BATON ROUGE — LSU overcame a sluggish first-half performance by its vaunted defense on Saturday night to defeat Northwestern State 65-14 as the Tigers improved to 3-0 on the season and scored the most points in regulation since a 63-7 win over New Mexico State in 2014. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow had another strong performance and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the victory inside Tiger Stadium.
How It Happened:
NSU’s offense moved the ball 40 yards on 11 plays on its opening drive but was forced to punt. LSU responded by scoring on its first possession as the Tigers put together a 10-play, 57-yard drive and did so by targeting Stephen Sullivan three times. The Tiger wide receiver-tight end, who had yet to record a reception this season, caught two passes for 17 yards on the drive. The drive stalled and LSU would have to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Cade York.
NSU though answered by putting together an 8-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Shelton Eppier to Quan Shorts. That trip to the end zone was historic for NSU as it was the first time the Demons have ever scored a touchdown against the Tigers. NSU had previously managed only three points total in the past 11 meetings.
LSU retook the lead with an 8-play, 69-yard drive which was capped by Edwards-Helaire scoring from 4 yards out.
After a three-and-out by NSU, LSU added to its lead with a 7-play, 77-yard drive as Burrow found Terrace Marshall Jr. for a 14-yard touchdown.
NSU would respond by putting together a 6-play, 75-yard scoring drive of their own as Eppier found a wide-open David Fitzwater for a 26-yard touchdown. With 5:29 left in the half, LSU held only a 17-14 lead.
The Tigers would strike once again with a 6-play, 70-yard drive that took only 2:02 as Edwards-Helaire scored his second rushing touchdown of the night — this time from 3 yards out.
NSU had a chance to put more points on the scoreboard before half as Dylan Wilson intercepted Burrow and returned it 8 yards to the LSU 17-yard line. The Demons though could not punch it in and the 34-yard field goal by Scotty Roblow went wide right.
LSU pulled away with a dominant second half as the Tigers scored on their first three drives of the third quarter.
Burrow scored on a 5-yard quarterback keeper on the first drive, then found Marshall for a 6-yard touchdown on the second, and then orchestrated the third drive which was capped by a 4-yard run by freshman running back John Emery Jr. That would be Burrow’s final action of the night as he was pulled for backup Myles Brennan.
Brennan would then lead the Tigers to a scoring drive as Tyrion Davis-Price powered his way into the end zone from 1-yard out.
Freshman wide receiver-punt returner Trey Palmer would add a 54-yard punt return for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. LSU would then cap the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run by Davis-Price.
Big Number: 610
A week after rolling up 573 total yards of offense against the University of Texas, LSU eclipsed that by racking up 610 total yards of offense, including 333 yards in the second half, against Northwestern State on Saturday night.
Player of the Game: Joe Burrow
In addition to his 373 passing yards and two scores through the air, Burrow added 30 yards rushing and a rushing touchdown. Not even an interception, on an errant throw, could take away from another stellar performance for LSU’s Heisman Trophy hopeful.
Next Up: LSU travels to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt in its SEC opener. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.