Like everything else in this short game week, LSU has had to condense it's "24-hour rule." The Tigers usually allow themselves 24 hours after a victory to enjoy it before moving on to their next opponent.

But since the next opponent - Mississippi State in a Southeastern Conference opener - is looming Thursday night in Starkville, Miss., LSU has had to speed up the timetable coming off the 49-3 victory against Northwestern State on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

"I think we'll treat (Sunday) as a regular Monday practice," cornerback Tyrann Mathieu said. "It is really all about us knowing what we have to do and being the most physical of the two teams on the field. We can and we will do that."

Everything has to be moved up during the condensed week as the Tigers will be traveling on Wednesday.

"With the game being this Thursday, we have to increase and speed up everything," wide receiver Rueben Randle said. "SEC is a different kind of football and we all know that. We'll be ready."

Mettenberger fares well

Sophomore quarterback Zach Mettenberger received good reviews for his debut. He played the entire second half and completed 8 of 11 for 92 yards and his first touchdown.

"He did a great job," Randle said. "He went out and executed the plays real well. He wasn't nervous at all. He went out there and was gun-slinging like we expected him to do."

Mettenberger nearly went into the game in the first quarter after starter Jarrett Lee emerged from a sack with a sore ankle.

"They held him out in the second half, and I got to run with the ones in the third quarter," Mettenberger said.

"That's what I dreamed of as a kid, and to finally go out there in front of a big crowd and go out there and score on my first drive ever was a lot of fun.

"I think me and Jarrett are definitely two similar quarterbacks and we work well together. I'm the backup, but at any time I can go in. I prepare every week like I'm going to start."

Randle "way better"

Randle, who had the second 100-yard receiving game of his career, said his sore knee benefited greatly from him sitting out practice last week. He caught just one pass - a 10-yard touchdown - against Oregon, but had five catches for 121 yards against Northwestern State.

"It felt way better," Randle said. "Last week, it was real tender and sore. They sat me out and let me rest this week, and I had more strength in it."

Randle said he also benefited from the Demons playing more man-to-man defense than the Ducks played.

"They were more of a man team," Randle said, "and when we play a man team there's more of an emphasis on getting me the ball."

AP drops LSU, State

The Tigers' game at Mississippi State on Thursday night still pairs two ranked teams, but not teams as highly ranked as they were going into the weekend.

In the new Associated Press poll released Sunday, LSU dropped from No. 2 to No. 3 as Alabama moved up after its 27-11 victory at Penn State. It's the second week in a row that the Tigers and the Tide swapped places.

The Bulldogs dropped from No. 16 to No. 25 after their 41-34 loss at Auburn.

Out of the Blue

Alfred Blue, who had just one carry against Oregon, wound up having the most carries against Northwestern State. He ran 15 times for 53 yards and a touchdown. Michael Ford had 13 rushes, Jakhari Gore seven and Spencer Ware six.

"I believe Blue is a very hard runner," Ford said. "I believe he's got speed, too. He's a mixture between (Ford and Ware). He's a very big guy, so he can run between the tackles and he can run to the outside.

"I'm definitely glad for him. I'm glad for Spence. I'm glad for Blue. I'm glad for Gore. I'm glad for all the guys. We take pride in everybody being able to get in.

That's our motto."

Brockers reminds of Nevis

Tackle Michael Brockers' defensive teammates were marveling at his diving, one-handed interception against Northwestern State, comparing it to an interception made by defensive tackle Drake Nevis against Mississippi State last season.

"He was jumping those passes all week in practice," Mathieu said. "You practice the way you're going to play."

"I believe all of our tackles could have made that play," end Sam Montgomery said, "but it was definitely an amazing play."

Home sweet home

LSU's home opener against the Demons was its only home game in September. The Tigers don't play at home again until Kentucky visits Oct. 1.

"That place is special," LSU coach Les Miles said. "When you walk out on that field, if you don't bring some intensity with you, that place calls it out of you. I think our team enjoyed that venue. We're only going to be in this place six times this year. That's one. We're going to relish it and play well and fight like hell (in Tiger Stadium)."

After visiting Mississippi State on Thursday, LSU plays at West Virginia on Sept. 24.


Mettenberger wasn't the only Tiger to make his debut Saturday. The others were Gore, OL La'El Collins, C Ben Domingue, LT Chris Davenport, TE Travis Dickson, WR Jarrett Fobbs, WR Armand Williams, FB Connor Neighbors, DE Jordan Allen, and LB D.J. Welter. ... True freshman WR Odell Beckham made his first start. ... Miles said there is competition for handling kickoffs. D.J. Howard averaged 62.5 yards on eight kickoffs against Northwestern State. A week earlier Drew Alleman averaged 60.1 on eight kickoffs.

Advocate sportswriter Scott Hotard and The Associated Press contributed to this report.