LSU quarterbacks struggle against Auburn

The performance by LSU's quarterbacks inspired little confidence. The Tigers might've returned to square one at that position, and Brandon Harris accepted all responsibility for his poor play.

Auburn, Ala. — Brandon Harris played terrible Saturday, and he’ll be the first to admit it.

The freshman quarterback didn’t shy away from the responsibility of LSU’s loss to Auburn, a 41-7 rout in Jordan-Hare Stadium. He stood in front of a horde of reporters after the game and put it pretty bluntly.

“It was awful from the start to the finish,” Harris said. “Everything about it was awful. I flat out played terrible. I can’t even put a grade on it. It was an awful game.”

Harris completed only 3-of-14 passes for 58 yards, 52 of which came on one play. He picked up 36 yards on the ground but was also sacked once. He failed on six third-down opportunities, three were incomplete passes, one completion came up short and two runs that did the same.

He came out of the game with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter. Les Miles said it was because Harris sprained his ankle. Harris said he’ll receive treatment and should quickly return to 100 percent.

Anthony Jennings replaced him and didn’t fare much better. He finished 5-for-10 for 84 yards, and all three possessions with him under center resulted in a turnover on downs.

“I don’t really know what to make of it,” Miles said of his quarterbacks. “Both guys are working hard and improving, and we just need to bring that on a little quicker… I can tell you we expect more from that position, and both guys can play better.”

Miles wasn’t ready to admit they’ve returned to square one at quarterback. But after proclaiming Harris as the new starter on Monday, he certainly expected more.

Harris feels he let him down.

“When Coach Miles has granted you the opportunity to be the starting quarterback of this university, you’ve got to come out and complete passes,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

It didn’t look that simple. Harris’ passes regularly sailed over his receivers, and few were anywhere near the mark. Some inaccuracy is to be expected, but even Harris was shocked by just how poorly he threw.

“[Cam Cameron] gave me safe throws, easy completions you can hit with your eyes closed,” Harris said. “I just missed them. It was a terrible, terrible performance today by me.”

It’s probably premature to say the quarterback competition has reignited. This may still be Harris’ offense moving forward, but he admits he still has a ton to prove.

Jennings will also continue to fight for his spot. Though his appearance didn’t yield any points, he did earn some respect from his teammates.

“He did a great job coming in when he did,” said Malachi Dupre, whose 52-yard catch was enough to lead the team in receiving yards. “He made the best out of the opportunity he was given. It was a very difficult task, but I think he handled it well.”

The team also showed Harris their support.

“This is going to help him in the long run,” said lineman Vadal Alexander. “He’s going to learn a lot from this.”

Harris said it won’t take him long to shake off Saturday’s performance. He’ll turn on his iPad as soon as he gets on the plane home to watch the film. When he wakes up Sunday, he’ll turn the page to Florida.

As for who will start that game against the Gators, Miles said he was “so far away from envisioning that.”

Harris isn’t concerned about that either. He said after the game he received a text from a former LSU quarterback with a simple message he’ll take to heart.

“Even the great ones have bad games.”

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