Zach Mettenberger got the biggest ovation from the crowd when he was introduced before Saturday’s Spring Game in Tiger Stadium.
A few imperfections aside, he did not disappoint.
Mettenberger completed 14-of-25 passes for 270 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, frequently airing the ball out deep as he led the White Team to a 24-17 victory over the Purple.
Mettenberger threw touchdown passes of 49 yards to Odell Beckham Jr. and 19 yards to Russell Shepard. Safety Eric Reid also picked off Purple quarterback Stephen Rivers and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown.
Mettenberger has three passes of 49, 53 and 54 yards, but did get picked off in the end zone by sophomore Ronald Martin when he under-lobbed a pass for Shepard. An obviously irritated Mett then raced 40 yards downfield to make the shoestring tackle, a moment that certainly had to give LSU coach Les Miles a fear-induced lump in his throat.
“In a game, certainly,” Miles said. “In practice, he’d better not.
“But he’s fiery. That’s who he is.”
Late in the game, freshman linebacker Lamar Louis (a midterm enrollee in January) grabbed a pass from Mettenberger that hit tight end Tyler Edwards in the hands, pulling it out of midair and racing 74 yards for the game’s final score.
Drew Alleman – working both sides of the field – kicked a 43-yard field goal for the Purple and a 47-yarder for the White after missing from 44 yards for the Purple earlier.
Stephen Rivers, quarterbacking the Purple Team, was 6-of-17 for 75 yards going against the No. 1 defense with an interception by safety Eric Reid. Fellow redshirt freshman Jerrard Randall played in the second half with clock running, completing 3-of-4 passes for 24 yards and rushing four times for a net 27 yards.
The White Team’s Alfred Blue led all rushers with nine carries for 73 yards, while teammate Spencer Ware had eight carries for 51. Kenny Hilliard led the Purple Team with eight carries for 40 yards, followed by freshman Jeremy Hill with six for 37.
Jarvis Landry had a big day receiving for the White team with a game-high six catches for 120 yards, while Beckham had three for 115. Armand Williams led the Purple Team with four catches for 43 yards.
And, just in case you’re already looking ahead, LSU opens the regular season five months from Sunday, Sept. 1 against North Texas right back in Tiger Stadium.