We get it. Morning games suck. It’s too hot, there’s no time to tailgate, and it never feels like Tiger Stadium. It’s the football equivalent of playing with a hangover.
Even LSU’s typical quick strike offense slowed things up, relying on long, methodical drives which burnt up a lot of clock. Balance was the word of the day, as Orgeron tried to work in the LSU running offense to get those backs some experience, but also to keep his defense off the field.
It felt like Joe Burrow was having a bad game as it was happening, but he threw for 5 touchdowns while also going for 344 yards on 27/38. Oh, and then took a seat for the fourth quarter. When that’s your idea of a bad game, things are going pretty well for you.
Justin Jefferson put to bed any worries about a possible lingering injury by making several highlight catches, topping 100 yards by the half, scoring 2 touchdowns, and ending the game with 155 yards on 9 receptions.
The defense, by the way, heard every negative thing every single person said about them over the first month of the season. Jordan Love showed up with a lot of hype, but he slinked out of Tiger Stadium having only completed 15 out of 30 passes for 130 yards. He never mounted much of a threat, though to be fair, his receivers dropped some balls that could have made a big difference when the game was still close in the first half.
The run defense was even better. Utah St managed just 19 yards on 22 carries, as the defense swarmed to ball and closed off any rushing lanes.
Early on, Joe Burrow threw an interception, giving Utah St the ball inside the LSU 10. The defense responded by holding Utah St to nothing on the first two plays, then Neil Farrell sacking Love on third down, forcing USU to kick a field goal. It set the tone for the day.
Derek Stingley made a huge interception at the goalline after an ill-advised roughing the punter penalty kept a Utah St drive alive. He kept the Aggies off the board, and then handed the ball off to the offense, which drove the 99 yards for the third touchdown of the game, and really the one that put this game away.
Kary Vincent and Grant Delpit would add interceptions because, you know, DBU has to re-assert itself. Though both came when the game was already all but decided.
Utah St isn’t some rent-a-win. They were a trendy top 25 pick and the preseason and they have a guy under center who is a contender for the first round in the draft. I’m not gonna pretend they are the 85 Bears, but this also isn’t Northwestern St.
And LSU treated this game like a scrimmage. Against a live opponent, LSU decided to go out and work on its running game and practice its tackling. This was like watching the first team play against the scout team in practice, ads the starters try to work out the kinks. It was plain disrespectful, and I mean that in the best possible way. It was like LSU couldn’t even conceive of a way Utah St could win this game.
It’s not like the offense didn’t put up points. They might have been stuck in third gear, but they still put up 42 points. But instead of racing up and down the field in an effort to score as much as they possibly could, the LSU offense took its time, dominated the play clock, and worked to keep Utah St’s quick strike offense off the field. It was a plan that worked to a T.
It was hot. It was sluggish. Hell, it was miserable. But LSU notched another big win, and now it is on to the biggest stretch of the season.