Sam Houston St.-LSU Preview
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - LSU coach Les Miles isn't ready to outright abandon the Tigers' two-quarterback system after just one game.
Miles kept his promise of playing two QBs in the season opener against Wisconsin last weekend, as sophomore Anthony Jennings got most of the action while freshman Brandon Harris got in for one series late in the second half.
The 12th-ranked Tigers meet Sam Houston State of the FCS for the first time in Saturday night's home opener. With LSU being a heavy favorite, the matchup could present an opportunity to refine the passing attack.
It could also mean more playing time for Harris.
Miles said Tuesday that ''right now,'' Jennings is No. 1 in the rotation, having demonstrated he can come through with big plays against a solid Big Ten defense when the Tigers really needed it.
Jennings started the opener and struggled early, but he led the Tigers to 21 unanswered points in a 28-24 comeback victory over then-No. 14 Wisconsin at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Jennings, Miles said, ''Hit the passes he was supposed to hit. Threw it away when he was supposed to throw it away. ... If he continues to play like that, I think that we will have a certain level of excellence at that spot.''
Miles said he and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron are ''not going to predetermine a lack of playing time'' for Harris, who took three snaps and was sacked on third down last week.
''We're going to continue to bring him on,'' Miles said.
Jennings attempted only six passes in the second half but completed four of them for 119 yards and a touchdown. He also completed a pass on a 2-point conversion.
In the first half, LSU's only score came on Jennings' 80-yard touchdown pass to fellow sophomore Travin Dural, who finished with three catches for 151 yards. Senior Kenny Hilliard ran 18 times for 110 yards and a score.
''When we first started you could tell he was nervous. I was nervous,'' Dural said of Jennings and himself. ''A couple of routes, I messed up on, and we missed a couple screens, so that made it look a lot worse than it was.
''But as a whole, he had a good game. He led us in the right direction and he led us to a victory.''
Miles, in complimenting Jennings, also made a point of mentioning that the quarterback did not turn the ball over once.
Dural suggested that Jennings' progression during the game will embolden Miles and Cameron to put more passing into offensive game plans going forward.
''The coaches are gaining confidence in him and the receivers to where they're going to expand it and let us run more route combinations,'' Dural said. ''They're going to have that confidence in us where they're going to actually want to take shots and not have to hold it back and only do it when they have to.''
The Bearkats bounced back from a season-opening 56-35 loss Aug. 23 at Eastern Washington, the No. 2 team in the FCS Coaches Poll, with a 51-20 win over visiting Alabama State last Saturday.
Sam Houston State, ranked 13th, was led by Jared Johnson's 386 passing yards and three touchdowns. The Bearkats set school records with 685 yards and 105 plays to give coach K.C. Keeler his first win with the program.
"I thought we did some good things offensively. Defensively we were a little spotty and gave up too many big plays," Keeler said. "That's going to be the key for us, if we can learn to stop giving up the big plays I think we can be a pretty good football team."