LSU’s much awaited season debut ended on a positive note as the Tigers defeated the Miami Hurricanes 33-17.
The contest featured Dallas Cowboys alumni as honorary captains for their respective alma mater. Former linebacker Bradie James and offensive tackle La’el Collins represented LSU, while former defensive tackle Russell Maryland and wide receiver Michael Irvin showed for Miami.
Things heated up in the Advocare Classic plenty of time before kickoff with a brief scuffle between the two teams that took place at midfield roughly an hour before the game got started. According to multiple reports, the defensive backs - with Miami DT Gerald Willis being named in specific - were the primary instigators.
We’ve got some pleasantries being exchanged between #LsU and Miami pregame— James Moran (@SmartestMoran) September 2, 2018
Joe Burrow is the one who walked out of the middle with one finger held in the air pic.twitter.com/yrvlYo6QGB
LSU won the toss, and chose to defer at kickoff. The first drive of the game was a quick three-and-out for the Hurricanes, with the Tiger defense coming up big from the start.
The Tigers’ first drive was a messy but effective one, which would set the tone for how the offense would play for the remainder of the half.
Burrow’s first snap in purple-and-gold was a five-yard screen to Lanard Fournette. A pass complete to Dee Anderson for 10 yards, fumble forced by Pickney, then recovered by Anderson resulted in a first down. The drive ended in 43-yard field goal by kicker Cole Tracy, putting LSU up 3-0. Miami also lost a cornerback Trajan Brandy on the drive due to targeting.
Miami responded in a big way on its second possession of the evening with Rosier making big completions to wide receivers Jeff Thomas (16 yards) and Lawrence Cager (36 yards). A field goal kick by Bubba Baxa tied the game at 3-3 with 6:49 remaining in the first quarter.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire was back on the 27-yard return for LSU to open its second drive of the game. A solid Miami pass rush gave LSU problems from that point, with Miami DT Gerald Willis picking up the first and only sack of the half for the Hurricanes.
The next time the team had a chance to score, a wide left by Baxa kept the game tied at 3-3.
A 50-yard run by Brossette on LSU’s second scoring drive of the game made for a 10-3 lead with 35 seconds left in the first quarter.
LSU’s offense appeared to have found its first sense of rhythm in the second quarter, where the Tigers would put another 10 points on the board.
A 1-yard touchdown run set up by a 22-yard connection from Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase put LSU up 17-3 with 9:21 left on the clock for the half. The Tigers continued to move the chains, with their next drive resulting in a field goal to extend the lead to 20-3.
Despite their efforts, Miami’s next drive was halted when a 45-yard interception run by Jacob Phillips made the score 27-3. This would also be where the score would stay for the half.
Penalties played a large role in the first half, as LSU totaled three penalties for 20 yards, while Miami had racked up eight for 75 yards.
LSU opened its first drive of the half with a nine-yard carry by Brossette. The Tigers gave Brossette the ball two more times hoping for the same positive result, but instead losing a yard on both plays.
Von Rosenberg punted it away to allow Miami its first drive of the second half, which resulted in no score. The Tigers were first to the scoreboard when they capitalized on their second possession of the quarter, with a 21-yard field goal by Tracy that brought the score to 30-3.
LSU defense came up with its second turnover of the night when free safety John Battle picked off Rosier in the third quarter to set Tracy up for his fourth field goal of the night. The kick was an accurate 54-yarder placed Miami in a 30 point deficit, 33-3.
The Hurricanes managed to put their first touchdown on the board in the fourth quarter with a 3-yard rush by Rosier to help close the gap, 33-10. A 32-yard reception from Rosier to Brian Hightower later on in the fourth made the score 33-17 with 8 minutes and 43 seconds of game time left. The catch would mark the last score of the night.
Cornerback Kristian Fulton and quarterback Joe Burrow were two players everyone had their eyes on going into the game for different reasons, but they both lived up to the hype. Fulton came up with 2 solo tackles and 2 pass breakups. Burrow was 11-for-24 for 140 yards and no interceptions. He was sacked 2 times.
Kicker Cole Tracy and running back Nick Brossette also made themselves key players in the opener. Tracy made all four field goal attempts, including a school-record tying 54 yarder, contributing 12 points to the victory. Brossette helped open up many an opportunity for the offense, as the senior capitalized on 22 attempts for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns.
LSU will continue its season as it takes on Southeastern in Death Valley this weekend on Sept. 8.