LSU's Passing Game Is Becoming More Dangerous
The fourth-ranked LSU Tigers have developed a threat even more dangerous than just Leonard Fournette with the football in his hands: a passing game led by quarterback Brandon Harris that can beat opponents as well.
Head coach Les Miles believes that his team is going in the right direction on offense in comparison to a woeful 2014 campaign. Harris has much to do with that, as the sophomore quarterback had a career-high 286 passing yards in a 48-20 win over Western Kentucky in Baton Rouge on Saturday.
The No. 4 Tigers are becoming more balanced offensively - in contrast to what transpired over the first few weeks where the bulk of the offensive game plan relied on Fournette's production on the ground. The Heisman candidate answered the call, running for over 200 yards per game at will, leading Harris to settle for less than 17 passes through the first four games, with 157 passing yards being the highest total throughout that span.
Harris had a total of two passing touchdowns in those four weeks. While it's far easier said than done to stop Fournette entirely, opposing defenses are keying in on the running back and they want Harris to beat them.
As of late, Harris has answered the call of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Against South Carolina on Oct. 10, Harris had his breakthrough in the passing game - going 18-of-28 for 228 yards and two touchdowns. His completion percentage was 64.3 percent, which was his highest since the game against Auburn Sept. 19, a game in which he had 11 fewer attempts. Against a then-undefeated Florida team, Harris had another clean performance - finishing 13-for-19 for 202 yards and two scores.
In the past three games, Harris had seven of his nine touchdowns this season and he has yet to throw an interception. If LSU is getting 200 plus passing yards from Harris and he continues to play smart and clean, the Tigers will continue to be dangerous and a far greater national title contender.
All it took were a couple of solid games and now LSU’s Brandon Harris has the second highest QB rating in the SEC at 153.85.— Cameron Roberson (@LSUbeat) October 25, 2015
Brandon Harris is now 42-for-67, 716 yards, 7 TDs 0 INTs in his last 3 gamesDid I mention we also have Leonard Fournette in the backfield— The LSU Logo (@LSU_Logo) October 25, 2015
Brandon Harris is closing in on history. 128 straight passes without an interception. That's 4th all time at LSU. pic.twitter.com/imA1Ok5u7r— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) October 25, 2015
Having a dangerous attack in the air is a reassuring feeling for LSU fans after having to deal with an Anthony Jennings-led offense in 2014.
Jennings had a completion percentage of 48.9 percent and a QBR of 46.1. He finished with 11 touchdowns to seven interceptions, and was sacked 22 times. LSU finished the season 8-5, and Jennings had one of his worst performances against Alabama - a game in which he went 8-for-26 (30.8 completion percentage), a touchdown and an interception.
Against New Mexico State earlier in the season, a game in which LSU won convincingly 63-7, it wasn't Jennings' doing as he finished 2-of-5 for 11 yards without a touchdown and two interceptions. He also fumbled once.
Harris took over in relief in that game, finishing 11-of-14 for three touchdowns. It was the beginning of the future for LSU, and it has come to fruition with Harris leading the charge after these past three weeks. While Fournette has surely been dominant on the ground, Harris has impressed throwing the football as well.