AUSTIN, Texas — As rite of passages go, the New LSU's coming out party was pretty much over the top.

At the 3:53 mark of a nutty game here against the Texas Longhorns, the Tigers — Ed Orgeron — basically bet the house on this screwy new offense.

He threw the whole stack of chips on the table. All in.

But it was the 2:38 mark when LSU made the big leap. Suddenly, the whole world started spinning, the special effects turned the scene blurry and the sound track creepy and the Tigers came out the other side in an alternate purple and gold universe where up is down and black is white and none of the old rules need apply.

I'll go ahead and say it. The Old LSU never gets out of that hostile stadium alive.

The Tigers won 45-38 and own the biggest national scalp of the young season because they joined the 21st century and, along the way, changed their philosophy as much as their offense.

It was quite a leap of faith.

Oh, it was easy to show off last week against an out-manned Georgia Southern team. Yeah, it was different, but they could do whatever they wanted, no real pressure, while taking bows ­— Look, ma, no huddle — before the appreciative home folks.

Even for most of Saturday night, well, sometimes you get in these wild affairs, and it was a matter of keeping up to survive.

But when Texas scored yet again to cut the lead to 38-31 as the game clock ticked past the four-minute mark, it got serious.

Everybody knows that drill, right?

It's ingrained in LSU. They call it the four-minute offense.

It was the perfect time to maybe, just this once, dust off that old bunch formation.

You run the clock (and the ball), play keep away. Two hands on the football, for gosh sakes don't risk a turnover. At worst, you force the Longhorns to use those two time outs in their pocket to where it's desperation time when they get the ball back.

All together now, sing along — Put the game in the hands of your defense.

So where do you stand now, Tigers? Still want to put that new-fangled offense to the test in this dicey situation?

Orgeron knew what he wanted to do, but he ran it by offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger anyway. He even brought up the "four-minute" word.

"He goes, ‘No, we're going to pass the ball, go down there and score.' "

It was what Orgeron wanted to hear.

"Steve said we can pass the ball and make some first downs. I said, go ahead."

Joe Burrow's 7-yard pass and a 3-yard run moved the chains, right on schedule.

They weren't done. But an incompletion and a sack left them staring at third-and-17, having run just 1:15 off the clock, down to 2:38.

See, that's the pesky problem with this new-age stuff.

Still all in, Tigers? Hey, you gave it a shot. Nice try. But it it's third-and-17. Maybe a ... yeah, a draw play now. At least spend that final Texas time out before punting.

Not this year.

"We felt like we could do it," Orgeron explained. "Secondly, we felt like we had to score another touchdown. We didn't feel like that six-point lead was good enough, and we had to go up two touchdowns to win the game.

"They felt like they could get us in the right play according to the coverage."

On third-and-17? Who has that ball play?

It didn't look prudent early, with Burrow under duress from another Texas blitz.

But Burrow deftly side-stepped it, then threw one of LSU's two or three best clutch passes of this century, somewhat side-armed, against his momentum, a perfect strike to Justin Jefferson on a crossing pattern for the first down.

Oh, but Jefferson wasn't done, getting to the corner and turning it into a 61-yard scoring play, a sprint down the sidelines through this odd parallel universe and straight into the new age of LSU football.

Welcome to the national discussion, Tigers. Hello, budding Heisman chatter, Joe Burrow.

All because Orgeron gave the OK, said "Go get it."

"Thank God he did," Orgeron said. "That third-and-17 saved us."

Probably.

There was another factor at work in the decisive decision.

"Just to be honest, we couldn't stop them," Orgeron said of the Longhorns, who scored something with every second half possession. "If they had got the ball back, I think it would been a different story."

It sounds strange coming from an LSU coach. And the Tigers' defense is a discussion for another day — maybe they just ran into a red-hot quarterback, too, in Sam Ehlinger.

For all the posturing the LSU and Texas secondaries did during the week, the DBU title is up for the next highest bidder until one of them can hold an offense under 400 yards in the air.

But sometimes you have to win games like that.

Burrow had 471 yards, the second-highest air total in LSU history. Yes, it sounds like it ought to be the record.

Not to get all caught up in the moment, but maybe he can take aim at the record.

Rohan Davey set it in 2001 with 528 yards.

That was against ... Alabama.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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