BATON ROUGE, La. -- If you wanted pretty, Tiger Stadium has not been the place to be.
Zach Mettenberger threw two touchdowns, but also a red zone interception and took two sacks. The LSU defense gave up a long touchdown drive and was bailed out only by an interception return for touchdown.
It added up to an ugly 28-14 lead for No. 3 LSU over winless Idaho.
Stat of the half: Three, the number of game-changing interceptions. Ronald Martin intercepted two passes, one to set up an LSU touchown and another returned 45 yards for another touchdown. And, in what's been the play of the game so far, Mettenberger threw a red zone pass right into the arms of Gary Walker of Idaho at the 1, who returned it 94 yards to the LSU 5 to set up a Vandals touchdown.
The Tigers were driving to take a three-score lead when Mettenberger threw the interception and instead found themselves in a competitive game.
Player of the half: Martin, who started for an ailing Craig Loston at strong safety and had the two interceptions of Dominique Blackman, who was otherwise effective, throwing for 99 yards on 12-for-15 passing. A high honorable mention goes to cornerback Jalen Collins, who deflected both passes into the arms of Martin.
What's working for LSU: The Tigers' coverage of Idaho's receivers has been good, keeping Vandals passes short. LSU has mostly shut down the Idaho running game.
What's not working for LSU: The Tigers aren't getting to Blackman, who's finding the time to pick the Tigers apart.
LSU's running game is 3.7 yards a carry (18-67), two yards a carry below its average for the season. Alfred Blue, who had back-to-back 100-yard rushing games entering the night, had just 37 yards on nine carries.