Trailing 27-24 late in the fourth quarter at home against Arkansas last November, the No. 15 LSU football team was already down its starting quarterback and top receiver.
With the game in question, freshman backup signal-caller Anthony Jennings threw the 49-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to freshman wideout Travin Dural with one minute and 15 seconds left to cap a 99-yard drive to avoid an upset from the unranked Razorbacks.
While not a marquee matchup, Saturday’s game is a chance for the young duo to bolster their already strong chemistry.
LSU will put its regular season non-conference winning streak of 46 games on the line against FCS power Sam Houston State at 6:30 p.m. The Bearkats (1-1) bring their high-octane offense, averaging 43 points per game. Averaging 257 yards on the ground and 356.5 yards in the air through two games, Sam Houston’s two-dimensional approach will look to wear out the Tigers’ defense.
Dural said he expects the chemistry between him and Jennings to be on display Saturday night.
“We kind of have that feel for each other,” Dural said. “He knows where to throw it, he knows how I run and I know he throws it. It just goes together.”
Their work and preparation together showed once again in this year’s season opener.
LSU managed to escape its tightly contested showdown against No. 14 Wisconsin last Saturday in Houston, thanks to big plays on both sides of the ball.
Jennings went 9-for-21 with 239 yards and two touchdowns, but his deep passes down the field to Dural, including the first score that went for 80 yards, proved to be huge in the Tigers’ turnaround performance.
Of Jennings’ nine completions, Dural caught three passes for 151 yards, averaging 50.3 yards per reception. The duo plans to carry their momentum into this weekend’s game and for the remainder of the season.
Senior linebacker D.J. Welter has noticed the relationship between Dural and Jennings grow throughout the course of the offseason. He brought up the 80-yard scramble play that went for a touchdown against Wisconsin, saying they continually work on that play.
“They have good timing,” Welter said. “They’ve definitely been working on that all summer. It just shows all of the hard work coming together, especially in a first game like that [in] a big stage. The timing they’ve been working on all summer goes to show you their hard work.”
Dural said he and Jennings missed on a few plays during last week’s contest. His goal is for both of them to continue to perfect each other’s craft starting against the Bearkats.
“[We just have to] keep working every day,” Dural said.
“[We have to] come in here after practice, get a feel for each other, gain that timing [and] confidence. That’s how we’re going to get better.”