1.1.18 Citrus Bowl

LSU sophomore wide receiver Stephen Sullivan (10) catches the ball during the Tigers' 17-21 loss to Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 in Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

Propelled by a much needed fast start, the Tigers defeated the Southeastern Lions 31-0 in the 2018 home opener.

The Tigers' (2-0) defenders were all over the Lions with aggressive pressure from the lineman up front being a major force for a much smaller offensive line.

Junior linebacker Devin White was predictably all over the field and forced a 3rd down fumble at the Tiger 35-yard line to put the offense in solid position after an opening three and out. White led the team in tackles with 11.

Southeastern quarterback Chason Virgil had absolutely no time to make anything happen for the Lions. In the first quarter alone, Virgil was sacked three times.

Coach Ed Orgeron said it was a sluggish day offensively after a great start in the first quarter.

For the half, the Lions were stumped for -5 rushing yards and 42 passing yards thanks to the pressure up front from Fehoko, Rashard Lawrence and Neil Farrell.

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The defense did take a hit late in the first half when linebacker Jacob Phillips was ejected for targeting with 2:21 to go. Because he was ejected in the first half, Phillips does not have to sit out of the first half of the Auburn game next week.

Replacing Phillips was Micah Baskerville who saw his first action after a foot procedure in August, finishing with six tackles on the night.

Joe Burrow started fast and used not only his arm but his legs as a source for extending drives. Through the first quarter, Burrow led the Tigers in rushing with 26 yards including a rushing touchdown.

Burrow finished the game 10 of 20 for 151 and three touchdowns, one rushing and two passing.

"We struggled in some parts of protection and some drops from receivers," Orgeron said. "Their defensive line was penetrating and when we did protect Joe, we either dropped passes or held the ball too long."

The offense was able to capitalize with a five yard touchdown throw from Burrow to freshman receiver Ja'Marr Chase, the first touchdowns of their LSU careers.

As a unit, the offensive line started strong but struggled mightily as the first half wore on. Burrow was sacked four times in a forgettable second quarter that included 50 yards in penalties.

The quarter was salvaged to some degree with a Hail Mary completion to Stephen Sullivan that put the Tigers up 24-0 at the half. Sullivan said the team practices Hail Mary on Monday and Thursday as the last few plays of practice.

"At first I thought we were going to run the clock out," Sullivan said. "It gave us some energy on offense."

Running back Nick Brossette broke his own career record for rushing yards for the second straight week, finishing with 137 yards on 19 carries.  

LSU seemed to be on the verge of a big offensive night after the 24 point first half, but the offense totaled just 63 yards in the second half, with one score

The defense didn't let up in the second half, coming up with a big 4th and 1 stop after Southeastern drove into LSU territory for just the second time all game.

One blemish, however, was it let Southeastern convert five fourth down conversions in the second half, none of which led to points. After the third fourth down was converted, sophomore cornerback Greedy Williams picked off his first pass of the season.

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