There was more information passed out to the media and fans from the new LSU coach this week than any time perhaps in the last 17 years, and a lot of it revolved about a vow about how different the offense would look when Missouri came to Tiger Stadium.
Hard to say Ed Orgeron didn’t keep his word, and the inclusion of myriad different options in the passing game was the accentuation of a wider-open scheme in a 42-7 romp past overwhelmed Mizzou.
LSU quarterback Danny Etling completed 19 throws for 216 yards with nine different teammates on the receiving end. The usual suspects had the bulk of those – 11 went to the three starting receivers.
But the breath-of-fresh-air change was that receiver Jazz Ferguson can be removed from a milk carton after snaring a pair of passes and Etling also utilized tight ends Foster Moreau (2-18) and Colin Jeter (1-18), as well as fullbacks J.D. Moore (1-9) and Bry’Keithon Mouton (1-4), in as diverse a passing attack as LSU has flashed in recent memory.
None of those pass plays were exactly game-changing if you take them on an individual basis. But what spreading the ball around did was help fill in some gaps for the most impressive LSU offensive performance in an SEC game in program history.
Etling’s passing totals were part of a 634-total yard eruption that included 82 snaps, 30 first downs and very little that didn’t work.
In some ways, the Tigers (3-2, 2-1 SEC) were very similar offensively to the team Les Miles oversaw and the offense Cam Cameron coordinated until both were fired last Sunday after an 18-13 loss at Auburn.
Even without Leonard Fournette, the LSU offense rattled and hummed because the Tigers ran the ball well, with Derrius Guice racking up 163 yards and Darrell Williams bulling his way to a career-high 130 as the Tigers gashed and gouged Missouri for 418 yards on the ground. Both backs scored three touchdowns as LSU rolled off an almost impossible-to-believe 8 yards a carry.
The short, quick passing game – many throws were delivered in front of the chains and on early downs – to receivers not named Travin Dural, Malachi Dupre and D.J. Chark was a major subplot to the record-setting night.
That’s what Orgeron preached from the pulpit the day he was introduced and it was the game that new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger impressively called in his first chance to run the show since an ill-fated 2003 season at Auburn.
ESPN play-by-play man Brent Musberger wondered out loud as the game was winding down just how much better the LSU offense will be when Fournette returns healthy. Well it sure seemed like the dominant performance Saturday provided an attention-getting blueprint of just how good the Tigers can be as they move into a gauntlet of tougher SEC defenses starting next week at Florida.
You can follow Randy Rosetta on Twitter @RandyRosetta.