67-yard run for a touchdown.
LSU had a 24-0 lead after the first 18 minutes and outgained Tech 327-40 in the first half -- a week after its 45-0 dismantling of Southeastern Conference rival Mississippi State.
Williams added a 32-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Jacob Hester had 81 yards rushing, scored LSU's first touchdown, and also caught a pass for 28 yards.
Flynn didn't last the whole game either, but only because there was little need for him to play much beyond the third quarter. He ran for a touchdown early in the game and wound up with 217 yards passing.
"What a football team. They really took it to us," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "We're certainly disappointed in how we played, but certainly, give LSU a lot of credit for that. ... They got us good."
Virginia Tech (1-1) did not score until 4:38 remained in the third quarter, when backup quarterback Tyrod Tylor ran in from a yard out.
That made it 27-7, but LSU got those points back when backup quarterback Ryan Perrilloux found Early Doucet wide open for a 34-yard TD. Perrilloux also connected with freshman Terrance Tolliver for a 28-yard score.
The Hokies and their fans received an unusually cordial welcome to 92,000-seat Tiger Stadium after a week in which Miles and LSU team captains published a letter asking fans to be mindful of the shootings at Virginia Tech's campus last April. The venomous chants of "Tiger Bait!" that normally greet visiting team buses outside the stadium were all but muted while many fans clapped respectfully instead.
Shortly before kickoff, the Tiger Stadium crowd stood in applause as public address announcer Dan Borne asked them to "celebrate the resiliency and pride of the Virginia Tech community."
Then a trio of sky divers landed on the field, one flying a banner of Virginia Tech orange and maroon with a red ribbon in the center.
Then, for the first time in the 114 years of football at LSU, the Tiger marching band played Virginia Tech's alma mater before the national anthem.
The Southern hospitality ended there.
LSU bolted to a 14-0 lead in the first nine minutes on methodical drives of 87 and 86 yards. Hester and Flynn capped the Tigers' first two possessions with short rushing touchdowns, while LSU's defense did not allow a first down in the first quarter.
Curtis Taylor put Glennon flat on his back with a sack on a corner blitz three plays into Tech's first drive. The Hokies longest play from scrimmage during the opening 15 minutes was Glennon's eight-yard scramble. On that same drive, LSU safety Craig Steltz intercepted his fourth pass of the young season, giving the Tigers the ball on the Tech 21.
That set up Colt David's 30-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead to open the second quarter.
On LSU's next drive, Williams took an option flip from Flynn, hurdled a tackler before accelerating down the sidelines, then cutting across the field, for his long touchdown.
Glennon lasted one more unproductive drive before Beamer replaced him with more mobile Taylor with about six minutes remaining in the first half.
How college football is handling its COVID-19 protocols one month into the season
The coronavirus pandemic forced college football to reimagine everything about how the sport is conducted. Here's how things are going a month into the season.
Big Ten East college football season preview
Who can take down Ohio State? That is the pressing question in our Big Ten East preview.
Can the Big Ten shake up the College Football Playoff? Answering the biggest questions for the season
A marquee Halloween matchup between Ohio State and Penn State and Jim Harbaugh looking for a breakthrough: There's plenty on the line as the Big Ten kicks off its season on Friday.
Can Trevor Lawrence continue his Heisman push?
Desmond Howard and Andre Ware break down Trevor Lawrence's impressive start to his 2020 season.
Gasparilla Bowl college football game gets new title sponsor
A new title sponsor has been announced for the Gasparilla Bowl.
Michigan State coach Mel Tucker still mum on QB as opener approaches
Michigan State coach Mel Tucker wouldn't announce a starting quarterback on Tuesday, four days before the Spartans open the season against Rutgers, noting, "There's been furious competition at so many positions, including quarterback."