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LSU 40, Oregon 27: LSU Reminds the Pollsters Not to Forget About the Tigers

Les Miles gets mocked enough for his decision-making that it's worth pointing out one thing that he and his staff got absolutely right against Oregon on Saturday. With Jordan Jefferson out and Jarrett Lee taking the snaps, the Tigers decided not to run too many risks with Lee. In fact, the Tigers were content to run the ball over and over again -- 48 times, compared to just 22 pass attempts.

And by the time it was over, and Spencer Ware had 99 yards on 26 carries while Michael Ford had 96 yards on 14 rushes, LSU had once again inserted itself into the national championship conversation. The Tigers' stock, which had taken a hit when Jefferson and other players got involved in a bar brawl, could open Tuesday at an all-time high.

After all, the Bayou Bengals took down last year's runner-up for the national title by a fairly impressive margin in spite of the questions about their passing game. LSU held the potent Oregon offense to a relatively pedestrian 335 yards; LaMichael James managed 54 yards on 18 carries for the Ducks, those numbers overshadowed by his team-leading receiving contribution (61 yards). QB Darron Thomas, a fringe Heisman contender last year, finished with a 97.15 passer rating after going 31-of-54 for 240 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

There are plenty of land mines remaining in LSU's path before its season-defining clash with Alabama on Nov. 5. But the most daunting obstacle appeared to be the game against Oregon. That's now taken care of, and the Tigers have a blueprint for victory, whether or not they get Jordan Jefferson back anytime soon.