BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - True freshman quarterback Brandon Harris finished with four touchdowns, as White beat Purple 42-14 in the LSU Spring Game on Saturday.
Through much of the offseason for the LSU football team, the veteran players said sophomore Anthony Jennings is their quarterback and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron commented about the poor mechanics Harris displayed under center. However, all that changed Saturday as the battle to be Zach Mettenberger's replacement took a major turn for Jennings and the Bossier City rookie Harris, who seemed a little nervous but all smiles in pregame.
Harris led the offensive attack for the Tigers. He threw touchdown passes from 19, five and 21 yards out. He also had a 4-yard rushing touchdown. Harris completed 11 of 28 passes for 195 yards. He was also the top rusher in the game by racking up 75 yards on six carries.
His three touchdown passes were all in the second quarter. Harris lofted a 21-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Travin Dural, who leaped for the ball and pulled it down in the end zone on the last play of the first half. Dural caught five passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
Harris' other two touchdown passes were to sophomore tight end DeSean Smith and senior fullback Connor Neighbors. Smith had three receptions for 45 yards.
"He did a great job this game," Jennings said of Harris. "He made a lot of great plays with both his feet and his arm. I commend him for doing those things."
LSU head coach Les Miles said he made his quarterbacks live-for-contact during the spring game to see how they would handle that type of pressure. Early on, Harris appeared to be overwhelmed with the situation, fumbling the first snap he took. However, as the game progressed, Harris heated up and in the minds of many, Jennings took a step back, throwing not one but two pick-sixes.
"When we throw a menu of plays that we've thrown all spring long and then we limit the menu, I think there's a pretty consistent theme to the defense to anticipate some of these throws," Miles said. "I understand the mistakes that were made and certainly, we all will coach against it, but I'm not ready to be defining it in any way."
Jennings finished with one touchdown pass in the game. He connected with Dural from 13 yards out with 8:42 left in the third quarter. However, he tossed two pick-sixes in the first half.
In the first quarter, junior linebacker Deion Jones intercepted one of his passes and returned it 67 yards for a touchdown. Then, with 5:00 left in the second quarter, junior linebacker Kwon Alexander snatched another Jennings throw and returned it 26 yards to pay dirt.
"I came out and tried to do the best I could. I tried to get my team the win. I tried to improve on the things I wasn't doing well. I had two interceptions in this game. I wish I had those back, but you can't take them back," Jennings explained.
"I just had to overcome adversity. I came out in the second half and tried to score a touchdown. If you throw an interception and you don't come right back, you aren't a good quarterback. Every quarterback goes through adversity. It's about how you respond, not how you fall," Jennings added.
He was also sacked on back-to-back plays by junior defensive end Danielle Hunter in the second quarter. Jennings completed 9 of the 17 passes he attempted for 157 yards.
Senior running back Kenny Hilliard rushed for a 3-yard touchdown with 8:30 left in the game. He rushed for 59 yards on 16 carries. The offense finished with a total of 622 yards.
The official attendance for the game was 18,565.
Many of the fans that filed into Tiger Stadium for the game got their first look at the new south deck, which is set to debut on Sept. 6, 2014. With the additional seats, the stadium will hold 99,000 fans.