Sloppy at times, the Tigers saw a pair of second-half 13-point leads dwindle to one score until a 20-yard Jarvis Landry touchdown with 6:09 to play sealed the 37-27 victory. That was part of a 448-yard offensive outburst in Cam Cameron's LSU debut on the same field where LSU kickstarted its undefeated 2011 season.
"I felt like Cam Cameron started his debut at LSU and did a very strong job," said LSU coach Les Miles. "A couple of balls dropped that we would have like to have back, certainly a fumble here or there, and more distinctive attack on the ground. But we were much better on offense…And 1-0, it's nice to start the season that way."
Midway through the fourth quarter, TCU cut the LSU lead to just three with a 39-yard field goal by Jaden Oberkrom. With momentum tilting heavily toward the Horned Frogs, Odell Beckham fielded the ensuing kickoff from the goal line, and returned it 75 yards to set up the final dagger.
Landry walked it in three plays later for his first touchdown of the season, capping off a 109-yard performance. Landry and Beckham, who totaled 118 receiving yards, became the first LSU duo to each eclipse the 100-yard mark since 2001.
"They're just getting started," Miles said. "I think the chemistry there has improved and obviously they made a very significant contribution tonight. That's the kind of contribution they'll make night after night.
Though it ultimately ended on a high note, the 2013 opener didn't conclude without its share of miscues.
LSU surrendered a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown early in the second quarter, that brought TCU within a field goal of the lead. A roughing the passer penalty on third down by Ego Ferguson prolonged a third-quarter drive that ultimately resulted in a touchdown. Alfred Blue, returning to action for the first time since suffering a torn ACL in the third game of last season, fumbled inside his own 5-yard line, setting up a TCU touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
But equally frustrating to a fan base that's seen its fair share of offensive ineptitude over recent years were the three stalled red zone drives. Colby Delhoussaye, making his LSU debut, nailed all three gimmes, but the sting of those wasted opportunities still lingered in the postgame celebration.
"[TCU] did everything they could," Miles said. "They changed it up. They had a really nice game plan against us…But we have to be better there. We have to be able to run the football when we get down in striking distance."
Those red zone field goals kept the contest close through two quarters, as LSU took a 16-10 lead into halftime. But things tilted in LSU's favor quickly once play resumed.
Casey Pachall, who started despite missing most of 2012 due to suspension, heaved up a prayer on the first offensive play of the second half that Jalen Mills reeled in for the interception. Three plays later, Terrence Magee sprinted 52 yards for his first touchdown since 2011.
It was a banner day for the junior running back that has spent most of his career on the bench. Magee led the team with 95 rushing yards on 13 carries and a pair of scores.
"Terrence Magee is a talented guy," Miles said. "Those people inside this program root for him because he's just a great kid. And given the opportunity, he'll make that kind of contribution throughout the year."
Sandwiched between Magee's second-half touchdowns was a 26-yard scamper by B.J. Catalon, who earlier returned the kickoff for a touchdown. Magee's second score put LSU ahead 30-17 before the Frogs answered back with a Waymon James touchdown run early in the final quarter.
TCU would later tack on that Oberkrom field goal, but the comeback bid fell short when Landry stepped in the end zone, releasing a giant sigh of relief amongst the LSU faithful.
"I feel like we could be better," said center Elliott Porter. "We need fewer mistakes, fewer penalties…but we did play pretty good. We're only going up from here."
Relive all the action from Saturday and join in on the discussion in the official Game Thread from the 37-27 victory against LSU.
LSU vs. TCU: Game Thread