(AP) Jeremy Hill burst across the line of scrimmage untouched, sprinted past pursuing defensive backs and galloped a career-long 58 yards for a score to quickly cap LSU's opening drive.
The play was a preview. Kent State was overmatched all night in its first trip to Death Valley. Hill had 117 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries before the second quarter had ended, and the eighth-ranked Tigers cruised to a 45-13 victory on Saturday night.
Zach Mettenberger enjoyed a third productive outing in as many games for LSU (3-0), connecting on 13 of 18 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns.
Two of Mettenberger's scoring strikes went to Jarvis Landry, whose total of five TD catches already this season exemplifies how much the Tigers' air attack has improved under first-year offensive coordinator and former NFL coach Cam Cameron. Landry had five touchdown catches all of last season.
The Tiger Stadium crowd of 89,113 filed out steadily during the second half of what was LSU's final tuneup before its Southeastern Conference schedule begins. Auburn, which beat Mississippi State 24-20 to improve to 3-0, visits next Saturday.
Kent State had given up nearly 600 yards in a loss a week earlier to Bowling Green, so there was a chance it would only get worse for the Golden Flashes down on the bayou.
LSU covered a five-touchdown point spread against UAB the previous week, and might have done so again against Kent State if not for coach Les Miles' decision to run out the clock deep in Golden Flashes territory.
Mettenberger hit Odell Backham Jr. five times for 76 yards, including a 5-yard TD in the second half. Fullback Connor Neighbors turned a short catch in the right flat into a 52-yard gain on his only reception. Terrence Magee rushed nine times for 108 yards, scoring the Tigers' final touchdown on a 12-yard run.
Landry's first touchdown came on a leaping catch in a crowd on a ball Mettenberger threw under pressure from 21 yards out. Landry's second score came after what would have been Hill's third TD of the first half was wiped out by an illegal block. Mettenberger hit Landry cutting across the middle, and the receiver easily turned the corner near the right sideline to complete a 31-yard scoring play that made it 31-7 in the second quarter.
Reardon completed 20 of 29 passes for 190 yards, ran for a short touchdown and was not intercepted. However, the Golden Flashes (1-2) allowed at least 570 yards for a second straight week and never threatened after falling behind 21-0.
Kent State's only touchdown came on a 2-yard end run by Reardon earlier in the second quarter. Anthony Melchiori's 37-yard field goal made it 31-10 shortly before halftime.
Reardon was sacked twice, once each by D.J. Welter (the first of his career) and Ego Ferguson.