When LSU fans realized they were going into their game versus Missouri without head coach Les Miles and without star running back Leonard Fournette, some were concerned. In hindsight, there was no need to be.
Newly named interim head coach Ed Orgeron always has been a favorite among his players no matter what program he’s been in. Despite losing its head coach, LSU played inspired football, which can be credited to its new leader. They played mistake free on offense and were aggressive against a young Missouri offense in a 42-7 victory.
The brightest star among this new group of Tigers was sophomore running back Derrius Guice. Guice rushed for 163 yards on 17 carries, an average of 9.6 yards per attempt. He also snagged a 21-yard pass in the third quarter. But more important than the amount of touches was what he did with them — Guice didn’t even have the most rushing attempts in the game.
What makes Fournette a must-watch player is that every time he touches the ball, he’s capable of trucking linebackers, stiff-arming defensive backs or carrying a pile of defensive linemen for a lot of yards. With Guice, that home-run talent is just as prevalent but in a different way. Three of Guice’s 17 touches went for touchdowns. Let’s look at how he found pay dirt on each of them.
Touchdown No. 1: The home run
Derrius Guice's first touchdown against Missouri was a thing of beauty. pic.twitter.com/EnzIh5ctLo
— Trevor Sikkema (@TrevorSikkema) October 4, 2016
As explained in the tweet above, that first touchdown was beautiful. The right and left guards held the edge just long enough for Guice to get by. After that, he made magic happen.
The vision Guice displayed on that run was ahead of his time. The second part of the video shows the All-22 angle from behind. If you pause it when Guice gets past the guards, you will see he had some space to work with on the left. Guice knew that if he cut it back, though, he’d have even more space to the right. Having that kind of awareness is rare for a true sophomore. When you add in the sharp cutbacks and the breakaway speed to get to the goal line, you have the best run from this past weekend — maybe even the season.
Fournette is good, but he doesn’t do the things we saw Guice do in that run. This kid is special.
Touchdown No. 2: The wrecking ball
On his second touchdown, Guice showed he’s not just an open-space guy. In the screenshots above, he went heads-up with the safety in the box and knocked him over while staying on his feet in the end zone. That was Fournette-esque. If LSU’s blocking can hold up like it did against Missouri, this is only the beginning of Guice’s reign of terror in the SEC, regardless if Fournette is healthy.
Touchdown No. 3: The breakaway speed
Finally, the third touchdown gave us all we needed to see. In the pictures above, the blocking held firm at the line of scrimmage. Guice burst through the gap untouched to the end zone from 40 yards.
Simply put: This kid is incredible. He’s a rare combination of violent running style mixed with patience. There are plenty of backs in the NFL who haven’t shown me the things Guice did in one game. I really hope health is on this kid’s side. If it is, his highlight reel has only just begun.