Tak­ing off: LSU air attack soars

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By C.J. Doon

Wel­come to the col­lege foot­ball over­re­ac­tion in­dex, where we ex­am­ine the most im­por­tant sto­ry­lines from the last week­end of games to de­ter­mine what’s worth pay­ing at­ten­tion to and what’s fly­ing un­der the radar around the na­tion.

Here are the biggest take­aways from Week 2.

LSU has a dy­namic of­fense, and Joe Bur­row is one of the best quar­ter­backs in the na­tion.

Verdict: Not an over­re­ac­tion.

For as much tal­ent as LSU has had on of­fense in re­cent years — Odell Beck­ham Jr., Jarvis Landry and Leonard Four­nette, to name a few — the Tigers have strug­gled to score points. That has a lot to do with who was leading the unit, both at quar­ter­back and on the coach­ing staff.

It ap­pears LSU fi­nally found a com­bi­na­tion that works. Bur­row passed for 471 yards and four TDs in a 45-38 road win over Texas, be­com­ing just the third LSU player to throw for 400 pass­ing yards in a game. LSU also had three re­ceivers with 100-plus yards in a game for the first time.

When coach Ed Org­eron brought in Saints as­sis­tant Joe Brady in the off­sea­son to serve as pass­ing game co­or­di­na­tor with of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Steve Ens­minger, no one pre­dicted such an im­me­di­ate turn­around.

And yet, the Tigers scored 55 points against Ge­or­gia South­ern and 45 against Texas and are fifth in the na­tion in pass­ing (410.5 yards pg).

LSU might fi­nally have an of­fense wor­thy of its blue-chip tal­ent. That’s a scary thought for the rest of the SEC.

You can pencil Clem­son into the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off al­ready.

Verdict: Not an over­re­ac­tion.

With a 24-10 win over Texas A&M, the Tigers easily han­dled their first big hur­dle of the season. And it might turn out to be their only hur­dle.

Clem­son held the Ag­gies to their fewest points in a game since 2015 and con­stantly harassed QB Kellen Mond, who threw for just 236 yards af­ter throw­ing for more than 400 in last season’s matchup. Texas A&M couldn’t get any­thing go­ing on the ground ei­ther, to­tal­ing just 53 rush­ing yards on 2.0 yards per carry.

The Tigers de­fense was ex­pected to drop off af­ter los­ing five starters to the NFL, but it seems as if the unit is just as strong with play­mak­ers like Isa­iah Sim­mons, A.J. Ter­rell and Xavier Thomas up front.

A Week 3 matchup against Syra­cuse ini­tially spelled trou­ble, but the Or­ange are com­ing off an em­bar­rass­ing 63-20 loss to Mary­land. With Syra­cuse fall­ing out of the rank­ings, Clem­son won’t face an­other Top 25 team the rest of the reg­u­lar season.

Bar­ring an in­jury to one of their stars, the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons have a clear path back to the play­off.

North Carolina can make the ACC cham­pi­onship game in Mack Brown’s first season.

Verdict: Not an over­re­ac­tion.

Two games and two wins over Power 5 op­po­nents for a man who hasn’t led a pro­gram since 2013. Who said this coach­ing thing is hard?

Brown, who re­turned to UNC af­ter coach­ing at Chapel Hill from 1988 to 1997, has the Tar Heels 2-0 for the first time since 2014, with vic­to­ries over South Carolina and Mi­ami.

No. 25 Vir­ginia is UNC’s chief com­pe­ti­tion in the ACC Coastal di­vi­sion. Pitt and Duke are ca­pa­ble of com­pet­ing for the top spot, but each faces more tough non­con­fer­ence tests. The Tar Heels play Ap­palachian State and Mercer. Ad­van­tage, UNC.

Out­side of a home game against No. 1 Clem­son in Week 5, the Tar Heels have a re­al­is­tic chance of win­ning all of their games. Two or even three losses prob­a­bly won’t knock them out.

The odds of UNC win­ning its di­vi­sion with a true fresh­man QB and coach who re­cently spent more time in an an­nounc­ing booth than on the prac­tice field were through the roof to be­gin the season. Now, the Heels might be the odds-on fa­vorites.


QB Joe Bur­row guides an LSU of­fense that ranks fifth in the na­tion in pass­ing.

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