Yep, LSU running back vs. Texas Tech's rushing defense was a mismatch.
The LSU star tallied five total touchdowns and 212 rushing yards on 29 carries as LSU beat the Red Raiders 56-27 in Tuesday's Texas Bowl. The five touchdowns tie a bowl game record for most by a single player.
Texas Tech entered the game 125th in the country in rushing defense. And it wasn't just Fournette that gashed the Red Raiders. Wide receiver D.J. Chark had a 79 yard run and the Tigers ran for 384 yards as a team.
Four of Fournette's touchdowns came on the ground, including a 43-yard touchdown scamper that gave LSU a 28-20 lead after Texas Tech had pulled within one. Texas Tech mounted a nice drive on the following possession, but a Patrick Mahomes pass bounced off the shoulderpad of his receiver near the goal line and it was intercepted by Rickey Jefferson.
The Tigers then reeled off 14 more points to put the game out of reach.
Mahomes, who led the country in total yards per game in 2015, created havoc for the LSU defense. He found open receivers numerous times after scrambling away from LSU pressure and connected with wide receiver Jakeem Grant for three touchdowns.
He threw for 370 yards and four scores – it's just that Texas Tech didn't have the rush game to support him. At one point during the fourth quarter, Tech still had negative yards rushing. The team finished with 29 yards on the ground.
LSU quarterback Brandon Harris might have had the best game of his season. He threw an interception early in the third quarter but bounced back nicely, finding receivers open over the top of a Tech defense that was clearly doing all it could to slow Fournette. Harris finished 13-22 passing for 254 yards.
His play, plus the presence of Fournette for another season, gives LSU fans reason for optimism in 2016 with another season of Les Miles as coach.
Yes, Miles has failed to have consistent and productive quarterback play throughout his tenure. But the coaching staff is reportedly going to look at spread offenses in the offseason with an eye on improving the team's offensive production. Harris is a former four-star recruit and the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the country in the class of 2014. He could thrive in a different system and looked great on a 26-yard touchdown run on an option keeper in the second half.
The coaching staff didn't have to go far to start its spread scouting either as it got a good look at a prolific offense on Tuesday. The Red Raiders were second in the country in yards per game and averaged over seven yards per play in the regular season.
You can bet LSU coaches will be looking at the pass concepts Tech used against the Tigers for some ideas. We'll just have to wait eight-plus months to gauge the success of any of those tweaks.
For more LSU news, visit Tigerbait.com.
For more Texas Tech news, visit RedRaiderSports.com.
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