LSU’s first offensive play against Sam Houston State should’ve been an indication of how the night would go.
After an interception on the opening series, LSU began its drive at its own six-yard line. Anthony Jennings took the snap, dropped back and heaved a deep ball down the right sideline to Travin Dural. The third-year receiver leapt, hauled it in and sprinted the rest of the way for a 94-yard touchdown pass, the longest in LSU history.
It didn’t get any better from there for SHSU as LSU cruised to an easy 56-0 victory in the newly expanded Tiger Stadium’s first game.
LSU’s next four possessions all resulted in touchdowns, while the defense held SHSU scoreless the rest of the way.
It was LSU’s first shutout since 2010, and their largest margin of victory since Nick Saban’s first game in 2001.
“We accomplished what we needed to accomplish tonight,” said LSU coach Les Miles. “There are some things we need to improve that were a little sloppy. There are ways for us to be better, but for tonight, good job.”
The FCS-level Bearkats proved to be no match for LSU as the Tigers rolled out to a quick 35-0 lead in the first half.
Dural and Jennings connected again for a 28-yard score on LSU’s second offensive possession. Leonard Fournette recorded his first-career touchdown on the next.
Dural reeled in his third touchdown catch of the night on LSU’s fourth possession. Jennings finished the night with 188 yards passing, completing seven of his 13 attempts.
For Dural, all three of his receptions went for touchdowns, and he racked up 140 total yards. He now has 13 career receptions, six of which have gone for scores.
LSU continued the onslaught with one more score before halftime. This one came from Brandon Harris for his first career touchdown. He kept a read-option, shed a handful of tacklers and ran 46 yards for pay dirt.
Harris saw much more action Saturday than he did against Wisconsin, playing the majority of the second half. He finished with 45 yards passing, completing three of his four attempts. His first career touchdown pass came early in the fourth quarter on an eight-yard toss to Malachi Dupre, his first career touchdown reception.
Miles remained adamant that Harris will have a significant impact on the offense this season, even if Jennings has emerged as the Tigers’ clear-cut starter.
“The advantages of Brandon Harris, we haven’t seen yet,” Miles said. “He’s coming and coming. For us to not give him quality snaps would be a mistake.”
As dominant as the offense was, the defense was equally so. LSU forced three turnovers, including an interception by Dwayne Thomas on the opening possession. The Tigers also forced a Bearkat fumble and recovered it one yard from the end zone.
SHSU’s only semblance of a scoring threat came late in the third quarter. The Bearkats drove to the LSU five-yard line, but Rickey Jefferson picked off Jared Johnson’s pass, extending the frustration he suffered throughout the game.
“We wanted to come out with a chip on our shoulder,” Thomas said. “We wanted to show our defense is still one of the top defenses in the country.”
LSU outmatches Sam Houston State, 56-0
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