For the first time this year, the 2018 LSU Tigers football team was on display Saturday night in Death Valley.
Junior Justin McMillan took the first snap of the game at quarterback — an incomplete pass to wide receiver Jonathan Giles.
Freshman Lowell Narcisse was the next QB to see the field, opening the drive with an in-completion intended for Marshall. His first two pass attempts were broken up, and the drive ended in 36-yard punt by Zach Von Rosenberg.
Sophomore Myles Brennan was the last QB to get in on the action, and his first pass intended for running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was broken up. Brennan was the first QB to complete a pass with three-yarder to Edwards-Helaire on a third down play.
The second completion of the game was owned by McMillan to Drake Davis, bringing the game to the White Team’s 44-yard line. The White was first up on the board with a one-handed 94-yard touchdown from Narcisse to WR Justin Jefferson.
Derrick Dillon dropped a potential TD pass from Brennan, who was nearly sacked by Travez Moore to close the first quarter for the Purple team.
In the second quarter, a goal line touchdown run by Nick Brossette put the White up 14-0 with 3:48 to go in the first half. The Purple answered right back with their first score of the night on the following drive, a two-yard TD run by Lanard Fournette.
McMillan closed the score gap with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Davis for the Purple, making it 14-14. Brennan took over shortly after and continued to struggle, sacked by Moore and flagged for intentional grounding on the last drive of the second quarter.
Narcisse and McMillan led two touchdown drives each, making Brennan the only QB to have not put points on the scoreboard. Each signal caller ran two drives with the first team and 2 drives with the second team in the first half.
The first score of the second half came after Brennan was intercepted by John Battle on a pass intended for Dee Anderson. This proved to be a costly mistake, resulting in a scoring drive for the Purple with a 28-yard touchdown run by Tae Provens to give the team the 21-14 lead.
Edwards-Helaire brought the score to a tie again with a two-yard touchdown run for the White. This was followed by a five-yard reception to Jacory Washington from Brennan put the Purple back on top, 28-21 with 2:30 remaining in the game.
Justin McMillan was next to score, taking it in himself with a 12-yard run for the in the last minute of the game. The score was followed by an unsuccessful two point conversion attempt, bringing the game to its final of 28-27 with the Purple team on top.
On defense, sophomore offensive linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson stood out more than any player all game long. The replacement for a departing Arden Key this year, Chaisson recorded one sack and came off the edge unblocked at least eight times.
“I’m very proud of our football team,” head coach Ed Orgeron said after the game.
“The way they competed. It came down to the very end. I think you all saw tonight what I’ve been telling you about the quarterbacks. Sometimes they’re doing well, sometimes they’re not. I thought Justin McMillan did well. There’s still some inconsistencies. Still some missed throws and missed protections. I told the team we’re going to be a good football team when we execute. We need to execute. When we did, I thought we made big plays. There were a couple of times that we didn’t call a sack. I was glad to see Jefferson made some big plays. I thought Stephen Sullivan had a good job today.”
Orgeron also made it very clear the quarterback competition continues to remain open at this point.
“We’d all love [if a quarterback was a leader]. It’s just not there yet. If we had a quarterback who was dominant all spring we’d name a starter. But we don’t have one yet. The quarterback competition is going to stay open. I’m sure Steve and I are going to sit down. We’ve still got a lot of installation left.”
The Tigers will return to the field when they take on Miami for the first game of the 2018 season in Arlington, TX on Sept. 1.