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 BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -Les Miles wants his new quarterbacks to be tested.
Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee were under minimal pressure in the seventh-ranked Tigers' season opener against Appalachian State two weeks ago.
The Tigers gained 266 yards rushing in 41-13 victory against the Mountaineers, led by Charles Scott's 160 yards and two touchdowns, and probably could have won the game without throwing at all.
Miles thought he would have two more games to see what his top two quarterbacks could do before LSU opened its Southeastern Conference schedule at Auburn on Sept. 20, but Hurricane Gustav forced the postponement of last weekend's game against Troy until Nov. 15. That left only Saturday's home date with North Texas on the schedule before the Tigers open SEC play.
``We want to throw the ball down the field more than we did'' against Appalachian State, Miles said this week. ``We're ready to take the next step.''
transfer, got the start in the opener, but Lee, a redshirt freshman, saw a lot of action as well. While Hatch had only thrown two passes at LSU before this season and Lee had never taken a snap in a game, both were thrust into the competition for starter this spring after Ryan Perrilloux's dismissal.
Hatch threw only 14 passes in the opener, completing seven for 77 yards and a TD. Lee was 6-of-10 for 116 yards, two TDs and one interception.
Miles was so eager to get them more work before the Auburn game that LSU was prepared to move the North Texas game to Texas if Hurricane Ike threatened Baton Rouge. As it turned out, Ike headed toward Houston and LSU was able to get Tiger Stadium cleared of damage from Gustav in time to keep the game at home.
Baton Rouge remains in cleanup mode from Gustav and some areas around Baton Rouge were still waiting to get power back this week, but officials decided the state capital was the best place to play the game and the Tigers were hoping to turn in the type of performance that would put Louisiana's storm-weary football fans in a better mood.
``We'll be excited just to get back on the field. I hope we'll be able to respond well,'' Hatch said. ``We have to keep our focus. We hope to provide some good distractions for the people in the state.''
e opener against Tulsa last weekend.
Still, Mean Green head coach Todd Dodge said he's seen improvement in his club during the past two games and only hopes there won't be a regression when his players get in front of 90,000 or so fans in Death Valley.
``We can't get enthralled by the surroundings and everything we'll be facing from the crowd,'' Dodge said. ``What we need to focus on is ourselves and achieving small goals and not getting caught up with how good LSU is.
``We need to just turn it loose and compete as hard as we can.''
Whatever North Texas does may not be enough. LSU has won 15 straight non-conference games and 30 of its last 32 contests in Tiger Stadium. The two losses came in overtime against Tennessee in 2005 and Arkansas late last season.
UNT quarterback Giovanni Vizza has proven he can be effective, having compiled nearly 2,400 yards passing as a freshman last season. But LSU once again has a ferocious defensive line which won't give Vizza much time to find a receiver.
Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards, considered one of the best scramblers in college football, completed only 13 of 31 passes against LSU for 155 yards and was sacked twice. He rushed for only 23 yards and had his helmet dislodged on hard hits twice.
ulsa, with 203 coming on the ground.
``The key is what they've done to a very capable Tulsa team,'' Miles said. ``That is a very capable offense. ... Our football team needs to get better, and we're fortunate to have a game we can look forward to and point to.''
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