Ja'Marr Chase

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LSU’s Joe Burrow tosses school-record six TDs in romp over Vandy


Welcome to the 21st century, LSU offense.

Going back more than a decade, play at the quarterback position has kept LSU from being true players on the national stage for most of that stretch.  The under-the-radar addition this offseason of New Orleans Saints staffer Joe Brady as passing-game coordinator was expected to pay big dividends as the Tigers modernized what had been a Pony Express offense; the first three games showed just how stark of a difference was made by Brady’s addition.

In Week 4, it was more of the same as, after falling behind 7-0 early to Vanderbilt, No. 4 LSU rolled to a 66-38 win over the Commodores.  Joe Burrow, the former Ohio State quarterback who transferred to LSU last offseason, set a school record with six touchdown passes, breaking the old standard of five set by Zach Mettenberger in 2013.

In 17 games with the Tigers, Burrow has thrown 33 touchdowns; in the 25 games prior to his arrival, Tiger quarterbacks threw 29.  Burrow already has 17 touchdowns in four games this season.  Unbelievably, that number is already tied for ninth in school history, and is just 11 away (with at least nine games remaining) of tying the single-season record of 28 (JaMarcus Russell, 2013, and Matt Mauck (2003).

Additionally, Burrow passed for 357 yards… in the first half alone.  Since Mettenberger’s 372 yards in a Sept. 28, 2013, loss to Georgia, just one Tiger quarterback has thrown for more than 357 yards in an entire game — Burrow’s 396 yards in the Fiesta Bowl win over UCF following the 2018 regular season.  In this game, Burrow, who was lifted very early in the fourth quarter, threw for a career-high 398 yards.

Ja'Marr Chase had himself a day catching passes from Burrow, totaling 229 yards and four touchdowns on 10 receptions.  Those four scores came from 64, 25, 51 and 16 yards out.

LSU WR Jonathan Giles reportedly looking to transfer for second time

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Jonathan Giles is looking for a new program. Again.

The Texas Tech-turned-LSU wide receiver is the latest name to be entered into the NCAA Transfer Portal, 247Sports’ Shea Dixon reports on Thursday afternoon.

It’s not quite clear if Giles, who should be a redshirt senior, is going to be a graduate transfer that will be immediately eligible but that seems like a safe assumption considering he sat out a year after moving from Lubbock to Baton Rouge after his sophomore season in 2016. Last year for the Tigers he caught just 10 passes for 59 yards over eight games, a far cry from the 69 receptions for 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns he had in his final campaign with the Red Raiders.

While LSU is moving to a more “wide-open” offensive system, the depth chart was probably more of a driver for Giles’ eventual departure than anything. The program was set to return pretty much everybody from last year at receiver (including likely starters Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall) and add yet another incoming crop of talented recruits to boot.

The former three-star recruit is originally from the Houston area and held offers from a number of Power Five and Group of Five programs in the region back in the day.

No. 25 LSU runs away from No. 8 Miami

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After a 2017 season that saw the Hurricanes start 10-0, including those back-to-back wins over top-15 Virginia Tech and Notre Dame teams, and finish 0-3 with back-to-back-to-back double-digit losses, the goal, the hope, for No. 8 Miami entering Sunday night was to show that 2018 would be more about the first 10 and not the last three.

The first 30 minutes of Sunday night’s game showed that plan to be unfounded. No. 25 LSU opened up a 27-3 halftime lead and cruised to a 33-17 statement win at AT&T Stadium in suburban Dallas.

Before the game turned into a blowout, though, there was a moment when Miami appeared to have the upper hand. That’s all it was, a moment, but it happened. Tied 3-3 late in the first quarter, Miami moved from its own 30 to the LSU 32, but the drive sputtered and freshman kicker Bubba Baxa‘s 45-yard field goal sailed wide right.

Then the rout was on.

Nick Brossette registered LSU’s first touchdown with a 50 yard burst straight through the middle of Miami’s defense.

After forcing a three-and-out, LSU scored on another Brossette run, a 1-yarder, which was set up by a 22-yard connection from Joe Burrow to Ja'Marr Chase which appeared to fall incomplete on second glance, but the Tigers were able to snap the ball before the replay official could intervene.

With the score at 20-3 midway through the second quarter, Malik Rosier made a mistake that buried the Hurricanes for good when he didn’t see LSU linebacker Jacob Phillips lying in wait for his slant pass, and Phillips raced the interception 45 yards for a touchdown.

