LSU tailback Leonard Fournette may have been just a bit offended after being snubbed from the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Even if he wasn’t, the sophomore tailback proved he was one of the best players in the country during LSU’s 56-27 victory over Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl.
The Tigers were expected to run all over Texas Tech and it’s 126th-ranked run defense, but Fournette somehow found a way to overdeliver. He ran for 212 yards, accumulated 256 total yards (a Texas Bowl record) and shattered LSU’s single-season record for rushing touchdowns.
— Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette) December 30, 2015
In a shocking decision, Fournette was named the most valuable player of the Texas Bowl. LSU coach Les Miles said this is the type of performance his team expects from its star tailback.
“We’d expect him to have nights like this,” Miles said according to The Advocate’s Ross Dellenger. “He’s fast and strong and capable.”
Fournette was plenty capable against the Red Raiders early and often and conquered all schemes, including 10-man fronts.
You know your defense is facing Leonard Fournette when… pic.twitter.com/qDmnfHBHtQ
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) December 30, 2015
One way to cure a stacked box is to bowl your opponent over. Fournette did plenty of bruising on Tuesday night in front of the largest crowd in Texas Bowl history. 71,307 people probably squirmed in their seats after watching Fournette truck defenders.
Leonard Fournette is back everyone. pic.twitter.com/iMznb2TiOo
— Matt Barbato (@RealMattBarbato) December 30, 2015
Fournette’s favorite hobby might be rewriting record books. He finished the season with 1,953 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns, which are both LSU single-season records. Finally, he finished the season with the second-best rushing season in SEC history. The tailback humbly called his performance “productive,” which was quite the understatement.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) December 30, 2015
Fournette may have come just 47 yards short of the 2,000-yard milestone, but he said he was happy his teammates got some reps near the end of the game.
“Yeah it (the milestone) was (on my mind), but then I wanted the other running backs to get love too,” Fournette said to ESPN’s Maria Taylor after the game. “I want to show love to them too, get them touchdowns. It doesn’t matter. We got the victory. We won.”
Fournette’s production dipped as LSU regressed during its midseason swoon. That slump ultimately cost him a chance at the Heisman and lost him some national respect. Senior offensive lineman Vadal Alexander said Fournette was motivated to prove himself in the Texas Bowl.
“Coming into this game, he wanted to prove he’s that running back that everybody thinks he is,” Alexander said according to The Advocate’s Marcus Rodrigue.
Fournette might not have made it to New York this year, but he could be in store for a trip to the Big Apple and more hardware in 2016. However, the only hardware Fournette wants is a championship trophy.
“I want a championship,” Fournette said after the game according to The Advocate’s Scott Rabalais. “I haven’t had a championship since my park ball days.”
For now, Fournette will have to settle for being one of the best players in the nation.