What went right, wrong for LSU in Saturday’s 34-13 win over Jacksonville State
By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
STOCK UP: Backup Backfield
Most of the attention will focus on Danny Etling — and rightfully so — but the credit for Saturday’s 34-13 win over Jacksonville State belongs to the entire makeshift backfield as LSU racked up 371 yards of total offense without the services of All-American tailback Leonard Fournette. Derrius Guice, who started in Fournette’s stead, led the way with 155 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. After a slow start, Guice ripped off chunk runs of 32, 44 and 29 yards once Etling took over under center. Darrel Williams chipped in 51 total yards on six touches. Backup fullback Bry-Kiethon Mouton scored his first career touchdown on a fullback dive in the second quarter.
STOCK UP: LSU’s “other” pass catchers
LSU had a productive passing game for all of one glorious quarter of football, and it was because Danny Etling didn’t zero in on LSU’s oft-targeted one-two punch at wide receiver. Etling’s first two completions, sandwiched around a Malachi Dupre drop, went to Darrel Williams. He then tossed a 46-yard touchdown to a wide-open DeSean Smith streaking down the left sideline. On LSU’s next drive, Etling found D.J. Chark — his first career reception — to convert third-and-6 with a 12-yard gain. One drive later, on Etling’s third series, he dropped a slip screen off the Guice that got LSU within the 5-yard line to set up the Tigers’ third touchdown in as many possessions.
STOCK DOWN: Blown coverages
It was, for the most part, another productive day at the office for Dave Aranda’s defense. However, an old bugaboo that haunted the Tigers last season flared up again. Jacksonville State’s overall passing numbers weren’t particularly impressive, but the Gamecocks hit a couple home run balls thanks to blown coverages on the part of LSU’s secondary. The longest, a 76-yard scoring strike from Eli Jenkins to Krenwic Sanders, came on a slant route that both Donte Jackson and Jamal Adams tried to jump — but neither were able to get to. Jenkins later connected with former Tiger Kevin Spears, who ran wide open behind the defense to haul in a 42-yarder on third-and-16.
STOCK DOWN: Fournette’s Heisman hopes
Leonard Fournette began this season as the odds-on Vegas favorite to take home the Heisman Trophy. After two weeks of play, it feels like his chances rest somewhere between slim and none. Fournette, nursing a bruised ankle, sat out Saturday after rushing for 138 yards in LSU’s season-opening loss to Wisconsin. The defeat wasn’t Fournette’s fault by any stretch, but the blow to the team’s standing, coupled with the loss of a chance to compile gaudy stats against FCS foe Jacksonville State, all but rule out Fournette making any trips to New York. Frankly, LSU would sign for him simply suiting up against Mississippi State in next week’s SEC opener.