Brandon Harris entered the 2016 season brimming with confidence that he could be the one who, finally, flipped LSU’s quarterback fortunes. Less than six quarters in, Harris has found himself holding a clipboard.
Harris started the Week 2 game against FCS Jacksonville State, and promptly guided the Tigers to two straight three-and-outs . The junior wouldn’t get a chance to make it three in a row as, very early in the second quarter and with the Tigers trailing 3-0, Harris, to the relief of the Death Valley denizens, was yanked in favor of Danny Etling.
The move paid immediate dividends as Etling, in his first action with the Tigers, went 3-5 for 65 yards on his initial drive, including a 46-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Smith to give the home team a 6-3 lead (the point after was missed). On the offense’s next possession, Etling went 2-2 for 17 yards on a drive that ended with a Derrius Guice touchdowns run and a 13-3 LSU lead.
Prior to his benching, Harris was 1-4 for eight yards. In the Week 1 loss to Wisconsin, Harris went 12-21 for 131 yards and two interceptions.
Etling came to LSU as a transfer from Purdue in June of 2015. He sat out the 2015 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
Earlier this past week, Les Miles seemed to dismiss talk of benching Harris in favor of Etling while simultaneously hinting that a swap could be in the offing.
“[H]e doesn’t have a lifetime to do it, and there are other quarterbacks to go to,” the head coach stated. And, for now, Etling appears to be the quarterback to go to moving forward.