No weather delays.

Alcohol sales flowing through Tiger Stadium (albeit it on a cash-only basis in some precincts as a few credit card machines were apparently already drunk).

And an LSU offense that not only was true to coach Ed Orgeron’s word (should we call him Spread Orgeron now?) but mighty efficient in the picture it broadcast to the world in a 55-3 rout of the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday night.

Poor Georgia Southern. What a time for the Eagles’ first football game against LSU. Just when the Tigers decided at last to join the rest of the 21st century with their offense.

There was understandable skepticism tinging this season opener about whether LSU indeed was going to commit itself, before this decade was out, to sending its offense to the moon and returning it safely to the Earth. This, after all, is the school where the power running game has ruled for decades, and previous promises of a more diverse attack were better suited to political campaigns than football campaigns.

But from their very first 40-yard dash of a possession, this 2019 LSU offense told the offenses of Charlie McClendon and Les Miles, "Hold my beer. And watch this."

The first play was a pass. An incomplete one, as Joe Burrow couldn’t connect with wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase. But as it turned out, that was merely LSU’s offense clearing its throat. Burrow connected on his next four passes, culminating with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Chase just 2:24 into the game.

The next possession, touchdown. The next possession, touchdown. The next possession, touchdown. And the next … you get the gist. The Tigers often had the Eagles completely befuddled, at times catching them out of alignment or half in a zone and half in man, leaving LSU receivers open and running lanes clear.

"Dam," former LSU and current Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette tweeted, "if I only had this offense at school when I was there who knows what I would have rush(ed) for."

Who knows indeed.

“It’s like we’ve seen all camp," Coach O said of his offense. "I liked it a lot. We could do whatever we wanted.”


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Video via LSU football


When it was all over, LSU piled up 472 yards and rang up its most points in a season opener since beating Western Carolina 58-0 in 2000, the Tigers’ first game under Nick Saban. LSU was so far in front that Joe Burrow retired for the night after the Tigers’ first possession of the second half, leaving with a share of the single-game school record with five touchdown passes. He now has nine TD passes in the past two games, including his offensive MVP turn in LSU’s New Year’s Day win over Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl.

It’s difficult to process what it’s like to see an LSU quarterback combine for nine touchdown passes in back-to-back games, looking a bit like that other No. 9 quarterback who plays in New Orleans. Just as it was difficult to process during camp when Burrow said LSU would score 40-50-60 points per game.

“I took some heat for that, huh?” Burrow said.

Turns out Joe Cool was right on point.

Meanwhile, LSU’s defense throttled Georgia Southern’s worrisome triple option attack, allowing the Eagles only 98 total yards. The Tigers looked exactly like a team that was prepping for Georgia Southern’s unusual offense the entire offseason, an offense that doesn’t easily lend itself to comebacks from early double-digit deficits. By the time LSU went up 21-0 with 3:09 left in the first quarter on a 9-yard Burrow-to-Justin Jefferson touchdown pass, this game was basically over.

“Our tackling was great,” Orgeron said. “The thing you worry about when you start the season is missed tackling. But we didn’t miss any tonight.”

No, a win over a directional school isn’t what a win would be next week at Texas (the Longhorns handled Louisiana Tech 45-14). Nor does it stack up to a win in the Southeastern Conference. But it is not right to dismiss Georgia Southern out of hand as some garden variety rent-a-win, either. The Eagles went 10-3 last season with a 38-7 loss at reigning CFP national champion Clemson. A writer who covers Georgia Southern told me the folks around the Eagles program think they have a better team than they did in 2018.

The impressive thing was not whom LSU beat, but how the Tigers did it. They blasted Georgia Southern from the start with virtually ruthless efficiency. Aside from three punts and a handful of penalties, LSU would have been hard pressed to paint a more impressive picture to start the season. It would have been oh so much easier for the Tigers to have some disjointed offensive possessions to start and to have found themselves confounded on defense at least once or twice by the Eagles’ tricky offense.

Neither of those things happened. While a lot of the Tigers are south of the legal drinking age, they deserve a toast to the way they played.

Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com