BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU quarterback Joe Burrow buried Mississippi with a breakout performance through the air and on the ground.
Burrow passed for 292 yards and three touchdowns, rushed for 96 yards and another score, and No. 5 LSU routed the Rebels 45-16 on Saturday night.
It was an encouraging sight for the Tigers as the toughest part of their schedule nears.
“LSU used to be a running offense,” said receiver Justin Jefferson, who had five catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns, and was one of nine Tigers with a reception. “Spreading the ball around like we do now is a very good feeling for this offense, especially the receivers.”
Burrow had his best game by far for LSU (5-0, 2-0 SEC) since arriving this year as a graduate transfer from Ohio State, completing 18 of 25 passes. His touchdown run went for 35 yards and his 388 yards of total offense were fourth-most in a single game in LSU history.
“I’m excited about the play of Joe Burrow,” said LSU coach Ed Orgeron, whose team will play No. 2 Georgia on Oct. 13 and No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 3. “Joe can make the throws. I know he can make the decisions and I know he can scramble.
“Joe would be a good dual-threat quarterback,” Orgeron added, but cautioned that he doesn’t want to expose Burrow to too many hits because there is only one other scholarship QB on the roster.
Jefferson’s touchdowns went for 65 yards on a crossing route and 5 yards on a perfectly placed fade to the left corner of the end zone.
Ja’Marr Chase scored LSU’s first touchdown with a difficult leaping grab of a 21-yard timing pass along the right sideline.
“When this offense is running smoothly, we have a lot of different playmakers that get to touch the ball,” Burrow said. “What you look for in an offense is balance and we did that pretty well.”
Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Nick Brossette each had short TDs rushing and LSU finished with 281 yards on the ground for 573 yards of total offense.
LSU dominated much of the game, but two turnovers let the Rebels (3-2, 0-2) hang around until late in the third quarter.
The Tigers led 28-3 when Burrow lost a fumble on the Ole Miss 9. Brossette lost a fumble inside the Mississippi 15 with the Tigers leading 28-6 lead.
The Rebels then drove for their only TD of the game on Scottie Phillips‘ 1-yard run, which trimmed LSU’s lead to 28-13 late in the third quarter. Phillips finished with 96 yards rushing.
The Tigers responded decisively, however, driving 67 yards on just five plays to begin pulling away again on Jefferson’s second TD catch. Terrace Marshall Jr. had a 52-yard reception to the Rebels 10 during the series.
Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu was sacked just once on a blitz by safety Grant Delpit, but often threw under duress, finishing 19 of 38 for 178 yards and one interception.
“They did a good job with pressuring us a lot and we weren’t able to capitalize,” Rebels coach Matt Luke said. “We were beaten soundly in all three phases and we’ve got to find a way to get better.”
Mississippi: After taking a 3-0 lead, the Rebels’ defense got increasingly exposed. The Ole Miss offense, which has been explosive in victories over nonconference teams, again struggled against an elite SEC defense as it did in a 62-7 loss to Alabama. The Rebels also committed 17 penalties for 167 yards, including two penalties on fourth down that extended LSU drives. Luke said his team’s rash of penalties was “probably what I’m most disappointed in.”
LSU: The Tigers looked as potent offensively as they have all season and might have eclipsed 50 points if not for two lost fumbles deep in Rebels territory. Meanwhile, Delpit’s second interception of the season increased Tiger takeaways to 10 on seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
LSU will at least hold steady in the AP Top 25 Poll . Whether the Tigers move up depends on how voters view their rout of Ole Miss vs. narrow victories by No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Ohio State.
LSU honored slain basketball player Wayde Sims with a moment of silence before the marching band’s playing of the university’s alma mater and the national anthem. Hardly a sound could be heard in 102,000-seat Tiger Stadium for about 15 seconds as images of the 20-year-old Sims were shown on the video board. Sims, a Baton Rouge native whose father also played basketball for LSU, was killed by gunfire early Friday. An arrest was made Saturday.
Mississippi hosts Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
LSU travels to play the Florida Gators on Saturday.