BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana State freshman quarterback Tommy Hodson apparently wasn't phased by opening his college football career against seventh-ranked Texas A&M. Playing in noisy Tiger Stadium, however, was a little distressing.
"I'm still nervous. I guess that's normal when you go in front of 80,000 people," Hodson said after throwing two touchdown passes to pace the 14th-ranked Tigers to a 35-17 victory over the Aggies Saturday night.
"Tommy worked hard, but he kept the game in perspective," LSU Coach Bill Arnsparger said. "He said good or bad, he would still be here on Sunday."
While Hodson directed the offense, the ball-hawking LSU defense intercepted five passes to scuttle Texas A&M's hopes of a comeback in the season opener for both teams.
"In the first series, I think we were in awe of Texas A&M, not in the sense that we were afraid of them, but we had a question about our team," linebacker Ron Sancho said.
Texas A&M had the upper hand through much of the first half. But LSU, playing before a roaring crowd of 79,713, the second-largest in Tiger Stadium history, took the lead for good at 21-17 on Harvey Williams' one-yard run in the third period.
The first of Kevin Guidry's two interceptions set up a 5-yard Hodson scoring pass to Brian Kinchen that gave LSU an 11-point lead, and Michael Brooks ran 36 yards with another interception in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.
"We made a lot of mistakes, but they made the big plays offensively," Texas A&M Coach Jackie Sherrill said.
Quarterback Kevin Murray, who completed 24 of 35 passes for 209 yards but yielded 4 of the interceptions, gave A&M a 14-7 lead with passes of 5 yards to Shea Walker and 13 yards to Rod Bernstine.
Hodson, who sat out last season because of an arm injury, completed 15 of 22 passes for 193 yards.
Roger Vick, the 220-pound senior fullback who is A&M's top returning rusher, needed 21 carries to gain 63 yards against an LSU defense when allowed the Aggies 143 yards in 42 rushes.