All offseason, Ed Orgeron and the LSU coaching staff kept promising that the offense had changed. This wasn’t going to be your father’s, or even your older brother’s, LSU Tigers. This offense was going to go out of an 11 base set and play purry up.
“Sure, sure,” we all said.
We wanted to believe them, but no one truly did. Sure, maybe Joe Burrow would throw the ball a bit more and maybe they would split three wide a little more, but push come to shave, LSU was gonna be LSU. Ground and pound is what we know.
Well, promise delivered.
LSU scored touchdowns on its first four drives of the game, three of them in the air. By the time an exhausted and shell-shocked Georgia Southern team ran out the final play of the first half, LSU had staked itself to a 42-3 lead on the strength of Joe Burrow’s five touchdowns, three of them to Terrace Marshall.
At the half, Burrow had throw the ball 24 times, completed it 20 times, and thrown for 253 yards. The party was on, and the game was all but over.
LSU kept the starters in for the opening possession of the third quarter, but after an opening field goal by newcomer Cade York, Myles Brennan and the second team took over from there.
The defense soon followed suit, letting the starters hang out on the sideline and work on perfecting their dapping skills. Georgia Southern looked marginally better, but the dominant defense still looked, well, dominant.
There wasn’t the same pressure of Dave Aranda to show us something with his defense, but his charges snuffed out any potential threat early, letting the offense run wild in the first half.
Georgia Southern’s first four drives went punt, punt, fumble, fumble. OK, the defense then let up 10 play, 45-yard field goal drive, but the game was already a blowout at that point. The first four drives went 14 plays for 12 yards. No worries with the triple option there.
One of the newcomers to truly impress was Derek Stingley. He didn’t have much to do in pass coverage against a team that rarely puts the ball in the air, but he showed his skills by nearly taking the ball to the house on the game’s first punt, the very first time he touched the ball in an LSU uniform. He returned the first two punts for an average of 26 yards. He didn’t break one, but he showed off the skills to suggest he almost certainly will this year.
Coming out of this game, the only lingering question is who is the running back? Clyde Edwards-Healire got the start, but it seemed like LSU rotated each back in for their own drive as the feature back, and all showed some flashes.
Edwards-Healire scored on a rushing touchdown after touching the ball on all six plays of a short drive. Lanard Fournette got a lot of work and found the end zone as well. John Emery made a beautiful move in open space, and Ty David-Price also had his moments in mop up duty. It truly was running back by committee.
Sure, the game wasn’t much in the final thirty. What did you expect? LSU was trying to run the clock out on a forty-point halftime lead. That doesn’t lead to too many quality second half moments. LSU cruised to a 472-98 edge in total yards.
But in the end, LSU dominated everywhere you could dominate. The offense looked great, the defense even better. The special teams was terrific as well. Heck, even the halftime show was top notch. This was everything you could want out of an LSU team.
Yeah, I know. It’s just Georgia Southern. But when was the last time LSU looked like this, even against a paycheck opponent? LSU passed its opening test with flying colors.
Now comes the real test. Bring on Texas.