Crystal LoGiudice - USA Today Sports

Weekly breakdown: LSU's offense vs. Jacksonville State

Christian dives into what worked, what didn't and how LSU’s offense, with new faces, lead the the Tigers to a 34-13 win against Jacksonville State.

LSU 34, Jacksonville State 13.

The Tigers (1-1) amassed 371 total offensive yards, three more than the Gamecocks.

How did they do it?

Well, a quarterback change sparked the offense. A backup running back did too.

Les Miles made the signal-caller swap after LSU's second possession.

Then, it all opened up for Danny Etling. He entered the game while LSU was trailing 3-0 to the tune of cheers loud enough to where he could barely call a play in the huddle, he said.

Was he nervous?

"Maybe a little bit," he said.

Until then, Harris struggled, but it wasn’t because of LSU’s play calling.

The Tigers, who have heard the critiques of having a caged offense — exclusive to only a power ground game and a prayer, or two, through the air — opened the offense from the beginning against Jacksonville State with three-straight passes. 

Did that work? 

Not exactly.

First possession

Let’s hop to the Tigers’ first possession.

  • All three plays, excluding an I-formation set which was negated before the ball was snapped due to a false start from left guard Will Clapp, were from the shotgun with three or more receivers aligned in each.
  • The three were all passing plays, resulting in one completion (to Darrel Williams on a checkdown) and two high incompletions.
  • A note: On the first play, LSU lined tight end Desean Smith in the slot.

Here are the formations:

Second possession

  • LSU ran twice (gained four yards) and passed once. Harris intended the pass for tight end Colin Jeter. The pass: too high, again, and that would be it for Harris on Saturday. “Relax, relax,” Miles said to Harris as he tapped him on the helmet.

Here’s Harris’ final pass play, bringing out the boo birds

Enter: QB Danny Etling

So here we go.

Etling’s first drive wasn’t exactly perfect. But, he didn’t make it too difficult for himself.

LSU rattled off six plays for a 70-yard scoring drive in Etling’s first possession.

Here’s how the Tigers aligned in the six plays with the subsequent result of each play:

  • I-formation (offset fullback) - incomplete, dropped pass (Jeter)
  • I-formation - 4-yard rush (Williams)
  • Shotgun - complete (checkdown to Williams)
  • Shotgun - dropped pass (Dupre)
  • Shotgun - HB screen (Williams)
  • Shotgun - Touchdown (46 yards to Smith)

What else?

LSU scored on each of the next four possessions and once more in the third quarter.

Etling, though, wasn’t perfect on Saturday. The redshirt junior finished with no completions, one interception and one fumble in the second half.

“He wasn’t perfect by any means,” Miles said. “As I recall, he was, oh, 6-14 (for 100 yards), which is not what we want and we had guys wide open, certainly, but it was his first start, his first playing time. I should say, and certainly performed well, to a point.”

Notes on LSU’s offense

  • Tiger quarterbacks targeted six different receivers Saturday.
  • Seven different Tigers carried the ball, equaling 259 team rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
  • LSU played without Josh Boutte (suspended) at right guard on Saturday. Les Miles put Maea Teuhema in the spot. “I though he made some mistakes, but I thought he played pretty well,” Miles said.
  • Miles said LSU thought about bringing Etling in last week against Wisconsin. But the Tigers were losing, and Miles insisted he didn’t feel comfortable throwing Etling into a “rough” situation. “We didn’t want to bring him in an ugly spot where the pressure of the position might adversely affect how he played.”
  • Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams combined for 179 total rushing yards on 22 carries in place of Leonard Fournette, who was out with a lingering lower leg injury, or a “contusion, a nice bruise,” as Miles named the injury.
  • Miles, though, doesn’t expect Fournette to miss any more time.
  • After a handful of drops and no receptions on Saturday, Miles said he doesn’t know what has been wrong with wide receiver Malachi Dupre. “I don’t know what his -- what’s prohibiting him from having success, big strong, talented guy, goes up and gets it,” he said. “But just can’t bring it in. So, I guess that he’ll work on that. And, again, it’s a work in progress.”

Full stats from LSU's offense: 

Christian Boutwell - SCOUT

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