Catch-and-carry: LSU sophomore D.J. Chark makes the most of his first touches _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark scores on an end around as Texas Tech defensive back Jah'Shawn Johnson tries to bring him down during the first half of the Texas Bowl on Tuesday at NRG Stadium in Houston.

HOUSTON — D.J. Chark won’t soon forget the first time he touched the football in his LSU career.

It went for a 79-yard touchdown.

Chark, a sophomore from Alexandria, raced 79 yards on an end around on the first play of LSU’s third drive of the game in the game against Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl on Tuesday night.

Chark had played in just four games this season, and he played in six games last year. The speedy receiver did not have a catch — or a carry — in any of his 10 previous games.

Quarterback Brandon Harris faked a middle run to Leonard Fournette, then handed to Chark, moving from the right slot position to the left behind Harris. Receiver John Diarse and right guard Will Clapp made key blocks in paving the way for Chark.

Tech defensive back Jah’Shawn Johnson nearly caught Chark around the 5-yard line. With Johnson draped on his back, Chark dragged him into the end zone for a score that had the LSU portion of a packed NRG Stadium roaring.

Chark isn’t a complete unknown. In fact, coach Les Miles talked up the receiver during spring practice, and he entered preseason camp expecting to be LSU’s No. 3 receiver behind starters Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural.

But Diarse overtook Chark, and so did Trey Quinn.

Another record falls

Fournette set another LSU single-season rushing record Tuesday.

Fournette broke LaBrandon Toefield’s record for rushing touchdowns, scoring his 20th in the third quarter on a 43-yard jaunt. Fournette tied Toefield’s record with his 19th score in the first quarter to put LSU up 7-0.

It’s a sellout

LSU and Texas Tech met in front of a sellout crowd at the Texas Bowl, according to the bowl.

On Tuesday afternoon, a few hours before kickoff, the bowl announced it had sold out all tickets. NRG Stadium seats 71,500, and a crowd of 71,310 was announced during the game — the most people to ever attend a Houston bowl game.

The bowl sold out last season’s Arkansas-Texas match for the first time in its 10-year history. The bowl is expected to have the highest attendance of any bowl outside of the New Year’s Six, executive director David Fletcher said.

Brace for impact

Clapp donned an elbow brace on his left arm and a protective glove on his left hand against the Red Raiders.

LSU still utilized Clapp as its primary lead blocker. He didn’t appear to be hampered by the brace, and he threw the lead block on Chark’s 79-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Clapp was injured in practice a few days ago.


Deondre Clark hadn’t played in a football game since Oct. 3 before his appearance Tuesday night in NRG Stadium.

His night didn’t last long.

Clark was penalized for continuing to play without a helmet, costing the Tigers 15 yards and giving Tech a first down. He was yanked from the game and didn’t return until the second half.

Clark, a sophomore from Oklahoma, became the third LSU player to get that flag this season. According to the rule, players who lose their helmet must stop play.

Home away from home

LSU finished the 2015 season Tuesday night where it started the 2014 season and will open its 2017 campaign — in NRG Stadium.

The Tigers defeated Wisconsin 28-24 on Aug. 30, 2014 and will play BYU in the 2017 opener on Sept. 2.


LSU traveled about 115 players to the Texas Bowl. Teams can travel an unlimited amount. … LSU captains were seniors Jamie Keehn, Vadal Alexander and Deion Jones and Fournette. … LSU lost the toss for only the second time this season (Auburn on Sept. 19). The Tigers had won the coin toss in nine straight games.

Sheldon Mickles and Marcus Rodrigue contributed to this report.