The LSU Fightin’ Fournettes escaped a stiff test from Jim McElwain’s surprising Florida Gators, 35-28. And, as expected, LSU’s Heisman Trophy-chasing sophomore running back, Leonard Fournette, had another stellar performance with 180 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns.
But LSU wouldn’t have survived the Gators Saturday were it not for the best individual effort of sophomore quarterback Brandon Harris’ fledgling career.
Harris’ final stat-line wasn’t eye-opening: 13-of-19 for 202 yards passing with a couple of scores. His command of the offense and the threat of his arm, however, gave the Florida defense something to think about.
Harris also attacked the ballyhooed Gator secondary fearlessly. His 50-yard bomb to Malachi Dupree on the move was flawlessly executed, and gave LSU a big boost when it was needed.
Brandon Harris’ TD throw on the move to Malachi Dupree. What a throw http://t.co/vgDcm6MUT5
— Kyle Kensing (@kensing45) October 18, 2015
“I got outside the pocket and Malachi knows to just keep running,” Harris said in the postgame press conference, via LSUSports.net. “Wherever he is on the field, I will be able to reach him. He
did a hell of a job.”
Harris did a hell of a job, himself.
Over the course of one night in Death Valley, he grew up into the savvy quarterback LSU needs to pursue an SEC championship.
Quarterback play has been the most often criticized facet of this undefeated LSU team. He told reporters the criticism isn’t lost on him.
“It’s nothing but motivation to me, and I can’t stand it,” he said. “I play with a chip on my shoulder every single week.”
Harris doesn’t need to be a Heisman-caliber play-maker to give the Tigers an edge against the SEC’s best, however.
With Fournette carrying the ball and a talented defense manning things on the other end — and the occasional trick-play call — nights like Saturday from Harris will be enough for the Tigers.
Head coach Les Miles reminded the SEC where the Mad Hatter nickname originated with some gutsy decisions. Trent Domingue’s 16-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner — an ironic turn for a team with Fournette and a streaking quarterback.
Trent Domingue on the pitch for the LSU TD. Gutsy call. pic.twitter.com/GWgPA4YDFC
— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) October 18, 2015
Don’t sweat the details too much. The moral of LSU’s story at the season’s midway point is that, while Fournette carried the Tigers through some spotty performances previously, they’re becoming an all-around threat.
Fournette scored all three of LSU’s touchdowns in the narrow, Week 2 escape from Mississippi State. He ran wild a few weeks later at Syracuse in another otherwise lackluster performance from the rest of the squad.
Harris’ continued emergence means the remaining opponents on LSU’s schedule won’t need only to slow Fournette to score a win; a difficult enough proposition as is.
Fournette said he’s seeing the progress.
“At the beginning of the season I thought we were alright,” he said in the postgame press conference. “But, we are better than what I
You aren’t the only one, Leonard.