New LSU coach Ed Orgeron promised fans that the Tigers offense would change under his watch.
So far, so good.
In Orgeron’s first game as LSU’s head man, the Tigers’ offense was as good as it has ever been before – literally.
LSU crushed Missouri 42-7 on Saturday – the first game for the Tigers after parting ways with Les Miles and Cam Cameron after last week’s debacle at Auburn.
The Tigers looked energized by the move, dominating both lines of scrimmage in the easy win.
LSU gained 634 total yards in the win – the most yardage they’ve ever accumulated in a SEC game.
Orgeron got a Gatorade bath as the final seconds drained off the clock, but said he wants the team to continue to get better – week by week.
“It’s a tremendous day for the Tiger family,” Orgeron said. “I’m incredibly proud of our players and of our coaches. … You could feel the electricity in the stadium, and I told them that big plays fuel emotion. I told them, ‘If you want to get them cranked up, make big plays.’ And obviously, the output that we had on offense was tremendous.”
Tremendous is exactly right.
The LSU offense did just about anything it wanted to do on Saturday night.
With new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger at the controls, the Tigers were far more balanced – especially early in the game, which loosened the defense and set up the team for some big runs.
And those big runs came in abundance throughout the game.
LSU struck first on its second drive of the game – a 42-yard run from Derrius Guice, who started in place of injured Leonard Fournette, who has a sprained ankle.
The touchdown was one of three for Guice in the first half – all scores which allowed the Tigers to take a 21-0 lead into halftime.
The LSU backup didn’t look much like a non-starter on Saturday.
He carried the ball 17 times for 163 yards and three scores, helping the Tigers combine for 418 rushing yards in the win.
“(Guice) is one hell of a football player,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said. “He really hurt us tonight. They controlled the line of scrimmage, but he made plays when we thought we had him bottled up.”
In the second half, it didn’t get much better for Missouri.
LSU dominated the second half just as handily as it did the first, using power runs from Darrel Williams and timely passes from Danny Etling to keep possession of the ball.
Like Guice, Williams also had more than 100 yards and three touchdowns.
Etling was 19-of-30 in the win, completing for 216 yards.
Those completions – many which came on third downs – allowed LSU to absolutely dominate time of possession in the win.
LSU ran 82 plays on Saturday, compared to 60 for Missouri.
The winning team controlled time of possession with ease, holding possession of the ball for 42-minutes and 42-seconds of the 60-minute game.
“It was tremendous,” Orgerson said of Ensminger’s calls throughout the game. “We spread them out a little bit, as you saw and we started throwing the football to loosen them up on the run. … I thought his game calling was excellent.”
But now, the challenge is to keep battling forward.
Orgeron said he’s excited to be 1-0 as LSU’s head coach, but he’s not content with the way the team played.
LSU has a tough game next Saturday – an 11 a.m. kickoff on Saturday morning against Florida.
To conquer that game, Orgeron said the Tigers have to play as well as they’ve played all season.
But that goal looks far more attainable than it’s looked all season – especially with how the team played against Missouri.
“We ain’t getting a big head,” Orgeron said in his raspy Cajun voice. “We’re going to stay hungry. We’re going to get better and we’re going to challenge ourselves to get better. There’s going to be bigger and better opponents down the road. We’ll take them one at a time.”
So far, so good.
Now, it’s on to the next one for Coach O.
Photo: LSU vs. Jacksonville State by Sean Gasser.