LSU Stuns Miami in Overwhelming Season Opener

Joe Burrow played good enough in his debut with the Tigers, but it was D-II transfer kicker Cole Tracy who impressed in LSU's season opener.
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ARLINGTON — This one started with a fight, because don’t all good Miami-LSU football games involve a fracas? The Tigers were the only ones to bring the brawl to the field, turning a pregame skirmish during warm-ups into a rout when it counted, at one point scoring 30 unanswered points and building a 33–3 lead on the defending ACC Coastal champs. 

Here are three things from LSU’s overwhelming 33–17 win over the eighth-ranked Hurricanes from AT&T Stadium. 

1. LSU brought in two noteworthy transfers this offseason, and both had major hands in this victory. You’ve probably heard about one, Ohio State graduate transfer QB Joe Burrow. The other burst from the shadows on Sunday night in front of a national audience: kicker Cole Tracy. A kicker!? Yes, a kicker. He transferred from Division II Assumption to help shore up the Tigers’ field-goal kicking woes (16-of-27 last season), and he made all four of his attempts Sunday, including a 54-yarder that tied a school record. And Burrow? He showed poise in the pocket and good enough accuracy, completing 11 of 24 passes for 140 yards—with at least two drops included. The numbers aren’t beautiful, but the play was good enough.  

2. Miami opened the game hitting the gas. QB Malik Rosier completed two downfield bombs in the first quarter, and the Hurricanes kept going deep. And going deep. And going deep. They tested an LSU secondary that includes a fifth-year safety in John Battle (he had an interception) and a cornerback in Greedy Williams, who’s a preseason All-America selection. Rosier chucked what seemed like more than a dozen deep balls. The hit rate was low.

3. We all picked this to happen, right? For No. 25 LSU, with eight new offensive starters, a new quarterback and a new coordinator, to house a Miami team that was 10–0 last November. No, we did not. This writer, a former LSU beat hack, certainly did not. The Tigers were a three-point underdog, but the examples went well beyond that. Ed Orgeron’s team had an off-the-field mess this August (three players arrested and subsequently suspended, two quarterbacks transferred and rumblings emerging from fall camp about an inadequate offense). Las Vegas put the Tigers’ season win total at 7.5, and the media in July picked them to finish fifth in the SEC West. And here they were on Sunday, whipping Miami behind a turnover-crazed defense (DC Dave Aranda’s unit had a pick-six) and an offense that, while it didn’t gain tons of yards (the Hurricanes out-gained the Tigers), managed not to screw things up.