Mettenberger shines in spring game

BATON ROUGE — LSU junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger tossed two touchdown passes to lead the White team to a 24-17 victory against the Purple squad in front of approximately 33,000 fans at the annual National L Club Spring Game on Saturday in Tiger Stadium.

Mettenberger led all passers as he completed 14-of-25 attempts for 270 yards. He threw a 49-yard touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on the first play of the second quarter to open the scoring for White. On the next drive in the second quarter, the junior quarterback concluded a seven-play, 84-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Russell Shepard.

White’s Jarvis Landry led all receivers with 120 yards on six catches, including a 54-yard pass from Mettenberger in the first quarter.

Beckham caught three balls for 115 yards, highlighted by a 53-yarder and the 49-yard touchdown, both in the first-half.

White’s Alfred Blue led all rushers with 73 yards on nine carries, and Spencer Ware added 51 yards on eight carries.

Purple’s Kenny Hilliard, a former Patterson High standout, had 40 yards on eight touches, and Jeremy Hill carried six times for 37 yards.

Purple starting quarterback Steven Rivers threw for 75 yards and finished 6-for-17 with an interception.

Placekicker Drew Alleman was 2-for-3 on field goals as he played for both teams. He connected from 47 and 44 yards and added five extra points.

Sam Montgomery, Josh Downs, Luke Muncie and Justin Maclin each had a sack for White, and Lavar Edwards had Purple’s only quarterback takedown.

Before the game, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and multiple Tiger greats, including NFL All-Pro Patrick Peterson, helped commemorate the 2011 season.

“I am really happy that the commissioner found his way down to Baton Rouge to help us celebrate the championship,” LSU head coach Les Miles said. “I thought the crowd was spectacular. We really encouraged them to be here at 12:30 and they were here at noon. Again, another example of how LSU fans love their Tigers.”

As part of the pre-game festivities, Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne were presented with the Bednarik Trophy and the Thorpe Award, respectively. All-Americans Will Blackwell, Sam Montgomery and Brad Wing also were honored, and Miles was presented with the AP Coach of the Year trophy.

In the first quarter of the game, the bulk of White’s 83 total yards came on a Mettenberger 54-yard deep ball to Landry along the right sideline to set them up at the Purple 7-yard line.

However, sophomore defensive back Ronald Martin picked off Mettenberger in the end zone three plays later, and he brought it back 40 yards to the Purple 40.

Purple was unable to cash in on the turnover, though, as Rivers was sacked twice on the ensuing drive.

Mettenberger then began the White onslaught as he connected on touchdown passes to Beckham and Shepard on back-to-back possessions in the second-quarter, before junior safety Eric Reid intercepted a Rivers pass at the White 45 and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 White lead.

White went into halftime with a 24-3 advantage.

Junior running back Tabari Williams capped a 17-play, 75-yard Purple drive with a 1-yard touchdown scamper with 1:07 remaining in the third quarter to reduce the Purple deficit to 24-10 heading into the fourth.

Purple linebacker Lamar Louis then intercepted Mettenberger and returned it to the end zone with 4:45 remaining in the game to conclude the scoring.

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