NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)LSU always has played stingy defense. Now the Tigers have a high-octane offense and no plans at all to slow down anytime soon.
”Score, be aggressive,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. ”That’s our mentality. We’re going to be aggressive. We’re going to go get it. We’re not slowing down for anything.”
The Tigers’ aggressive approach paid off Saturday as Joe Burrow tossed four of his school-record six touchdown passes to Ja’Marr Chase and threw for 398 yards, leading No. 4 LSU to a 66-38 romp over Vanderbilt.
”They told me when it happened,” Burrow said of his TD record. ”I was more focused on going to get another one.”
LSU (4-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) beat Vanderbilt (0-3, 0-2) for the eighth straight time. This marked the first meeting between these SEC charter members since 2010.
The Tigers scored their most points this season and most ever in regulation against an SEC opponent. The 104 combined points tied South Carolina’s 65-39 win over Mississippi State in 1995 for the fourth-highest scoring total in an SEC game that didn’t go into overtime.
They needed 2 minutes, 11 seconds, or less on each of their first seven scoring drives. LSU also scored 4 seconds after Micah Baskerville returned an onside kick 46 yards to open the third quarter on Burrow’s fifth TD pass.
Baskerville later blocked a punt he recovered for a TD.
Burrow had a game for the record books.
He became both the first LSU quarterback to throw for 350 yards or more in three straight games. His 357 yards passing by halftime also was the most in school history.
Burrow hit 13 of his first 14 passes for 244 yards before throwing his second incompletion at 9:19 in the second quarter. He finished 25 of 34 and left the game early in the fourth quarter.
”It’s good,” Orgeron said. ”I think that there’s more to come. I really do. I think Joe is a fantastic player. He has a fantastic coach in (offensive coordinator) Steve Ensminger. We have a great plan, and as long as we protect the quarterback we’re going to make big plays here at LSU.”
And Burrow kept throwing to Chase. The sophomore caught TDs of 64, 25 and 51 yards in the first quarter and adding a 16-yarder in the third. He finished with 10 receptions for 229 yards, most by an LSU receiver since Odell Beckham Jr . had 204 against Furman in 2013.
”I’m just happy I played today,” Chase said after not playing against Northwestern State last week in a coach’s decision.
Vanderbilt had never before played two of the nation’s top five teams within the first three weeks of a season. At least the Commodores scored on their first drive, which they didn’t manage in an opening loss to No. 3 Georgia or a loss at Purdue. They scored their most points yet this season but had two turnovers.
”We were playing with house money, man,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. ”We had a chance to really take some chances, try to force some things to happen. Those things didn’t necessarily go our way. But what I can tell you is the early part of the season, man, has been a difficult stretch.”
LSU led 28-7 after the first quarter, 38-17 at halftime and 59-31 after the third.
LSU: The Tigers entered the day second in the SEC defending the run, giving up just 80.3 yards a game. They gave up a 41-yarder to Ke’Shawn Vaughn on Vandy’s first offensive play. Vaughn also broke loose for a 52-yard TD run in the third quarter – the longest run this season for the SEC’s top returning rusher. Vaughn finished with 20 carries for 130 yards.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores came in as the only Football Bowl Subdivision team without a sack this season, and the closest they came to hitting Burrow early was on a roughing-the-passer penalty in the first quarter. Then Jaylen Mahoney sacked the LSU quarterback early in the second quarter, a play after Burrow had plenty of time to roll to his right before finding Stephen Sullivan on a 30-yard completion. Kenny Hebert also got a sack, and Elijah McAlister recovered an Edwards-Helaire fumble for a touchdown in the final minute of the first half.
LSU receiver Terrace Marshall Jr., who came into the game with six TD catches to tie for the FBS lead, was on crutches after four catches for 75 yards. Orgeron said it didn’t look good. LSU middle linebacker Michael Divinity Jr. hurt an ankle and was seen in a walking boot. Orgeron said it ”looked pretty significant.”
LSU: Open date before hosting Utah State on Oct. 5.
Vanderbilt: Hosts Northern Illinois on Sept. 28.
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