Guice helps LSU open Orgeron era with 42-7 win over Missouri
LSU running back Derrius Guice (5) leaps into the end zone in front of Missouri safety Thomas Wilson (8) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Ed Orgeron held both arms in the air as he emerged from the Tiger Stadium tunnel for his first game as LSU's interim coach. Derrius Guice's long, crowd-thrilling touchdown runs ensured Orgeron would have every reason to leave Death Valley in an even better mood.
In the first game since the firing of coach Les Miles, and with star running back Leonard Fournette sidelined with ankle soreness, Guice rushed for a career-high 163 yards and three touchdowns, leading LSU to a 42-7 victory over Missouri on Saturday night.
Orgeron walked of the field beaming after his players gave him a celebratory drenching with a bucket of sports drink and handed him a game ball.
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Guice scored the game's first touchdown on a zig-zagging, 42-yard run in which he left several would-be tacklers grasping at air before using his speed to race away for the final yards. He added TDs from 4 and 37 yards before the first half ended.
Darrel Williams added a career-high 130 yards and three short touchdowns for LSU (3-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference), which finished with 418 yards on the ground.
Missouri (2-3, 0-2) struggled to sustain drives and didn't score until executing a reverse pass from receiver Eric Laurent to quarterback Drew Lock with 6:11 left in the game. LSU dominated time of possession, 42:42 to 17:18 and ran 82 plays to Missouri's 60. LSU also finished with 634 yards – the school record for an SEC game- to Missouri's 265.
Getting rid of the ball quickly, Lock limited LSU's formidable pass rush to two sacks. But LSU's secondary didn't give the quarterback many easy throws. Lock, who came in averaging 377 yards passing, finished 17 of 37 for 167 yards and was intercepted once by Tre'Davious White on a long, over-thrown pass.
Miles, arguably the most successful coach in LSU history after winning 77 percent of his games in 11-plus seasons – including the 2007 national championship – was fired last Sunday, the day after an 18-13 loss at Auburn. That game marked the second time this season LSU's offense looked stagnant in a loss to an underdog that was not ranked at the time of the game.
Orgeron promised a different look on offense and delivered early with four wide-receiver sets and enough passes to keep Missouri's defense honest. But statistically, LSU looked a lot like some of Miles' most dominant teams, with more yards and scoring on the ground than through the air.
LSU QB Danny Etling completed 19 of 30 for 216 yards and did not turn the ball over.
MISSOURI: Stats can be deceiving. Mizzou's offense, which came into the game leading the SEC, has looked far less prolific against teams from Power 5 conferences than the overmatched Eastern Michigan of the Mid-American Conference and Delaware State of the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision.
LSU: Les Miles may be out as coach but there's no questioning the talent he brought in when LSU gets rolling. And it's clear the Tigers were ready to play under Orgeron. LSU could be a tough out for a number of their remaining opponents.
After falling out of the AP Poll last week, LSU could very well jump right back into the ranking with its emphatic rebound from its last-second lost at Auburn.
MISSOURI: After a bye next weekend, Missouri will visit Florida on Oct. 15.
LSU: A clash with historical rival Florida in the Swamp next weekend is on tap for LSU, marking the first road game of the Orgeron era.
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org