Do not make Joe Burrow angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. Well, unless you’re an LSU fan, then it’s a total delight.
In a much chippier and more physical game than was initially advertised, Joe Burrow took several big shots from the Vanderbilt defense, told them so, and then casually threw for another touchdown. The best revenge is another seven points.
Joe Burrow put on a show in the first, throwing for 357 yards in the first half alone. He would eventually close his night midway through the second half, having thrown for 398 yards on 25 of 34 passing. He again set the LSU single-game passing touchdown record, finally getting him for his lonesome with his sixth touchdown toss.
Hauling those balls in was a receiving corps that completely and utterly outmatched the Vanderbilt secondary. Ja’Marr Chase finished with 229 yards and 4 TD, after amassing 199 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half. That used to be a full day of yardage for an LSU quarterback, and now we have a receiver doing that in one half.
Chase isn’t the only receiver putting up big numbers: Terrace Marshall went for 4-75, Stephen Sullivan was 3-48. Racey McMath and Justin Jefferson each added a touchdown as well. Jefferson fell off his usual pace, partly due to getting rolled up from behind in the second quarter, leading to several nervous moments for the LSU faithful. Jefferson would return for spot duty, but largely stayed to the bench after that. Marshall would also later leave the game with an injury.
The injuries are again becoming the big story for LSU, which is why I’m burying it halfway through the game story. Michael Divinity left the game with an ankle injury, and could pit no weight on the injured leg as he hobbled off the field. That’s a massive concern going forward. Brody Miller summed it up best:
Early on, it looked like the LSU defense was going to have a rough game. Vanderbilt opened the game with an 8-play, 75-yard drive keyed by a 41-yard Ke’Shawn Vaughn rush on the game’s opening play.
To the defense’s credit, they responded with consecutive three-and-outs and then a turnover on downs. By the time Vanderbilt managed another scoring drive for a field goal, LSU had opened up a 28-10 lead.
The defense even got the stop to closeout the first half, a real bugaboo for Dave Aranda, only to have Clyde Edwards-Helaire put the ball on the turf and give up a defensive touchdown. Aranda has traded the end of the half drive problem for giving up big opening drives. Vanderbilt answered an early LSU touchdown in the third quarter by scoring on a quick 75-yard drive, again due to a defensive breakdown allowing Vaughn to run 52 yards for a touchdown.
Briefly, it seemed we might have a game on our hands, but Burrow put the game away with his record-breaking pass to Ja’Marr Chase and then the special teams got in on the act with a blocked punt for a touchdown.
From that point on, the game was an exercise in killing clock. I know Vanderbilt isn’t Georgia or anything, but LSU treated them like a directional school. LSU blew this game open and then ran a glorified victory formation for about twenty minutes of game clock.
We can argue about targeting calls in the comments, because it’s clear targeting is a simply random penalty at this point.
This team is really good, but even better… they are a ton of fun.