Staked to a 24-point halftime lead, Ed Orgeron took the air out of the ball in the second half — not that the Tigers were slinging it around to begin with — and the Bayou Bengals managed just the third and fourth of Cole Tracy‘s field goals, a transfer who last played at tiny Division II Assumption College in Massachusetts.

A pair of Rosier touchdowns, a 3-yard run with 13:57 to go and a 32-yard strike to Brian Hightower with 8:43 remaining, allowed Miami to cling to a slight glimmer of hope when taking over at its own 5 with 6:30 remaining to chip away at a two possession deficit. Rosier maneuvered the Canes from the shadow of their own goal post to the LSU 40, but Rosier tossed three straight incompletions and then was sacked on 4th-and-10 with 4:40 to play, allowing LSU to shut the door on any possibility of a UCLA-over-Texas A&M Labor Day Sunday redux.

LSU’s offense didn’t jump off the page, as the Tigers achieved only 17 first downs and converted just 3-of-16 third downs. Burrow was a workmanlike 11-of-24 for 140 yards, and Brossette led all runners with 22 carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns. But the Tigers didn’t need to be spectacular to win on Sunday; capitalizing on Miami’s plethora of offensive and special teams mistakes proved to be more than enough. Rosier tossed two interceptions and Zach Feagles averaged just 36.4 yards on five punts.

Rosier battled through the entire game, hitting 15-of-35 passes for 257 yards while being credited with 15 carries for 12 yards. DeeJay Dallas led Miami in rushing with 38 yards on eight carries.

LSU opens its home schedule next week with Southeastern Louisiana before beginning its SEC gauntlet with a trip to No. 9 Auburn on Sept. 15 (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS). The Tigers team that took the field Saturday night flashed plenty of potential to win 10 or more games, but a schedule that includes No. 3 Georgia and Florida in addition to a more-ferocious-than-ever SEC West will make them earn it.

Miami, meanwhile, plays a schedule that could still see the Canes reach double-digit wins again. Mark Richt‘s team gets Florida State at home and does not face No. 2 Clemson. But Sunday night’s result shows a potential 10-win season would once again be a mirage.

LSU manhandling Miami through one half in Dallas

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Through one half in Dallas, LSU looks nothing like the team we last saw and Miami looks exactly like the team we last saw. The Tigers have won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and as a result are winning the scoreboard, 27-3 at the break.

The teams traded field goals to get the scoring started and Miami seemed to grab an early advantage through Malik Rosier‘s right arm, reaching a 1st-and-10 at the LSU 32 late in the first quarter. But Rosier fired incomplete on second and third down, forcing a second Bubba Baxa field goal, which the true freshman missed wide left.

LSU took that opening and made the most of it, grabbing the lead on a 50-yard Nick Brossette burst straight up the middle.

After forcing a three-and-out, LSU burst the game open with an 11-play, 58-yard drive that was keyed by a 22-yard completion from Joe Burrow to Ja'Marr Chase to the 1-yard line that appeared to hit the AT&T Stadium turf upon further review, but the Bayou Bengals raced to the line of scrimmage and registered a 1-yard Brossette run before the replay official could blow the play dead.

Cole Tracy, a transfer from Division II Assumption College in Massachusetts, pushed LSU’s lead to 20-3 with his second field goal of the first half, a 21-yarder, at the 4:56 mark of the second quarter, and Jacob Phillips put an early capper on the night just 30 seconds later, stepping in front of a Rosier pass and racing it 45 yards for a touchdown.

Miami’s struggles to open 2018 have looked exactly like its struggles to close 2017. Rosier (8-of-15 for 101 yards) has struggled in the intermediate passing game, and as a result the Canes are 0-for-6 on third down. On the ground, Miami has one rush longer than eight yards.

LSU at times looked choppy in its first game with a new offensive coordinator (Steve Ensminger) and quarterback (Joe Burrow), as the Tigers had to take two timeouts to avoid delay of game penalties. But outside of that, the new LSU has looked like the LSU of old, back when the Tigers were a credible threat to Alabama in the SEC West. Burrow has completed 8-of-16 throws for 101 yards but looked better than his stats indicate. Brossette leads all rushers with eight carries for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

LSU will receive to open the second half.