No. 11 LSU topples SE Louisiana 31-0
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Joe Burrow passed for two touchdowns and ran for a short score, and No. 11 LSU rode an opportunistic defensive performance to a 31-0 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night.
While the result was never in doubt, LSU's offense lacked consistency and often struggled to sustain drives. The Tigers managed only one first down during their first three possessions of the second half. That could bode ill as LSU (2-0) heads into Southeastern Conference play against Auburn next week.
"I thought we would play a lot better offensively," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. "I thought the game would be a lot cleaner. Obviously, it wasn't. We have to go back, look at film and get better. It was a flat night; we could never get a spark offensively."
Southeastern (0-2), which plays in the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision, had most of the possession of the second half, but turned the ball over twice deep in LSU territory.
"We really didn't do anything well, except we competed," Southeastern coach Frank Scelfo said. LSU is "a good football team, so they caused some of that stuff."
LSU's Andraez "Greedy" Williams ended one SLU threat with an interception. Another Lions drive ended on a bad shotgun snap over the head of reserve quarterback Lorenzo Nunez. Safety JaCoby Stevens scooped it up and ran 64 yards to set up LSU's final TD on Clyde Edwards-Helaire's 7-yard run.
Running back Nick Brossette was LSU's most productive player on offense, rushing for a career-high 137 yards on 19 carries, including a 42-yard scamper.
Burrow's second touchdown only required him to heave the ball up for grabs from 40 yards out as time expired in the first half. Stephen Sullivan was able to outleap a crowd of players and come down with the ball as his helmet popped off.
Burrow's first TD pass went to Ja'Marr Chase, who accounted for most of the 9-yard score with a short sprint along the sideline and a dive past tacklers near the goal line. Burrow's touchdown run came from one yard out.
"In the first quarter, we played really well. We came out attacking and had the right mindset," Burrow said. "After that, our mindset kind of let off the gas a little bit. We can't do that in big games. We know that. We are going to have to get a lot of things addressed this week in practice."
New LSU kicker Cole Tracy, a transfer from Division II Assumption College, booted a 50-yard field goal early in the second quarter. It's his second field goal of 50 or more yards in two games after he tied the school record with a 54-yarder against Miami. Before this season, LSU had converted only one field goal of 50 or more yards since 2011. That was Colby Delahoussaye's 50-yarder in 2014.
Left tackle Saahdiq Charles and defensive end Michael Divinity were not in uniform. Orgeron referred to their absences as an "in-house" matter. He did not provide further details other than to say he expected both to play at Auburn. Austin Deculus started for Charles. Andre Anthony saw more action in place of Divinity.
Meanwhile, edge pass rusher Ray Thornton started for K'Lavon Chaisson, who was lost for the season a week earlier to a knee injury.
LSU starting linebacker Jacob Phillips was ejected late in the second quarter for targeting. He was blitzing when he dipped his shoulder and appeared to catch Southeastern starting QB Chason Virgil in the helmet shortly after a throw. Because the foul occurred in the first half, he will not have to sit out the first half of LSU's next game.
After shooting up from 25th to 11th following a dominant season-opening victory over Miami, LSU isn't likely to move up or down much. The Tigers' bouts of anemia on offense should be offset somewhat by the fact they still won convincingly.
Southeastern Louisiana: The Lions finished with 189 yards passing, all by Virgil, compared to LSU's 151. Southeastern also converted five of six fourth downs in a feisty performance. Both of the Lions' losses have come on the road against FBS teams, and the first was by just three points at Louisiana-Monroe. So, Southeastern could be highly competitive in FCS play.
LSU: While LSU's largely dominant defense allowed the Tigers to cruise to a lopsided victory, the offense won't be at all satisfied heading into SEC play.
Southeastern Louisiana: Home opener vs. Central Arkansas next Saturday.
LSU: At Auburn next Saturday.