A duo of former Louisiana prep standout defensive backs, Dawan Landry from Hahnville High School and Ronnie Prude from LSU, intercepted passes for touchdowns that helped guide the Ravens to an upset win over the Saints.
“Those rookie puppies from Louisiana really stepped up today,” said Ravens All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis. “In this league, rookies and first year players have to help out as starters, back-ups or on special teams and when we needed a big play they came through for us. I am proud of those two guys, along with the rest of our defense. This win was huge for us today against a really good football team.”
The storyline of the Saints/Ravens game was the dominance of the Baltimore defense, which accounted for five turnovers, four pass interceptions and one fumble recovery.
The stingy Ravens defense which was giving up a paltry 2.7 yards per rush and only 17 yards per game rushing to opponents before the Saints game padded their stats this week by limiting New Orleans to only 35 yards rushing on 14 attempts.
The lack of a strong running game made the Saints basically one-dimensional and heavy pressure came upon quarterback Drew Brees consistently for the first time this season.
Football genius Billick gets credit
Give Ravens head coach Brian Billick full credit also for calling a very strong game on the offensive side of the ball. Billick took over the play-calling duties after firing his longtime friend Jim Fassell last week and the Ravens once-stagnant running game came back to life. Former All-Pro running back Jamal Lewis set the rushing tempo by rushing for 109 yards on 31 carries and veteran quarterback Steve McNair had his best game of the 2006 season by completing 17 of his 23 passes for 159 yards and two scores.
In a nutshell, the Ravens defense dominated play almost from start to finish and anytime you can establish a strong running attack, like Baltimore did with Jamal Lewis, you end up on the winning side of the field.
The Saints losing the giveaway/takeaway ratio five to one just added more misery and frustration to a game which seemed to be more important to win for Baltimore than New Orleans.
One of the few bright spots for the Saints was the receiving efforts of rookie Marques Colston, who caught six passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
The game also signaled the return of the “Beerman” Michael Lewis, who returned six kickoffs for an average of 22.7 yards per runback for the Saints.
Watch out Tigers, here come the Volunteers
This coming Saturday, one of the biggest games of the college football season for LSU will occur when the Tigers face the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville on national television.
The Tigers (6-2) and ranked 13th in the country have played extremely well against some of the lesser talented teams on their schedule, but struggled when they have had to face a big step up in competition against both Auburn and Florida.
This coming week’s game is a defining game for the Tigers and Les Miles when they play 8th ranked Tennessee who sports a 7-1 record.
The Volunteers, like LSU, have had trouble mounting a strong running game and they rely heavily on the passing exploits of quarterback Erik Ainge.
Ainge, a junior from Oregon, has put up numbers very similar to LSU’s JaMarcus Russell, but like the strong-armed Tiger signal-caller, he also has struggled at times with his consistency.
A win against Tennessee would erase some of the ill-markings against this talented LSU club, but for the Tigers to win they need a strong effort out of Russell via the pass. It’s a crucial game in the SEC, but more importantly a very crucial game for JaMarcus Russell and Les Miles to help silence the critics who have questioned their big-game exploits.
Good football teams win tough affairs on the road. For the Tigers to be considered an upper-echelon team in college football in 2006, they cannot come out of Knoxville with another big-game loss.
Just remember, a very talented Arkansas team waits for LSU at season’s end.
A very familiar name will be wearing the purple and gold next season for LSU. Bobby Hebert, III or better known as T-Bob Hebert, the son of former New Orleans Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert will commit to play football for LSU this week.
T-Bob, a 6-3, 280 pound offensive center from Atlanta Christian High School in Georgia, is regarded as one of the top prep centers in America and he has selected the Tigers over Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Boston College and Ole Miss.