NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – LSU had its first “normal” week in a season disrupted because of hurricanes, and wound up with a game that was anything but regular until the final quarter.

JaMarcus Russell threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns and Joseph Addai ran for 102 yards and a TD, and No. 11 LSU beat Vanderbilt 34-6 Saturday night, keeping the Commodores from their best start since 1950.

The Tigers (3-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) limited the league’s second-best offense to 138 yards, sacked Jay Cutler four times, intercepted him twice and knocked him down early and often. Vanderbilt had been averaging 442.6 yards.

LSU rolled up 479 yards of offense but struggled with four turnovers, a variety of stumbles and bad bounces that included a 46-yard field goal attempt off the left upright and another wide right. But the Tigers put away the victory with 25 unanswered points.

The Commodores (4-2, 2-1) had not started 5-1 or 3-0 in the SEC since 1950. A victory would have kept the league’s perennial cellar dweller in a tie with No. 5 Georgia atop the SEC Eastern Division.

This was the Tigers’ first game this season that hadn’t been postponed, moved, delayed or played on a short week because of either Hurricane Katrina or Rita.

LSU had a full week to prepare and led only 9-6 late in the third quarter despite having half the crowd wearing purple.

The Tigers finally wore down Vanderbilt’s defense and started putting the victory away with Chris Jackson’s 36-yard field goal with 2:29 left in the third for a 12-6 lead. Addai capped a 61-yard drive with a 2-yard run for a 20-6 lead early in the fourth, then Russell tossed an 8-yard TD pass to Early Doucet for a 27-6 lead off a 65-yard drive.

Ali Highsmith capped the scoring by picking up a fumble and running in from 22 yards.

Russell finished 21 of 32 with an interception and a fumble.

Cutler was 11-of-32 for 113 yards.

LSU opened the game with Russell throwing the ball almost better than he did last week in completing 21 of 24 against Mississippi State. He drove the Tigers down the field, going 3-of-4 for 77 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Bowe.

When Chase Pittman sacked Cutler in the end zone on Vanderbilt’s second possession for a 9-0 lead, it looked as if LSU was well on its way to its fifth straight victory in the series.

But the Tigers turned the ball over three times in the first half, the first by David Jones after a catch. Bryant Hahnfeldt kicked a 36-yard field goal to pull the Commodores within 9-3. He added a career-long 48-yarder early in the third that made it 9-6.

Even when the Tigers had chances to score early, nothing went right.

Chris Jackson’s 47-yard field goal attempt late in the second quarter bounced off the left upright. LaRon Landry gave him another chance by intercepting a Cutler pass with 18 seconds left. But Jackson’s kick went wide left.

AP-ES-10-08-05 2247EDT


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