|North Texas had a hard time tracking down Jarvis Landry and the LSU receivers. (Getty Images)|
LSU WON. Of course they did. After a week in which LSU had their practice, class, and personal schedules all badly disrupted by Hurricane Isaac, the Tigers could be forgiven for not being entirely focused on a light hors d'oeuvres like the Mean Green--and after taking a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter, they arguably weren't.
But until that point, the Tigers were their usual ruthless selves, getting 100-yard outings from both tailbacks Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue and an efficient debut from new starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger (19-of-26, 192 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception).
WHY LSU WON. They're LSU, and they were playing North Texas. In this case, it might not just be sports cliche: all they really did have to do was show up.
But the Tigers nonetheless answered a few lingering questions to the positive in the process. Would they still be able to have a threatening punt return game without Tyrann Mathieu? Odell Beckham Jr. returned a punt 70 yards for a score. Would they be able to throw deep without Rueben Randle? Kadron Boone and Jarvis Landry both went deep with regularity ,Boone hauling in a 34-yard touchdown pass. Would there be any problems defensively after Mathieu's dismissal? North Texas went three-and-out on their first six possessions.
Maybe most encouraging of all was the Tigers' running back duo: Hilliard has lost weight this past offseason and looked every bit the SEC-caliber feature back (10.8 yards per carry), while Blue -- the Tigers' fourth option in 2011 -- made good on Miles's recent praise by being nearly as explosive himself.
They'll have to prove it all over again when they play a non-Sun Belt opponent, and that UNT actually managed to score a pair of touchdowns may stick in the Tigers' craw. But we can't imagine LSU fans would have wanted much more Saturday.
WHEN LSU WON. As soon as they had 11 players arrive at the stadium, thus avoiding forfeit.
WHAT LSU WON. The right to call themselves a top-three team for another week (though Alabama may leapfrog them for No. 2) at least, and there weren't any major injuries. Les Miles will take it.
WHAT NORTH TEXAS LOST. Not a thing, assuming the check clears. 14 points and a non-embarrassing loss was as much as Dan McCarney could really hope for.