LSU 27, BYU 0: Cougars offense stifled by Tigers in New Orleans

LSU running back Darrel Williams (28) runs against BYU in the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld)

New Orleans • Dominated, embarrassed and overwhelmed in every way imaginable.

How else to describe BYU’s latest venture into SEC territory on Saturday night?

The No. 13 LSU Tigers, supposedly shorthanded by suspensions and injuries, routed the Cougars 27-0 in front of 53,826 fans at the Superdome in the relocated AdvoCare Texas Kickoff on Saturday night.

“Not our best outing at all,” said BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum. “It is frustrating to show up and not play our best. It hurts.”

The Cougars, who never crossed the 50-yard line and had 97 total yards, set records for offensive inefficiency similar to their outing at the Big House on Sept. 26, 2015. Having gained just 105 yards in that 31-0 shellacking at the hands of Michigan, which was the last time it was held scoreless, BYU was maybe even more punchless in the Big Easy.

“We are going to review everything, and it is my job to figure it out,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake.

Storylines<br>• The Cougars fail to cross the 50-yard line with the ball and are shut out for the first time since a 31-0 loss to Michigan on Sept. 26, 2015.<br> BYU manages 97 yards and six first downs in the first blowout loss of the Kalani Sitake era.<br>The Tigers outgain BYU 269-47 in the first half to take a 14-0 lead and continue the domination in the second half.

With former BYU quarterbacking great Jim McMahon serving as an honorary captain and Heisman Trophy winning QB Ty Detmer calling the plays from the sidelines, the Cougars could barely complete a forward pass or penetrate LSU’s dominating defense that gave up 16 touchdowns all last season, fewest in the country.

“That’s one of the best defenses I have seen in college football,” said Sitake, crediting former Utah State assistant Dave Aranda, LSU’s second-year defensive coordinator.

Mangum completed 12 of 24 passes for 102 yards and was sacked three times in a performance that mirrored his effort against the Wolverines his freshman season. The Cougars managed six first downs and had minus-5 rushing yards. BYU averaged 2.6 yards per play. LSU dominated time of possession and ran 75 plays to BYU’s 38.

“I take full responsibility [for the offense’s performance],” Mangum said. “A lot of inaccurate throws — that’s on me.”

Offensively, all LSU needed was junior running back Derrius Guice, who outgained the Cougars by himself and finished with 120 yards on 27 carries. But the Tigers also had quarterback Danny Etling, who completed 14 of 17 passes for 173 yards before giving way to a backup with five minutes remaining.

LSU racked up 479 yards of offense, and probably would have scored more points but several drives were halted by penalties in the red zone and coach Ed Orgeron settled for field goals.

“Guice is a solid running back, very hard to tackle,” said BYU linebacker Butch Pau’u. “That’s on the defensive line and linebackers. When he runs in between the tackles, that’s our fault.”

There were few bright spots for BYU, but even when something positive happened — like stopping LSU on 4th-and-goal early in the third quarter and trailing just 20-0 — the Cougars followed it with a huge mistake.

Punter Jonny Linehan tried to pick up a first down on 4th-and-inches after a questionable spot on a Talon Shumway reception, but was stopped a yard or so short. LSU scored two plays later to make it 27-0, but the outcome had long since been decided.

Sitake said the fake punt wasn’t called on the sidelines.

The Tigers dominated from the opening quarter, keeping the ball more than 11 minutes and converting several third-and-longs when Guice wasn’t gouging the Cougars.

The Tigers finally found the end zone on the second play of the second quarter, with Guice going over from the 5 on his 14th carry.

BYU had 9 yards of offense at that point, and wouldn’t add to the total before LSU scored again. That’s because LSU’s Andraez Williams out-fought Beau Tanner for the ball to intercept Mangum, and the Tigers took over at their own 35.

D.J. Chark got past Dayan Ghanwoloku and Etling hit him in stride for a 51-yard gain on LSU’s third possession, and Guice’s second touchdown run, with 11:53 left in the second quarter, gave the Tigers a 14-0 lead.

LSU had 180 total yards to that point, but the Tigers were far from finished offensively.

The Cougars didn’t get their second first down until 10:30 remained in the second quarter, but Mangum’s throw to Matt Bushman on third-and-3 and too low and the Cougars had to punt.

Really, the only thing that thwarted LSU drives in the first half was penalties. The Tigers drove to the BYU 17 at the end of the second quarter, but a holding penalty backed LSU up and the Cougars were able to stop them on 3rd-and-11. Jack Gonsoulin’s 34-yard field goal attempt missed, about the only thing that went right for the Cougars in the first half.

LSU had the ball for 21 minutes, 48 seconds in the first half, BYU for 8:12.

“We ran just 38 plays,” Sitake said. “It is hard to win games when you do that.”

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