AUSTIN, Texas — Well, that was interesting.
Different, for sure.
Get used to it, LSU fans.
Maybe it’s life in fast lane.
But No. 6 LSU’s new up-tempo offense came through in its first major shoot-out Saturday by winning a 45-38 rat race on the big stage over the No. 9 Texas Longhorns.
“Wow, what a game,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said. “What a game. How about our offense?”
When in Big 12 country, do as the hurry-ups do.
Fortunately it doesn’t take much defense.
“Uh-huh, never,” Orgeron said when asked if he envisioned what unfolded in near-100 degree heat.
LSU was scoring like a machine for most of the night, but couldn’t breathe easy until converting a third-and-17, all but putting the game away on Joe Burrow’s perfectly side-armed pass that Justin Jefferson turned in to a 61-yard scoring catch-and-run.
The LSU drive started with the Tigers holding a 37-31 lead late in the game.
But there was no thought of nursing that lead through the game’s final 3:49 with a clock-eating running game.
“I knew (if) when they get the ball back, we couldn’t stop them,” Orgeron admitted. “Just to be honest, we couldn’t stop them. I think if they’d have got the ball back I think it would have been a different story.”
Orgeron talked it over with offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger.
“I said, hey, man, what do you think about four-minute offense (to run out the clock). He goes, no, we’re going to pass the ball, go down there and score. I said, go ahead.”
“Go get it. And thank God he did, that third down and 17 saved us. That was a great call and a great catch and what can we say about our quarterback?”
You can say that Burrow delivered an awkward strike with no margin for error just before being leveled the Texas pass rush
“It was a phenomenal call, a phenomenal catch, a phenomenal play,” Orgeron said. “That was awesome. Man, he was so fired up. The kid is a baller. He lives for that moment, and I’ll tell you what, those were some tough plays.”
It was the last of Burrow’s career-high (for now) 471 yards whle who completed 31 of 39 passes, four of them for touchdowns.
“I thought Joe Burrow was the difference in the game,” said Texas coach Tom Herman. “Just really accurate, really aggressive. He fit some balls into some really tight windows and really accurate down the field.”
Texas’ Sam Ehlinger wasn’t bad either while throwing for 401 yards and four touchdowns of his own.
“Phenomenal player,” Orgeron said. “Better than we thought he was. I thought he was a good player going in, this guy is a phenomenal football player. He wanted to take the game on his back, and he practically did.”
The Tigers did have to survive one last scare when Texas answered with yet another score to pull within the final touchdown margin and came with inches over recovering an onsides kick that kept the Longhorns from getting one more shot.
Just as well. A game that already featured a combined 1,105 yards of total offense probably couldn’t have handled an overtime.
The two schools’ secondaries, who spent the week squabbling over who held the rights to “DBU,” combined to give up 880 yards passing.
The week’s national marquee game surely will thrust the Tigers (2-0) deeper into the national spotlight with a strong statement that they are serious about this modern offense,
They had to be Saturday to beat a top-ten non-conference team on its home field for the first time in history.
Texas was matching the Tigers most of the night — LSU had 573 yards offense, the Horns 530 — in what at times looked more like the Texas Relays than a classic non-conference football game.
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 401 yards and four touchdowns himself.
LSU had three receivers go over 100 yards, Jefferson with 163 yards, Ja’Marr Chase with 147 and Terrace Marshall with 123.
They needed every bit of it.
LSU punted to open the second half — and neither team punted again.
It amounted to nine straight scoring drives before the Tigers were finally able to take a knee at the end.
LSU got a cushion in the final two minutes of the first half with 10 points in the final 1:41 on York’s 40-yard field goal and rat-a-tat-tat 53-yard drive capped by Burrow’s 21-yard scoring pass to Justin Jefferson that gave the Tigers a 20-7 lead.
But it only set the stage for a crazy-wild second half.
Hiccup and you missed a score.
LSU almost lost serve when the Tigers settled for Cade York’s field goal first its first points of the second half.
Lost in the late fireworks, the Tigers caught a couple of breaks in the first quarter when the Longhorns botched one fourth-down gamble from inside the 3-yard line and LSU stuffed another before the scoreboard starting spinning out of control.
The Horns’ Keaontay Ingram was wide open in the end zone when he dropped an Ehlinger pass to turn the ball over on downs.
Texas was right back in business moments late after a tipped interception set the Horns up at the LSU 5-yard line, but on fourth-and-2 Ehlinger was swarmed under on a keeper.
It was a rare defensive highlight for the game.