It looked for a while like the Texas Tech Red Raiders might give the LSU Tigers a good game during the Texas Bowl on Tuesday night. After LSU took a 21-6 lead in the second quarter, Tech cut the lead to 21-13 before the half and then turned an interception of Brandon Harris early in the third quarter into another touchdown to draw within a point. It was the last time the game would be remotely close.
Five LSU possessions and five LSU touchdowns later, the Tigers had a 56-27 win despite some questionable play-calling by offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and some anatomically impossible plays by Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. In some ways, the second half was a clash of two exceptional football players, and that Leonard Fournette guy from LSU came out on top.
Fournette entered the second half with 13 carries for 72 yards, but with 35 of those yards coming on a single play. At some point in the second half, though, Fournette broke away. He carried the ball 16 times for 140 yards in the third and fourth quarters, powering LSU to the win. Harris also connected on some nice throws and ended the night 13-of-22 passing for 254 yards and a touchdown to go along with the interception. And for all the criticism that Cameron received on Twitter -- including from yours truly -- LSU amassed 638 yards of total offense.
And especially considering some of the plays Mahomes made -- plays that perhaps no other player could make -- LSU did a solid job on defense. They limited the Red Raiders to 399 yards of total offense, including an average of 1.1 yards a carry on the ground. For all his efforts, Mahomes only ended the night 28-of-56 passing, though he turned that into 370 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
All of which likely means that LSU and Leonard Fournette will start 2016 as one of the favorites in the SEC West and for the Heisman Trophy, respectively. Being the darling of the division is not always the best place to be -- ask Georgia and Auburn -- and there will be competition in the form of Alabama, at least. But if the second half of the Texas Bowl is a sign of what this team is capable of doing, it would be foolish to write them off.