Eastern Michigan quarterback Brogan Roback might as well have served the ball to Deion Jones on a silver platter.
Under heavy pressure from freshman defensive end Arden Key, Roback rolled to his right and threw a side-armed pass while falling to the Tiger Stadium grass. Jones stepped in front of the intended receiver and took the ball the other way for an easy 26-yard touchdown to cap the scoring in LSU’s 44-22 win against the Eagles on Saturday night.
One thought raced through the senior linebacker’s head as he hauled in the interception.
“I was like ‘You can’t miss this,’ ” Jones said, laughing. “I would have been sick if I would have missed that one.”
Jones was one of three Tigers to snag an interception against Eastern Michigan. Sophomore safety Jamal Adams grabbed his second pick of the season early in the second quarter, and freshman cornerback Kevin Toliver II got the first of his career to seal the win and end a long Eagles drive.
But the players were not happy about surrendering 22 points to the overmatched Eagles, even though they gave up just 255 total yards. Adams said the Tigers didn’t play “to our standard of LSU football.”
“As a whole, we’ve just gotta pick it up,” he said. “To the young guys, step up a bit more. To the older guys, make some checks. It’s not really one certain thing that sticks out to me.”
The Eagles had a scoring drive of only 3 yards following an interception. Sophomore defensive tackle Christian LaCouture said “we wore them down a bit” toward the end, and Jones’ interception shut the door on Eastern Michigan’s comeback bid.
When he crossed the goal line and celebrated, he squeezed the ball so hard that it popped out of his grasp. Jones laughed about his touchdown celebration and said it had been a while since he scored.
“I don’t know what I was trying to do, to tell you the truth,” he said, smiling. “So much was going on.”
Louis has concussion
Senior linebacker Lamar Louis left Saturday’s game early in the second quarter. He tweeted Sunday morning that he suffered a concussion.
“I’m good (though),” he tweeted.
Louis played sparingly as the Tigers stuck to their nickel package in response to Eastern Michigan’s spread offense. He picked up two tackles against the Eagles and now has seven tackles this season.
Taking a Gamble
Junior Trent Domingue has the starting place-kicking job locked down, but his duties as kickoff specialist may be up for grabs.
Domingue went 3-of-3 on field goals Saturday and notched his first kick of more than 40 yards this season, but sophomore Cameron Gamble replaced him on kickoffs in the second half after Domingue booted one out of bounds.
Gamble kicked three times for an average of 62 yards after Domingue had six kickoffs at 55.8 yards a pop.
Tigers on the rise
Despite their sluggish performance against Eastern Michigan, LSU cracked the top five of the coaches poll for the first time since Oct. 28, 2012.
The Tigers checked in at No. 5 in the coaches poll and No. 7 in the Associated Press poll, their highest ranking in that poll since 2013.
Three teams ahead of LSU in last week’s coaches poll — No. 5 Ole Miss, No. 6 Georgia and No. 7 Notre Dame — lost Saturday, opening the door for the Tigers to move up. LSU is the highest-ranked SEC team, and this is the first time since 2010 that the league doesn’t have a team in the top five.
Florida climbed 11 spots to No. 12 in the coaches poll and 14 spots to No. 11 in the AP poll following its 38-10 dismantling of the Rebels. The Tigers and Gators square off in Tiger Stadium on Oct. 17.