LSU’s freshman quarterback, Brandon Harris, isn’t ready for prime time. Les Miles‘ Tigers appeared afraid to put the ball in their young signal-caller’s hands, while Auburn rolled up a 31-7 halftime lead.
Harris was a meager 3-of-10 passing for 58 yards. The bulk of the yardage came from a 52-yard completion to wide receiver Malachi Dupree for 52 yards, which set up LSU’s only score. Otherwise, LSU’s offense has been very predictable.
Auburn didn’t have to worry about defending the pass with Harris behind center. As a result, Auburn could concentrate on stopping the run. LSU was still relatively successful on the ground with 112 yards, but it struggled to convert those yards into first downs. LSU managed six first downs compared to Auburn’s 15.
Quarterback play certainly wasn’t a concern for Auburn. Nick Marshall was 12-of-16 passing for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The senior quarterback was also Auburn’s leading rusher with 81 yards and two more touchdowns.
Overall, Gus Malzahn‘s offense appears to be rounding into form. Auburn gained 379 yards of total offense. And junior wide receiver Sammie Coates already posted his best game of the season with 123 yards, including 56-yard touchdown snag between two defenders.
The second half will be vital for both squads for entirely different reasons.
LSU needs to build Harris’ confidence if it plans to move forward with him as the team’s starter at quarterback. For Auburn, this is a showcase to prove the program is among the nation’s best since multiple Top 10 teams already lost Saturday.