Ed Orgeron said last week that his defensive coaches had been working on Georgia Southern's tricky, difficult-to-defend triple-option offense since February.

Orgeron smiled when he said it, but he wasn't kidding.

It showed early and often Saturday night in LSU's season-opening beatdown of Georgia Southern in Tiger Stadium when the Tigers' defense executed the game plan to perfection.

Attacking from the start, the Tigers held the Eagles to just two first downs and 7 total yards in the first quarter of a 55-3 blowout win — and they didn't let up.

Dave Aranda's defense also forced two turnovers in the first four series against a Georgia Southern offense that gave it away just five times in 13 games a year ago, and LSU's new high-powered offense quickly converted both into touchdowns.

"I told the team, 'I know you guys are going to play great' ... and they did," Orgeron said. "There was no sign of let-up, there was no sign of not being focused.

"I don't think our coaching staff could have done better," he added. "I don't think our players could have played any better."

While everyone who came to Tiger Stadium was eager to see offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and first-year passing coordinator Joe Brady take the wraps off the new spread offense, the defense did its usual workmanlike job.

Georgia Southern, which had 35 touchdowns on the ground and averaged 266.2 rushing yards a game last season to rank seventh in the FBS, never had a chance Saturday night.

The Eagles, who were out-gained 189-7 in a disastrous first quarter, finished a tough evening with 98 total yards — just 74 coming on the ground.

They had 39 attempts against the Tigers, managing a meager 1.9 yards per carry.

"Coach 'O' has talked about it for two weeks," said defensive end Rashard Lawrence, who had a sack and a forced fumble. "We had to get guys on the dive (play) and the quarterback on the pitch.

"Coach said if we did that, we would make them a one-dimensional team."

Georgia Southern's season-low rushing total in a 10-3 season last fall was 80 yards when it ran the ball 43 times in a 38-7 setback to eventual national champion Clemson.

The Eagles finished that game with just 140 total yards, but went on to put up six 300-yard rushing games while averaging 5.4 yards for the season.

"You have to do your job against this offense," said inside linebacker Damone Clark, a former Southern Lab star who made the first start of his two-year career. "If you're not disciplined, you're going to hurt the team."

Showing that they studied well, the LSU defense set the tone from the start.

The Tigers stalked shifty quarterback Shai Werts on the first two drives, holding the Eagles to 4 yards on three carries on the first series.

On the next possession, LSU dropped Werts, who left the game twice in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, for a 3-yard loss before forcing two errant passes.

"Coach Aranda and the defensive coaches, they had a great scheme and put us in position to make plays," All-American safety Grant Delpit said. "He (Aranda) stays up late at night."

Georgia Southern wound up with eight three-and-outs on their 13 possessions.

Inside linebacker Jacob Phillips recorded a team-high 10 tackles and Clark finished with a career-high nine, while outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson and Lawrence each forced a fumble in the first half.

"I take my hat off to the coaches," Clark said. "The coaches have been grinding on this (Georgia Southern) offense. They put in the game plan and we executed it."

Email Sheldon Mickles at smickles@theadvocate.com