LSU’s quarterback competition is far from over. At least that’s what Saturday’s spring game indicated.
The afternoon included 28 points, three passing touchdowns, no interceptions and a number of burned defensive backs in the first half alone, resulting in a 45-6 rout by the White team.
Junior Anthony Jennings’ start couldn’t have gone better if he had scripted it.
His first pass of the afternoon floated into the waiting arms of junior tight end Colin Jeter, who hauled in the strike for a 33-yard opening play. On the ensuing snap, sophomore receiver Malachi Dupre was left wide open down the right sideline; there wasn’t a Purple defensive back within 10 yards of the John Curtis product. Jennings found him, completing a 37-yard pass for the score.
Jennings finished 13-of-20 for 242 yards and two scores. It was quite the turnaround from last season’s spring game, when Jennings began the contest by completing 6-of-14 pass attempts for 78 yards and two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns.
“There are still things I could have improved on,” Jennings said. “I’m not really thinking about last year. … Looking at this game, some of the things that I missed are big in my eyes. I want to look at that and continue to improve.”
Sophomore Brandon Harris’ day began a tad differently.
He spent the majority of his first two drives scrambling away from the defensive line combination of Tashawn Bower, Davon Godchaux, Christian LaCouture and Maquedius Bain, rushing for only 12 yards on five carries. Bain had a sack and a tackle for a loss in the first quarter, and he finished with two sacks.
It wasn’t until Harris had the chance to play behind the starting offensive line that he began to flourish. On his third drive, Harris was perfect, completing all three of his attempts for 52 yards and a score.
His final throw of the drive was the play of the afternoon. With two defenders draped around Dupre, the second-year wideout made a diving grab in the end zone for his second touchdown. In the first quarter alone, Dupre hauled in two receptions for 72 yards and two scores.
Harris’ productive day — 11-of-17 for 178 yards and two touchdowns — wasn’t over, though.
The Bossier City native found junior receiver Travin Dural wide open down the left sideline for a 41-yard score early in the second quarter to give White the 21-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, Harris threw a dart to sophomore wideout D.J. Chark for a 45-yard gain, finishing the first half 10-of-12 for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
“We were the weak link on the team last year,” Harris said. “It’s not nice when people talk about our quarterback situation, and that we are not doing really well. I take that with a chip on my shoulder. I want to just come out and prove how much I’ve improved personally.”
Harris had one possession in the third quarter, throwing an interception down the left sideline. Freshman cornerback Kevin Toliver II, who intercepted Harris in a scrimmage earlier this spring, came down with the pick.
Jennings took over to begin the fourth, tossing an 8-yard touchdown pass to Dural.
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said there was a key to the team’s success at quarterback.
“That’s decision-making,” he said. “The quarterback position is a decision-making position. There’s no way around it. Our guys are tough enough, they’re athletic enough and they throw the ball well enough. Now they need to make great decisions.
“I thought our guys did a good job of that today.”