It was just another Saturday night at the office for Leonard Fournette.
Another 200-yard rushing night.
Another three-touchdown game.
Another eye-popping performance for the Heisman Trophy voters.
Fournette soared past the 200-yard mark for the third consecutive game, treating hearty fans who stuck around on a brisk evening to a bit of history in ninth-ranked LSU’s 44-22 win against Eastern Michigan.
Eastern Michigan was its own worst enemy Saturday night, hanging around long enough for Fournette to play into the fourth quarter before he helped put the Eagles away with his final carry of the evening — an 11-yard run to the end zone on the third play of the final period.
Fournette had all five carries on the 43-yard drive after Eastern Michigan, a 45-point underdog, cut the score to 30-22 with a touchdown and two-point conversion with 52 seconds to play in the third period.
Fournette finished with 26 carries for 233 yards and touchdowns of 3, 75 and 11 yards.
In doing so, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound sophomore became the first player in Southeastern Conference history to record three consecutive 200-yard games. He had 228 yards against Auburn on Sept. 19 and piled up a career-high 244 yards in a victory over Syracuse a week earlier.
Fournette broke the SEC mark of two 200-yard rushing games in a row that he briefly shared with Florida’s Emmitt Smith and Georgia’s Herschel Walker, who this week said Fournette is better than he was.
“I never compare myself to those guys,” Fournette said after being asked about breaking their mark. “They were legends. I saw them (on ESPN’s) ‘30 for 30.’ They’re special players.”
As far as breaking records is concerned, Fournette smiled and said, “I don’t care for them … as long as we’re winning.”
Fournette, who hardly looked winded when he left the game, now has 864 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns for the season. He had 10 touchdowns as a freshman a year ago. He’s averaging 216.0 yards per game and 8.7 yards per attempt.
On this night, Fournette had to play longer than expected against an Eastern Michigan team that ranked last among all 127 FBS teams in allowing 373.3 rushing yards per game in its first four outings.
A couple of late first-half touchdowns by Eastern Michigan cut a 17-0 LSU lead to 17-14 before the Tigers added a late field goal to make it 20-14 at halftime.
On the first play of the second half, Fournette, whose runs accounted for 12 of LSU’s 28 first downs, seemed to take it personally.
He got to the edge while warding off EMU defensive back Anthony Brown, then bolted down the sideline for his 75-yard TD to push the lead to 27-14 after LSU coach Les Miles had gotten on his team in the locker room.
“Leonard is liable to do something like that at any time,” Miles said. “There is not a time when you hand him the ball that he doesn’t have an opportunity to hit a home run. I anticipate those kind of things will happen.”
“Coach Miles was on us in here,” Fournette said. “(Running backs) coach Frank (Wilson) said we had to be special, because that’s what we came to LSU for.
“I was just trying to help out my team with a big play. Big-time players make big-time plays, and I guess that was my calling right there. My mindset was I had to make a play as one of the leaders on this team.”
But Fournette wasn’t finished yet.
After a field goal by Trent Domingue, Eastern Michigan trimmed the deficit to 30-22 before Fournette virtually put it out of reach with a five-play, 43-yard drive with him carrying the ball on each play until he reached the end zone.
“I just thank God for the opportunities he gave us,” Fournette said. “He gave us the talent on the offensive line that we have, because I can’t do this on my own.”
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter: @MicklesAdvocate.