A trend seems to be forming at LSU.
Screwups and hiccups by No. 9 LSU allow an opponent to creep back into a game the Tigers previously controlled. Then Les Miles’ club hands it to No. 7 and asks him to put away the win.
That happened again on Saturday -- the third time in four games where LSU errors allowed an opponent to rally -- when Leonard Fournette and their power-running game led the Tigers to a 44-22 win over Eastern Michigan (1-4).
FBS rushing leader Fournette ran for 233 yards and three touchdowns, with his 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter allowing LSU (4-0) to regain control of a game where it led just 20-14 at halftime. It was his third straight 200-yard game and sixth in a row with at least 100 rushing yards.
Here is a recap of the Tigers' victory:
What the win means for LSU: This is a game LSU should have won easily, and in the end, it looks like a comfortable victory. However, some discouraging signs remain. The Tigers came out trying to get something going in the passing game, but quarterback Brandon Harris went just 4-for-15 for 80 yards and an interception, and receivers Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural both dropped passes in the red zone. The defense also gave up some long scoring drives, although they put finishing touches on the win with an interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Deion Jones. Overall, the Tigers still have a lot to clean up before hitting the toughest stretch of their schedule.
What the loss means for Eastern Michigan: Nobody in the building expected Eastern Michigan to win, even after a second-quarter rally made it 17-14 just before halftime. Credit the Eagles for pulling out all the stops, driving for the first touchdown against LSU’s defense in the first half this season, and then adding another touchdown 38 seconds later following Luke Maclean’s interception return to the LSU 3. It’s still a loss, but the Eagles made LSU work harder than most would have expected.
The game turned when…: Fournette ran 11 yards for his third touchdown of the night early in the fourth quarter, putting the Tigers up 37-22 immediately after Eastern Michigan scored a touchdown and made it a one-score game by completing a snazzy two-point pass from Eddie Daugherty to quarterback Brogan Roback. Jones followed by making his pick-six to put it out of reach.
Stat of the game: Fournette provided most of the highlights, but numerous LSU backs had a nice night against the nation’s worst run defense. The Tigers finished with 399 rushing yards, with Darrel Williams complementing Fournette by running for 89 yards on 11 attempts.