NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Joe Burrow tossed four of his school-record six touchdown passes to Ja’Marr Chase and threw for 398 yards Saturday, leading No. 4 LSU to a 66-38 romp over Vanderbilt in the Tigers’ Southeastern Conference opener.
LSU (4-0) beat Vanderbilt (0-3, 0-2) for the eighth straight time and improved to 12-5 all-time in Nashville in the first game between these SEC charter members since 2010. LSU coach Ed Orgeron was happy at his Tigers getting a win in their first SEC game on the road.
“Proud of our team 4-0 on the road, an SEC victory, our first SEC victory,” Orgeron said. “Was everything pretty? No, it wasn’t. You know what? We kept on fighting.”
The Tigers showed off their new high-powered offense, scoring their most points this season and most ever in regulation against an SEC opponent. They needed 2:11 or less on their first seven scoring drives, and LSU scored 4 seconds after Micah Baskerville returned an onside kick 46 yards to open the third quarter on Burrow’s fifth TD pass.
Baskerville later blocked a punt he recovered for a TD.
Burrow had a game for the record books.
He became both the first LSU quarterback to throw for 350 yards or more in three straight games, and his 357 yards passing by halftime also was the most in school history. Burrow opened the game hitting 13 of his first 14 for 244 yards before his second incompletion at 9:19 in the second quarter. He finished 25 of 34 before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter.
“It’s good,” Orgeron said. “I think that there’s more to come. I really do. I think Joe is a fantastic player. He has a fantastic coach in (offensive coordinator) Steve Ensminger. We have a great plan, and as long as we protect the quarterback we’re going to make big plays here at LSU.”
And Burrow kept throwing to Chase. The sophomore caught TDs of 64, 25 and 51 yards in the first quarter and adding a 16-yarder in the third. He finished with 10 receptions for 229 yards, most by an LSU receiver since Odell Beckham Jr . had 204 against Furman in 2013.
Vanderbilt had never played two of the nation’s top five teams within the first three weeks before in program history. At least the Commodores scored on their first drive, which they didn’t manage in an opening loss to No. 3 Georgia or a loss at Purdue. They scored their most points yet this season but turned it over twice.
“We were playing with house money, man,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. “We had a chance to really take some chances, try to force some things to happen. Those things didn’t necessarily go our way. But what I can tell you is the early part of the season, man, has been a difficult stretch.”
LSU led 28-7 after the first quarter, 38-17 at halftime and 59-31 after the third. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 106 yards and a TD, and John Emery added a TD late.
LSU: The Tigers came in second in the SEC defending the run, giving up just 80.3 yards a game. They gave up a 41-yarder to Ke’Shawn Vaughn on Vandy’s first offensive play, and he broke loose for a 52-yard TD run in the third quarter — the longest run this season for the SEC’s top returning rusher. Vaughn finished with 20 carries for 130 yards.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores came in as the only FBS team without a sack this season, and the closest they came to hitting Burrow early was on a roughing the passer penalty in the first quarter. Then Jaylen Mahoney sacked the LSU quarterback early in the second quarter a play after Burrow had plenty of time to roll to his right before finding Stephen Sullivan on a 30-yard completion. Kenny Hebert also got a sack, and Elijah McAlister recovered an Edwards-Helaire fumble for a touchdown in the final minute of the first half.
LSU: Open date before hosting Utah State on Oct. 5.
Vanderbilt: Hosts Northern Illinois on Sept. 28.
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