New Mexico St is a terrible football team. LSU's goals in this game were pretty limited given the quality of the opponent: work on the quarterbacks, don't give up any big plays, and let the backups play in the second half of a blowout.
One out of three ain't bad.
Actually, it is. This isn't baseball. In the spirit of Delusional Optimism, let's bury the lede and talk about the good things first. LSU won by 56 points. Leonard Fournette rushed for 100 yards for the first time in his career. Kendall Beckwith kept the first quarter from being an unmitigated disaster with an interception for a touchdown. LSU averaged 6.7 yards per rush. Kwon Alexander is still Kwon. Malachi Dupre continues to put an injury-plagued August behind him.
Part of scoring 63 points against a team like NMSU is the fact that the opponent is so outmatched. It is no great accomplishment, apologies to our one NMSU lurker fan here, to rack up impressive stats against them.
Which, of course, brings us to Anthony Jennings. Jennings' final line for the night reads as such: 2/5 for 11 yards, 0 TD, and 2 picks. He also fumbled the ball once. In about a quarter of play, Jennings turned the ball over a remarkable three times while also throwing for the same number of yards as Brad Kragthorpe. Kragthorpe had one attempt. He's also a walk on.
Forget about playing at Harris' level, Anthony Jennings was outplayed by a non-scholarship quarterback whose main responsibility was handing the ball off to run out the clock. Jennings final ATVSQBPI was -5.125. That's a negative number. LSU would have been better off to have an inanimate carbon rod at quarterback, which at least would have done nothing. If we go by ORtigerfan's modifications to the formula and include fumbles, Jennings had an ATVSQBPI of -8.875. I'm almost disappointed he didn't reach double figures.
These numbers would be unacceptable even against a stellar defensive team, and less so against a typical SEC team. Against NMSU, it is a complete horrorshow. This is Melvin Hill or Andrew Hatch levels of terrible. Actually, Hatch only threw one interception in his career, so we can make a pretty solid case that Andre Hatch was better. Not even Jarrett Lee, in the depths of his pick-six freshman campaign, ever put up a stinker like this, and certainly not against a team like NMSU.
Brandon Harris has got to be the starting quarterback, and he is going to make his first career start on the road, in Auburn. That is not a recipe for success, but it is still a better idea than letting Anthony Jennings take another important snap.
I know there's an argument that if you bench Jennings, you have ruined his confidence and he can no longer contribute to the team. Well, too late. The confidence is gone. He's getting booed by the home crowd, which I don't approve of, but I certainly understand. The only way to "fix" Jennings might be to put him on the bench for awhile and spare him the full wrath of the Tiger faithful. Because he has played some unspeakably awful football.
Anthony Jennings has now posted a completion percentage of 50% or worse in three of his five starts this year. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since the Sam Houston St game. There is no quarterback controversy: Jennings flat out lost his job last night.