Unfortunately, close doesn't count. Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns kept pace with the ninth-ranked team in the nation in the first half, but LSU's defense stood tall in the second half and the Tigers pulled away for a 31-3 victory.

The loss was the first of the season for Louisiana (2-1).

A crowd of 92,443 was on hand for just the third meeting between the two schools since 1938. It was the third largest crowd that the Cajuns played in front of and largest in the series with the Tigers (3-0).

After one half of play, the Cajuns were keeping pace with the Tigers. The defense held LSU to 150 yards while the offense gained 127 yards. The Tigers halftime lead was 17-3 - the closest UL had been at the half since the series resumed in 2002.

The Tigers needed only seven plays to add to their lead in the third quarter. Jordan Jefferson found Brandon LaFell for a 20-yard touchdown pass - the second connection of the evening - at 10:53 and it was 24-3.

The Cajuns drove from their own 27-yard line to the Tigers' goaline on their first touch of the second half. Key plays on the drive were a 17-yard keeper by Chris Masson that moved the Cajuns to the LSU 43 yard line and a 23-yard pass hookup from Masson to Ladarius Green that put UL at the 16-yard line.

Another keeper by Masson on second down pushed Louisiana to the LSU 8-yard line. On the next play, Undrea Sails gained five yards to the 3-yard line. Louisiana had four chances to punch into the end zone, but the Tigers got three stops and on the fourth try Sails fumbled the ball after being hit by Harry Coleman.

After that opportunity the LSU defense would not allow the Cajuns to get any further than the LSU 25 yard line the rest of the game and that came on the game's final drive as time ran out.

The Cajuns nearly recorded a safety on the ensuing possession, which could have swung the momentum, but officials ruled that Keiland Williams' forward progress was stopped at the LSU 1-yard line. On the next play, Jefferson got the Tigers out of the shadow of the end zone with a 13-yard completion to Toliver.

The Tigers added a late score when Jarrett Lee threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Charles Scott at 5:48 of the fourth quarter.

For Louisiana, Masson finished 16-of-36 passing for 159 yards. His top target was Green who had six receptions for 64 yards. Sails carried the ball 17 times and netted 48 yards.

For LSU, Jefferson completed 16-of-25 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Terrance Toliver led all Tigers with six receptions for 68 yards. LaFell led the way with two touchdown scores. Scott rushed 12 times for 63 yards.

On the game's opening drive the Cajuns needed just three plays to move into LSU territory, but three straight incomplete passes stalled the drive.

The Cajuns second drive began at the LSU 8 and was a three-and-out. Punting from the end zone the punt sailed to the Cajuns 48 giving the Tigers excellent field position.

At the 6:47 mark, Jefferson went for the home run pass and Gerren Blount picked it off in the end zone to give the Cajuns the ball back just 17 seconds later.

The Cajuns went three-and-out again and the Tigers parlayed that into a touchdown score on the ensuing drive. Jefferson completed a screen pass to LaFell over on the Cajuns sideline for a 16-yard TD strike that capped off a 6 play, 62 yard drive with 3:09 remaining in the first quarter.

After the score, Louisiana worked the ball to midfield, but Masson had a pass intercepted by Chad Jones at the LSU 39 and returned to the Cajuns 23-yard line.

After a personal foul called on UL, at the end of the return, the Tigers were positioned at the 11-yard line. The Tigers needed only one play - a Jefferson option pitch to Trindon Holliday - to up the lead to 14 points a mere eight seconds into the second quarter.

Masson moved the Cajuns to midfield after a pass completion to Marlin Miller. LSU was flagged for a personal foul that bumped the Cajuns 15 yards to the LSU 35. On third down Masson hit Miller again, this time for 10 yards to the LSU 25.

Three plays later Tyler Albrecht converted a 40-yard field goal attempt to put UL on the scoreboard with 11:26 left in the first half.

Louisiana's defense stopped the Tigers in three plays on the next drive. Antwyne Zanders had a key five-yard, tackle-for-loss on third-and-four that pushed the Tigers to their own 17-yard line.

The punt from Derek Helton landed at the UL 45 which marked the Cajuns' best starting field position of the 2009 season. The Cajuns weren't able to take advantage, though, as after a Sails rush for 12 yards on the first play of the drive moved the ball to the Tigers 43 yard line they turned the ball over on downs at 6:18.

LSU converted on third down three times and chewed up the final 6:18 of the opening stanza. All three third down conversions were Jefferson pass completions to Toliver that totaled 29 yards and gradually moved the hosts to the UL 29 yard line.

The Cajuns defense held Jefferson for no gain on first down and on third down Hall Davis sacked him at the 35-yard line ensuring the Tigers would be held to a field goal attempt. Josh Jasper was good from 52 yards out to up LSU's halftime lead to 17-3.

The Ragin' Cajuns will travel to Lincoln, Neb., next week for a meeting with No. 19 Nebraska on Saturday, Sept. 26. The game is set to begin at 6 p.m., at Memorial Stadium on the NU campus with live pay-per-view coverage provide by Fox Sports.