BATON ROUGE, La. - The month following LSU`s only loss of the season has worked out as well as the Tigers could have hoped.
Behind the clutch play of quarterback Matt Flynn, the Tigers (9-1) have won every game since, and everyone ahead of them in the BCS standings lost.
After top-ranked Ohio State was beaten by Illinois and LSU routed Louisiana Tech 58-10 on Saturday, the Tigers are back at No. 1 with a second chance to prove they belong there.
"We enjoy the position. It certainly is a compliment to our team," said coach Les Miles, an Elyria High graduate, member of the Elyria Sports Hall of Fame and a Michigan graduate. "It doesn`t relieve us, certainly, of the responsibility to play this Saturday and thereafter. We appreciate it, but we`ve got more opponents."
When LSU took over as No. 1 on Sept. 30, it marked the first time since 1959 that the Tigers had held the top spot in the poll. It didn`t last long.
After coming back to beat Florida with just over a minute to play in their first game at No. 1, LSU lost the next week at Kentucky in triple overtime after blowing a 13-point second-half lead.
Since then, LSU has beaten Auburn on a last-second touchdown pass, won at Alabama by overcoming a 10-point second-half deficit, and crushed the Bulldogs as expected.
In the process, the Tigers have clinched the Southeastern Conference West Division and an automatic spot in league title game in Atlanta on Dec. 1.
Standing between LSU and a date in BCS championship game in New Orleans are Mississippi on Saturday, followed by Arkansas on Nov. 26 and then the winner of the SEC East, likely Georgia or Tennessee.
LSU is bracing for a challenge every time they take the field, no matter how heavily they may be favored. The Tigers are early 18-point favorites against Mississippi (3-7).
"We know we`re going to get the opponents` best game and we just have to prepare each week and know we`re going to get that," safety Craig Steltz said.
LSU`s offense came up with some big plays against Louisiana Tech, including Flynn`s career-long, 71-yard touchdown pass to freshman Terrance Tolliver.
"He`s coming along real well. He`s getting smarter about it and getting more comfortable," Flynn said of Tolliver. "He`s played enough now where he`s not a freshman anymore."