BATON ROUGE, La. -- Say what you want about the name LSU is facing this week, but LSU coach Les Miles knows his team won't play a more accomplished running back this season than Towson's Terrance West.
He set an NCAA FCS freshman record with 29 rushing touchdowns last season for the Tigers and has continued that torrid pace with five more in the first three games for Towson (2-1), ranked No. 12 in the FCS's Sports Network poll.
"He's a talented player," Miles said. "He's elusive, has good ball skills."
While Towson is the only FCS team LSU will face, West, who has 251 rushing yards this season, is an example of why the Tigers won't necessarily be the worst team the Tigers play. Towson won the Colonial Athletic Association, arguably the strongest FCS conference, a season ago. The CAA has put teams in the FCS championship game in seven of the last nine seasons.
Highly-ranked FCS teams have given LSU trouble before, like Appalachian State in a 24-0 LSU win in 2005. It's not unusual for ranked FCS opponents to upset FBS programs, most notably the Appaliachian State upset of Michigan in 2007. Idaho, an FBS team LSU beat 63-14 two weeks ago, lost to FCS power Eastern Washington 20-3 in its season opener.
LSU has evidently harped on that to its players.
While running back Spencer Ware said he didn't know where Towson was from (answer: just outside Baltimore), he did say he's learned this:
"They get a lot of big-time players," he said. "Some guys who transfer from big-time schools."
Keeping it secure: While there's been much talk about five costly turnovers that have haunted LSU this season, you can't blame the running backs.
Of the three fumbles LSU has lost this season, not one has been lost by a running back in 173 touches.
"We count on running backs to run the ball, have ball security and get yards," Miles said. "It's important that Ware, and the guys who carry the ball, including (Michael) Ford and Kenny (Hilliard), run with that kind of ball security. I can't imagine that it's going to change and I think coach (Frank) Wilson does a great job really instituting a regimen of ball security that we follow week-in and week-out."
Edwards takes blame: Miles said he wanted an explanation from SEC officials on a personal foul called on defensive end Lavar Edwards at the end of a Luke Muncie interception in last week's 12-10 win over Auburn.
Edwards, later said he did, indeed, inadvertently hit AU quarterback Kiehl Frazier late on the play. On the play, Edwards pressured Frazier, lightly pushing Frazier just as he released the pass that was intercepted by Muncie in front of tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen. That didn't earn a penalty.
"I saw Luke catch the interception," Edwards said. "To me, it looked like he was going to come back from the pile (with a return)."
So he turned around and blocked Frazier, which would have been fine, except what he missed behind him. Muncie was brought down by Lutzenkirchen almost as soon as he caught the ball.
"They blew it dead, then I blocked him," Edwards said, meaning the officials made the right call. At the time, Edwards said he thought he had made a legal block on Frazier, but after reviewing it, "it was later than I thought."
LSU had nine penalites for 80 yards against Auburn, an issue Miles has vowed to correct this week.