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Behind the Box Score: Rice

A genuine blowout

Rice v LSU
Superman’s little brother can fly, too
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

There was a football game this weekend. LSU won by a lot. The two biggest factors contributing to this is that LSU is pretty darn good and Rice is terrible. I’m not going to pretend that this game was all that interesting or illuminating, but we’ve got a routine and let’s stick to it: time to review the box score.

175-13. LSU-Rice yards gained in the first quarter. Jontre Kirkland took one snap at quarterback and promptly fumbled the football, but other than that, LSU got up early and they got up big. LSU ran 20 plays, 8 of them for first downs. They averaged 8.8 yards per play and 5.8 yards per rush. Rice, on the other hand, had one completed pass for 17 yards. Their 11 other plays went for a combined -4 yards. This was a quick and thorough dismantling.

3. Drops by LSU receivers. Officially, drops aren’t kept as a stat, but you can go through the play by play data, and the official scorekeeper will call out dropped passes. Joe Burrow’s first three incompletions were all drops (ok, 3 of 4, one other incompletion was wiped out by a pass interference penalty). Joe Burrow finished the game 20-28 for 307 yards, but he was legit robbed of an even better stat line. Most egregiously, Justin Jefferson dropped a sure 50-yard touchdown pass.

5-73. Foster Moreau’s receiving line. Ladies and gentlemen, your leading receiver for the evening! I love playing terrible teams because you get weird statistical flukes like this. Moreau was, for one night, the team’s primary receiver.

72. Aston Walker’s rushing yards. Rice’s leading rusher carried the ball 23 times for 72 yards, a pretty mediocre 3.1 yard average. But it was enough to lead all rushers on the night, as Nick Brossette only managed 69 yards on 14 carries. It’s not that often you win by 32 points and don’t have the leading rusher. Another quirk of the stats page.

4-6-65. Myles Brennan’s passing line. We had a Brennan sighting! Brennan came into the game midway through the 3rd quarter and guided LSU to its first and only punt of the evening. He would really only have one more drive, keyed by a 39 yard pass play to Jefferson and an eventual Lanard Fournette touchdown. Why did he only get one more possession?

19:51. Rice’s second half time of possession. Rice ate some serious clock in the second half, content to simply keep the ball away from LSU’s offense. After the Fournette touchdown, Rice went on its only touchdown drive of the game, a 13-play, 75-yard slog which took 8:05 off the clock. Each team only had four drives in the second half, as both teams happily shortened the game so we could all go back to our tailgates.

5-5. LSU red zone efficiency. A real problem for LSU this season and the last, LSU had five trips to the red zone last night and scored five touchdowns. Like you’re supposed to against bad teams.