BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- With a running game like LSU's, maybe it doesn't matter who plays quarterback.
Charles Scott rushed for a career-high 160 yards on 16 carries, including touchdowns of 8 and 29 yards, and No. 7 LSU rolled to 41-13 victory over Appalachian State on Saturday.
LSU coach Les Miles finally answered the question of who his starting quarterback would be when Harvard transfer Andrew Hatch took the field on the Tigers' opening three series, which produced 17 points. Miles also gave redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee a chance to run the show. Both threw their first touchdown passes as Tigers, but the real damage was done while they handed off.
LSU finished with 266 yards rushing. Hatch was 7-of-14 passing for 77 yards, including a 17-yard TD to Demetrius Byrd. He also ran for 43 yards. Lee was 6-of-10 for 116 yards with scoring passes of 31 and 39 yards to Brandon LaFell. Lee also threw an interception that set up a Mountaineers' field goal.
As Hurricane Gustav approached the Gulf Coast, kickoff was moved up from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. so the game would end well before authorities planned to initiate one-way traffic along major evacuation routes away from Louisiana's coast. With LSU leading big and the midday sun baking the stands, Tiger Stadium looked deserted by the end of the third quarter.
This matchup between the national champions of college football's top two tiers only served to highlight the gaps in size, speed and talent between the Bowl Subdivision and the Championship Subdivision, much unlike the Mountaineers' captivating 34-32 triumph at Michigan a year ago.
LSU quickly squashed any notion Appalachian State had of using Death Valley to stage an encore to their upset at the Big House a year ago. The Tigers raced to a 31-0 lead in the opening half and maintained a comfortable lead as reserves filtered in the rest of the way.
LSU's offensive line outweighed Appalachian State's front four by an average of nearly 60 pounds. They opened up a huge hole on the Tigers' first play from scrimmage, through which Scott ran for a 56-yard gain to the Mountaineers' 8, setting up his first TD.
Appalachian State's vaunted spread offense, which averaged nearly 43 points per game last season, looked spread thin against an LSU defense that augmented its ferocious front four with relentless blitzing.
Mountaineers star quarterback Armanti Edwards played into the fourth quarter, finishing 13-of-31 for 155 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked only twice, but repeatedly clobbered on designed runs or as he released hurried throws.
On Appalachian State's second drive, Edwards was forced to duck for cover when swarmed over in the backfield by lineman Marlon Favorite and blitzing linebacker Darry Beckwith. Edwards' helmet was jarred loose twice in the first half. He was lucky his head didn't go with it on a designed run that was stopped in its tracks by safeties Harry Coleman and Danny McCray. Edwards' helmet landed nearly five yards downfield after the hit.
The Mountaineers didn't score until 6:06 remained in the third quarter, when Edwards found Robert Welton deep down the middle for a 44-yard score.