ARLINGTON, Texas — Despite setting a series of Louisiana high school records during his decorated prep career, the most memorable moment of Nick Brossette’s first three years at LSU were his coach referring to him as a third-string running back after an infamous fumble against Troy.
Perhaps then it’s actually poetic that Brossette was the third running back in the game against Miami on Sunday night.
The senior admitted afterword that he expected to start the game, but by the time his night was finished, there was no doubting his fitness for first-string status anymore.
Brossette turned 22 carries into a career-high 125 yards and two touchdowns as No. 25 LSU rolled No. 8 Miami 33-17 at AT&T Stadium on Sunday night. His legs were the driving force behind a signature win for Ed Orgeron and the Tigers as well as a statement to those who doubted him.
“Nick played one of his best games,” cornerback Greedy Williams said. “I came up to him and said, ‘Bro, you like the same Nick that was in high school.’ In high school he broke records, so he came out and did what he had to do.”
High school Nick scored 141 touchdowns in five seasons toting the rock as the hometown star for University High School, shattering the previous record of 118 set by former Tiger Kenny Hilliard. Those glory days must’ve felt like an eternity ago as Brossette hadn’t gotten back in the end zone through three seasons at LSU.
There were tough times along the way, but Brossette never lost confidence in his own abilities. He waited his turn behind Leonard Fournette, Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams, and with the RB1 position finally up for grabs, he took the job and ran with it — pun intended.
“I just knew I had to be patient,” Brossette said. “That’s the biggest thing. Being patient. Being humble. I showed a lot of people out there.”
LSU looked like a discombobulated mess offensively before Brossette made his long-awaited return to the end zone. A smothering defense kept the score 3-3 while clock management issues, drops and suspect blocking left the new-look offense stuck in neutral until late in the first quarter.
That was until quarterback Joe Burrow called the audible at the line of scrimmage that broke Brossette free.
Saahdiq Charles and Garrett Brumfield opened up a hole wide enough to drive a truck through on the left side, and Brossette exploded through the hole for a 50-yard touchdown gallop that sparked a string of 30 unanswered points to cease control of the game.
With his path to pay dirt clear, Brossette stepped on the gas and only saw his destination.
“The goal line,” Brossette said of what he saw on that play. “I just wanted to get in. I was just speechless, you know. I just had to keep pounding and get the win for my teammates.”
And keep pounding he did. Brossette converted a fourth-and-short on LSU’s next drive to set up his second touchdown of the night. Credit Charles too for blocking a pair of Hurricane defenders and allowing Brossette to squeeze his way back into the end zone to cap an 11-play scoring march.
It would’ve been hard to envision such a monster performance coming from the veteran back on a night when LSU didn’t block well by Orgeron’s own estimation.
Mea culpa, this author predicted that underclassmen runners Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Chris Curry were more likely candidates to emerge from the crowded backfield than Brossette. You’ve got to be willing to admit when you were wrong, and wrong I was. Alert Freezing Cold Takes.
But apparently Brossette did. He told his roommate, freshman Tae Provens, that he planned to rush for between 125 and 150 yards on a national stage in LSU’s standalone season opener.
“I spoke it to existence, and I just had a lot of confidence about myself,” Brossette said.
His admirable patience paid off in a big way on Sunday night. And speaking of patience, perhaps Orgeron and Co. aren’t going to have to wait for National Signing Day to find their next featured back after all.