In Saturday’s Southeastern Conference game with Auburn, the LSU defense allowed just 260 total yards with two takeaways and five sacks and held Auburn’s once-formidable offense scoreless in the first half.
But the only number that mattered to defensive tackle Davon Godchaux was 41, the number of points Auburn hung on the scoreboard last Oct. 4 in shredding LSU in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“They scored 41 points on us,” Godchaux said. “I told every guy today. I looked at Leonard (Fournette) and Rickey (Jefferson) and I said, ‘Forty-one … they scored 41 on us, let’s go.’ ”
LSU did, especially on offense.
Fournette rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries to power the 13th-ranked Tigers to a 45-21 win in steamy Tiger Stadium in a game that really wasn’t that close.
Godchaux and his defensive teammates certainly did their part in the blowout, helping LSU build leads of 24-0 at halftime and 38-7 late in the third quarter before closing it out.
Godchaux had two of LSU’s five sacks. Strong safety Jamal Adams had an interception, and defensive tackle Frank Herron had a sack of quarterback Jeremy Johnson that resulted in a forced fumble which Fournette turned into one of his three TDs.
While Godchaux drew on last year’s embarrassing showing at Auburn when LSU gave up 566 total yards — including 304 on the ground — defensive end Tashawn Bower, who shared one of the five sacks Saturday with linebacker Deion Jones, said it was just a matter of being ready to play.
“We just came out and played like it was the next team,” Bower said. “We respect them, and they respect us. We know they’re a great physical, fast team and we played lights out. We did our job as a team.”
Jefferson, who is filling in for an injured Jalen Mills, recorded the other sack for LSU, which now has eight in its first two games after having just 19 in 13 games a year ago.
“It definitely feels great to get the sacks, but it’s about making big plays, tackles, tackles for loss,” Bower said. “Any time it helps the team win and it helps the team be successful is great.”
Jefferson said the added pressure from the defensive line and linebackers, especially a strong push from the front four, is appreciated.
“They’re helping us tremendously,” said Jefferson, who had six tackles to go with his sack. “That’s how Jamal was able to get that pick. We’re getting a lot of pressure from the guys up front, even the younger guys. They’re coming fired up and getting off the ball.”
Johnson launched a deep ball for wide receiver D’haquille Williams, who was matched up with freshman cornerback Kevin Tolliver, but Adams came over the top to help out and picked the ball off.
“In the formation they were in, they wanted to single-up and go at Kevin,” Adams said. “I was in the middle of the field and kind of baited (Johnson), then rolled over the top. I just had to keep my eyes on the ball and finish the play.”
Adams, who recorded the first interception of his two-year career, also gave credit to the offense for helping keep them off the field.
LSU, which rushed for 411 yards, was 6-of-11 on third downs and controlled the ball for more than 33½ minutes.
“That definitely helps us,” Adams said. “They helped keep us off the field. We were making adjustments on the sideline, and when we got back out there, we knew what they were going to do.”
In the end, LSU got what it wanted.
“We don’t take pride in losing … we hate to lose,” Jones said. “We’re a bunch of sore losers in that locker room, especially losing the way we did to them last year. That kind of fueled us and helped us prepare for this week.”
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter: @MicklesAdvocate.