The LSU Tigers and Oregon Ducks gave us one of the best early season matchups in years, as No. 3 and No. 4 met at a neutral site: Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. Okay, not quite neutral, as the Ducks had about four times further to travel. Oregon didn’t look like their explosive selves early as the score was just 6-3 after the first quarter, but the scoring picked up from there.
At the start of the second quarter, LSU returned a fumbled punt three yards for their first touchdown, setting the tone for the night as they would score 47 points on just 273 yards of offense. Jarrett Lee passed for just 98 yards, but the Tigers used a powerful ground game that totaled 175 yards and four Ducks turnovers.
Oregon was unable to get their vaunted ground game, led by Heisman Trophy candidate LaMichael James, on track the entire game. They finished with 94 yards on the ground, just over one-third their 2010 average, and only managed 3.4 yards per carry. With the offense resting on Darron Thomas’ shoulders, Oregon was too one dimensional. He threw 53 times, but LSU kept the play in front of them all night and held the Ducks to 4.4 yards per pass play.
The end result was a 40-27 final in a game that was not inside of two scores for most of the second half. LSU figures to jump near the top of the polls on Sunday, while Oregon will have to battle back from an opening loss as they did in 2009, losing to Boise but qualifying for the Rose Bowl.