By Lauren Goodman
The LSU Tigers took on the New Mexico State Aggies at home Saturday in Tiger Stadium and won 63-7.
Despite early turnovers by quarterback Anthony Jennings in the first half, the Tigers were able to easily outplay New Mexico State. Brandon Harris played solidly at quarterback when coach Les Miles made the switch in the second quarter.
The Tigers tied the record for the most points scored under Miles at Tiger Stadium.
LSU’s defense played well and was able to hold New Mexico State to 274 total yards.
“I felt like we rushed the football like we were supposed to,” Miles said. “I felt like we played defense, minus one play, like we were supposed to. We are improved and looking forward to resuming conference play.”
The first quarter was full of turnovers, with a total of six committed by both teams.
New Mexico State sophomore quarterback Tyler Rodgers was intercepted by LSU’s Tre’Davious White on LSU’s 26-yard line and was later intercepted by Kendall Beckwith for a touchdown.
Jennings, LSU’s sophomore quarterback, struggled also and threw two interceptions and was credited with a fumble. Kenny Hillard committed LSU’s fourth turnover late in the first quarter after the ball was forced out by New Mexico State’s Kawe Johnson.
Still, it was hardly all bad news for LSU.
Despite the shaky quarterback play, the Tigers were able to get their run game going with an 11-yard rushing touchdown by Terrance McGee with 2:07 left in the quarter.
The defense held strong, with Kwon Alexander leading the team with five tackles in the first, one of those being the hit on Rodgers resulting in the interception and touchdown by Beckwith. The Tigers finished the quarter outscoring the Aggies 14-0.
Miles put Harris in at quarterback with 9:28 seconds left in the second quarter.
Harris was able to put together an 80-yard drive of 11 plays lasting 3:36. New Mexico State would punt on its first three drives in the quarter, but would finally put its only points on the board on its fourth drive with Andrew Allen rushing for a 79-yard touchdown. He would lead the Aggies in rushing with five carries for 113 yards.
LSU’s rushing game remained strong with Leonard Fournette running in for a 17-yard touchdown with 5:52 seconds left in the quarter and another 5-yard touchdown with 1:49 left.
Harris was able to bring some stability to the quarterback position, throwing for two touchdowns to Malachi Dupre and Melvin Jones.
Safety Jalen Mills recovered a fumble made by the Aggies’ Marquette Washington. It was forced out by defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and led to Jones’ touchdown.
Harris was 6 of 7 passing for 112 yards with no interceptions in the first half. The Tigers led the Aggies 42-7 at halftime.
LSU returned to the field in the second half with Harris at quarterback and continued to dominate the Aggies, despite strong play by Johnson at free safety and linebacker Dalton Herrington.
Johnson had 12 tackles and an interception and Herrington had six tackles and a sack for a 9-yard loss.
Travin Dural caught a 10-yard pass from Harris early in the third quarter, bringing the score to 49-7. Harris scored the final two touchdowns on quarterback keepers, one each in the third and fourth quarters making the final score 63-7.
Fournette was LSU’s rushing leader, finishing with 18 carries for 122-yards and two touchdowns. Malachi Dupre led the receivers with three catches for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Harris was 11 of 14 for 178-yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Defensively, Alexander and D.J. Welter each had eight tackles, and Welter had a fumble recovery. Beckwith finished with four tackles an interception and Tre’Davious White had two tackles and the Tiger’s other interception.
Mills recovered the Aggies’ other fumble and recorded four tackles.
“We played a great football team tonight,” New Mexico State coach Doug Martin said. “We are just a little too young, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but offensively turning the ball over offensively as many times as we did didn’t really give us a chance to play successfully.”
Ultimately, the Tigers were able to overcome their early interceptions and get a win.
They play next week on the road against SEC opponent Auburn.