AUSTIN, Texas – LSU wasn’t going down without trying to land a knockout blow.
Offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, passing game coordinator Joe Brady and senior quarterback Joe Burrow were playing to win. Saturday night LSU’s offense was going to seal the victory over No. 9 Texas (1-1) instead of trying to run out the clock – another sign of the Tigers’ offensive renaissance.
It’s a valuable lesson LSU (2-0) learned last season in a seven-overtime loss to Texas A&M. Burrow said LSU wanted to go into the final drive being aggressive, and when LSU coach Ed Orgeron asked Ensminger if he wanted to switch to a four-minute offense and bleed the clock, Ensminger told him, “no, we’re going to pass the ball, go down there and score.”
The situation looked dicey for LSU when Burrow was sacked for a loss of seven on second-and-10, and Orgeron said if Texas got the ball still only down six LSU’s defense likely wasn’t going to be able to hold.
“They were playing so well on the other side of the ball we knew we were going to have to score again,” Burrow said. “I kept telling our guys, ‘we’ve got to get 40 and we’ll win. 40 and we win,’ and we went into that last drive aggressive and it paid off for us.”
Burrow stood tall and delivered the knockout punch LSU was looking for. Surrounded by six Texas defenders, the senior stepped up in the pocket and waited for junior wide receiver Justin Jefferson to get open before delivering a strike off of one leg.
Jefferson caught the ball near the left hash mark before racing up the sideline for his third touchdown catch of the day, essentially clinching LSU’s 45-38 win over Texas. The youngest of the Jefferson brothers to play at LSU – Jordan (2008-2011) and Rickey (2013-2016) – finished the game with nine catches for 163 yards to go along with his three touchdowns.
“We have been working it all week, and I told Joe, ‘look the safeties can’t really guard me so let’s try to fix something up,’” Jefferson said.
“We have been saying this offense was going to be dangerous. We’ve been saying we’ve got the best receiver corps in the nation, and tonight we proved it.”
LSU also proved another thing – LSU’s offensive switch is for real.
Burrow finished with 471 yards and four touchdowns on 31-of-39 passing with an interception. Burrow’s 471 yards is the second most in school history and the most since Rohan Davey threw for 444 yards in the 2001 Sugar Bowl.
“The kid is a baller,” Orgeron said. “He lives for that moment, and I’ll tell you what, those were some tough plays.”
In the fourth quarter, Burrow was 9-of-10 for 153 yards and two touchdowns. On the season he is now fourth in the nation with 749 yards and tied for first with nine passing touchdowns, and he’s a huge reason LSU has finally entered the golden age of offense.
And with the game on the line, LSU counted on Burrow and the offense the most.
“That’s LSU,” Burrow said. “You’re not used to that one, huh?”