BATON ROUGE, La. — Leonard who?
LSU’s backup backfield gang proved to be just as effective as its missing leader, Leonard Fournette, gashing a gassed Missouri defense in a 42-7 win.
Derrius Guice led the way with three touchdowns and 163 yards. It was impossible to tell the difference between Guice and Fournette on any of his touchdown runs.
Sweet zig-zagging 42-yarder?
Short 4-yard plunge where a would-be tackler is plowed into the end zone?
A 37-yard untouched bolt up the middle?
Fournette’s done all of that before, and Saturday night Guice looked like his clone.
Not to be forgotten, Darrel Williams also cracked the century mark, adding three touchdowns of his own on a 130-yard night.
Tempo, by LSU standards
The Tigers picked up 18 first downs in the first half — the most since a 51-0 win over Mississippi State in 2004 when Nick Saban coached the team.
It’s not that LSU went to a new playbook under Steve Ensminger, but the pace was certainly picked up and it made a world of difference. The Tigers ran 82 total plays. The previous season-high was 71 against Mississippi State, and LSU didn’t crack 60 plays in its other three games.
Playmakers can’t make plays unless you give them enough plays, something Orgeron and Ensminger importantly seemed to grasp that Les Miles and Cam Cameron could not.
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock came in averaging 391 passing yards a game, but he was rendered totally ineffective against the best defense he has seen this year.
Lock was 17 of 37 for 177 yards and an interception, finishing the game with a 78.5 passer rating.
Lock’s struggles were exacerbated by Missouri’s anemic rushing attack, which managed only 77 yards on 22 carries.
It’s hard to gauge what this means about LSU’s defense since the Mizzou offense racked up its gaudiest numbers against Eastern Michigan and Delaware State, but it was absolutely stifling regardless.
Short and sour
Running a tempo offense is a recipe for disaster if that offense cannot actually move the ball, and so it was for Mizzou.
The Tigers had seven drives that took less than 2 minutes off the clock in the first half alone, and LSU had its way against a weary defense by still rushing for more than 400 yards without the best running back in the nation.
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Danny Etling distributed the ball to nine different targets, including Jazz Ferguson, who had his first two catches of the season.
This forced the Missouri defense to play honestly against the run, and you saw how that worked out for them.
LSU targeted even more receivers, including little-used Russell Gage. When every receiver in the lineup feels they’ve got a chance to make a play, they’ll be more engaged. And maybe they’ll even stop transferring out of the program en masse.