LSU’s 44-22 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday night wasn’t exactly a cakewalk. The Eagles were in the game well into the second half and the Tigers struggled to pull away until the very end. A win is a win, however, and the Tigers are 4-0. Here’s what we learned from LSU’s victory:
Brandon Harris and the passing game has a long way to go
Harris started the game 2 of 3 with 46 yards on LSU’s first drive. After that, Harris went 2 of 12 for 34 yards and an interception. The Tigers tried to get the aerial attack going against an inferior opponent, but ultimately scrapped it after the first half. Harris threw just two passes in the second half and completed one pass after the first quarter. The sophomore finished the day 4 of 15 for 80 yards. His last nine passes were incompletions, two of which were dropped.
This isn’t all Harris’ fault. Harris threw some good passes early in the game off of play-action fakes. LSU’s wide receivers failed to create many plays for their quarterback. Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural caught one pass apiece and had one drop apiece. The leading receiver was tight end Colin Jeter, who caught one pass for 28 yards.
LSU was able to lean on its running game against Eastern Michigan, but it won’t be able to get away with such a lack of balance against elite SEC West foes. The Tigers need to find some playmakers in the passing game to help Harris get in rhythm. Nobody’s stopped Fournette yet, but what would happen if someone did?
LSU did not bring its A-game
Fournette said the team probably overlooked Eastern Michigan this week and it showed in the first half. The Tigers folded up after getting out to a 17-0 lead and allowed the Eagles to crawl back into the game. LSU was a 45-point favorite, but the only player who dominated was Fournette. It’s tough to bring your best stuff for a contest against a menial opponent from the MAC, but Eastern Michigan should have never been within a touchdown after the first quarter. The game might have been even closer if not for a pick-six from Deion Jones and a couple of poor turnovers from Eastern Michigan’s Brogan Roback.
LSU sort of found the killer instinct in the second half, but they didn’t have the relaxing game they might have expected. The Tigers will need to have a stronger mindset heading into Columbia for a matchup against South Carolina next week.
The Tigers are not elite just yet
LSU has a very good football team and arguably the best player in the nation, but there are still some glaring problems the Tigers have not solved.
The passing game is in disarray. Harris was not very good against an inferior opponent and his receivers didn’t get much separation against the Eagles. Penalties continued to hurt the Tigers. They committed seven penalties for 51 yards on Saturday, which was half the number of infractions they had against Syracuse last week. The Tigers jumped offsides three times and had a pair of false start penalties at home. There were also a few gaffes in the secondary that will need to be cleaned up.
LSU is a top-10 team, but they need to fix some things up if they want to ascend into the College Football Playoff discussion.