ATLANTA — Richard Dickson believes LSU lost more than a spot in the Top 25 when it lost five games one year after winning the national championship.
Dickson says the Tigers regained some respect with Wednesday night's 38-3 victory over Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
"Things didn't go the way we wanted this year and people didn't respect us," said Dickson, a junior tight end. "We wanted to come back and earn their respect."
Charles Scott ran for three touchdowns, freshman quarterback Jordan Jefferson completed his first nine passes and LSU made big plays on special teams in the lopsided win over the 14th-ranked Yellow Jackets.
LSU outscored Georgia Tech 28-0 in the second quarter and led 35-3 at halftime. Scott, who had 65 yards rushing, had two touchdowns in the decisive period.
LSU (8-5) regrouped after losing three of its last four regular-season games.
Jefferson, making only his second start, was 16-of-25 for 142 yards and a touchdown. He added nine carries for 33 yards.
"He played like a veteran," receiver Trindon Holliday said. "He's young, but he didn't play like it. I think we found ourselves a quarterback."
Jefferson said he took advantage of the extra practice time that comes with a bowl appearance.
"I felt more prepared to execute the offense," he said. "I'm proud of my performance and the team's performance as well."
The biggest special teams plays fell in LSU's favor. LSU recovered an onside kick and a Georgia Tech fumbled punt return, and stopped the Yellow Jackets' surprising fake punt from Tech's 22.
"We have some pretty nifty special teams guys," LSU coach Les Miles said. "We felt like we needed to maybe steal some possessions and keep the ball away from their offense."
LSU turned the fumbled punt and stop on the fake punt into quick touchdowns.
"We know we can do it," said Dickson, who had a 25-yard touchdown catch. "We can beat anybody. We just had to come out and put it all together."
As if to affirm its mastery of special teams, LSU pulled off a successful fake punt in the fourth quarter, with punter Brady Dalfrey running for 21 yards to pick up the first down. LSU led 38-3 when Miles called for the fake, and Georgia Tech fans booed the decision.
"We've kind of had that fake ready to go for a while," Miles said. "End of the season, we were getting itchy."
Georgia Tech (9-4) was denied its first 10-win season since 1998.
"I think the turning point in the game was when we lined it up and kicked it off," coach Paul Johnson said.
Johnson wasn't kidding.
The opening kickoff by Scott Blair bounced out of bounds, setting the stage for what Johnson called "the worst special teams game I can remember."
The Yellow Jackets had three turnovers, including a fumble by quarterback Josh Nesbitt on a fourth-down run from the LSU 10 with 2:37 remaining.
"We got outplayed," Johnson said. "We got outcoached. It was a good beating."
Scott scored on runs of 1, 2 and 4 yards. Backup tailback Keiland Williams added an 18-yard touchdown run with 1:27 left in the first half.
The Tigers' defense, a weakness most of the season, was rarely fooled by Georgia Tech's spread option attack.
Nesbitt completed a pass to running back Jonathan Dwyer for 40 yards on the Yellow Jackets' first play, but that was the only first down of the opening drive.
The Yellow Jackets held the ball for 13 plays on their next drive, but LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson deflected a third-down pass and Georgia Tech had to settle for Scott Blair's 24-yard field goal.
"It just went downhill from there," said Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson, who said LSU was effective in seizing the momentum.
"When you get a team down, you have to put your foot on their throat. The second quarter just doomed us. That's a physical team. ... This was embarrassing."
Nesbitt was 8-for-24 for 150 yards with an interception.
The three touchdowns gave Scott 18 for the season, one behind LaBrandon Toefield's school record in 2001.
Colt David's 53-yard field goal late in the third quarter was the longest in the bowl's history.
The Tigers improved to 5-0 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, including a similarly lopsided 40-3 win over Miami in the 2005 game.