Sam Houston State (1-2) proved to be no match for No. 12 LSU (2-0) in the Tigers’ home opener Saturday night. The Tigers ran, threw and really did whatever they wanted to en route to a 56-0 shellacking.
Here are the most relevant notes, updates and takeaways from the lopsided LSU win.
Jennings continues to cement his place atop depth chart
- Don’t get me wrong, freshman Brandon Harris performed well when given his chances. Harris played only six snaps in the first half but ultimately finished 4-of-5 passing for 62 yards and a touchdown while adding 53 yards and a touchdown on the ground. But the real story is Anthony Jennings almost quietly but assuredly locking in the role of starter and primary quarterback for this 2014 LSU offense.
Jennings kept his magic with Travin Dural going (the duo combined for three touchdowns), ran with more certainty (notching 43 yards and not taking a sack) and even set the school record for longest completed pass (94 yards on the opening play of the game to Dural). If his playing time doesn’t speak volumes about how the staff views their quarterbacks and the pecking order, perhaps some of these words from Les Miles postgame will.
Miles on Harris and how they’ll continue to play the QBs: “The advantages of Brandon Harris, we haven’t seen yet. He’s coming and coming. For us to not give him quality snaps would be a mistake. Anthony’s done a good job to this point. He’s done what we’ve asked him to do. I think we’ll play games very much like we played today.”
Miles, who made references to how cool and poised Jennings is becoming under center, also shared this on Harris and his outlook when sending him in: “I thought he played pretty well considering we told him not to turn the ball over.”
Jennings has a lot longer rope, understands the offense and the calls better and seems to be more ready for the big stage. Harris and his diverse skillset will be needed, but if it wasn’t time already, it’s certainly time now to discard the term “quarterback battle.” It doesn’t apply anymore.
Trio of Tiger contributors dealing with injuries
- Miles gave little in the way of postgame updates, but three LSU starters were either injured Saturday night or continue to experience lingering pain. The first, center Ethan Pocic, suffered a lower-body injury, termed a “right ankle” injury by the SEC Network, in the second quarter. Pocic did not return to the field as Andy Dodd filled in at center. Fullback Connor Neighbors, who came into the game with a cast on his right arm/hand, also left prior to halftime with a “bone bruise,” per the SEC Network. Finally outside linebacker Kwon Alexander is dealing with a stinger from last week’s win versus Wisconsin, per the LSU radio broadcast.
With ULM coming to town next week, it’s conceivable none of the three will play serious minutes or at all against the Warhawks as the Tigers make their way to the Mississippi State game Sept. 20. Pocic may be the most pressing player to get back on the field considering senior Elliott Porter has been out the past two games serving a suspension. As for Neighbors, his place was taken today by Melvin Jones, redshirt freshman walkon John David Moore and occasionally Kenny Hilliard and Darrel Williams. With Alexander, who barely played at all today, John Chavis has Deion Jones and Duke Riley to whom he can turn.
Still the point is it’ll be important to have all three ready for the State game. Expect LSU to treat their injuries accordingly.
Robinson returned from suspension to fortify DBU
- As well as Jalen Collins played a week ago, there’s no denying Rashard Robinson is the answer for LSU at cornerback opposite Tre’Davious White. The sophomore sensations were reunited against the Bearkats when Robinson reentered the fold on the Tigers’ third defensive possession.
Robinson, who was suspended from the Wisconsin game and didn’t travel with the team, looked smooth in his return to game action, playing a lot of his preferred press coverage and harassing Sam Houston State receivers at the line of scrimmage. He finished with only one tackle, but Robinson’s impact was felt in a lack of targets coming his way. Robinson bolstered a secondary that conceded only 156 yards through the air to a SHSU team that likes to sling it.
On a related note: several players after the game remarked about how much the development of Collins will still help this defense, even though he’s relegated to a rotational role with Robinson back. So this is really having your cake and eating it, too, for LSU fans.
LSU freshmen make first career house calls
- In total 16 true freshmen played versus Sam Houston State. CLICK HERE for the entire list. Offensively four of those newbies reached pay dirt, all for the first times in their LSU careers.
Three young Tigers rushed for scores – Harris, Williams and Leonard Fournette, who commemorated the occasion with a Heisman pose. Harris also connected with Malachi Dupre for a late touchdown in Dupre’s first action in purple and gold after he missed the opener in Houston. Receiver Trey Quinn didn’t get into the end zone, but he did total two grabs for 26 yards. Quinn’s playing time may be the most secure of any of the true freshmen, including Fournette, given how good he’s looked at a position that’s thin in terms of returning players.
Teuhema announces his presence with authority
- Yes, it’s important not to make too much out of garbage time happenings against FCS schools, but c’mon. Production is production, and it’s even more impressive when racked up in a limited window. Freshman pass rusher Sione Teuhema made the most of his opportunities in the second half Saturday night, registering four tackles and two sacks, setting SHSU back 19 yards on those two quarterback takedowns.