HOUSTON, TX (WAFB) - For many LSU fans, the reaction went from 'Oh no, it's going to be a very long year' to 'Holy cow, what a comeback,' after the Tigers overcame a 24-7 deficit to get a come-from-behind win over Wisconsin on Saturday.
"We're a blue collar team that'll fight like hell," head coach Les Miles said. "There's a resiliency and a competitiveness that says, 'Okay, we understand where we're at, we dug ourselves into a nice little hole here, let's get it done.'"
Take away Travin Dural's 80-yard touchdown catch from Anthony Jennings and LSU ran 31 offensive plays for a measly 57 yards in the first half.
"We had young linemen mistakes. Guys not getting up on the backside linebackers, center went the wrong way," Miles explained.
The LSU defense struggled as well. It allowed a 63-yard romp by Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon that led to a 24-7 Badgers lead early in the third quarter.
"I can't tell you the number of missed tackles. I can't tell you the number of missed assignments," Miles added.
"I really felt like everybody stayed positive and us as a defense and the offense, also," said linebacker DJ Welter. "We knew we had what it would take to win."
"This team has a lot of fight in it," said quarterback Anthony Jennings. "All these guys around me don't have any quit in them, so we knew we were okay. Nobody got agitated or anything like that."
Jennings and the rest of the LSU offense peaked in the final stanza. Wide receiver John Diarse emerged for his first huge moment as a Tiger when he broke four tackles on his way to 35-yard touchdown reception, while freshman wide receiver Trey Quinn added a two-point conversion. Then, with the Tigers down by three points, safety Jalen Mills immediately gave LSU the ball back.
"I kind of baited the quarterback like I was on the tight end and as soon as I saw him throw it, I broke on the receiver," Mills explained. "Coach Miles just told me if my name was called, he wanted me to be ready. So, I'm just thankful that I got to play, even it was one minute at all."
So coming into today, you weren't sure if you were going to play or not?
"No sir," Mills replied.
It was then running back Kenny Hilliard's time to shine for the lead and eventually the game-winning score.
"I saw the o-line taking over," Dural said. "La'el, Vadal, Hoko - those guys were rolling. Giving Kenny big holes and he's a hard guy to stop."
"I think the o-line kind of got upset that we had 16 yards in the first half," Hilliard added. "Those guys got mad and just got after it in the second half."
Running back Leonard Fournette's highly-anticipated debut was not huge. He had eight carries for 18 yards, an average of 2.3 yards per carry. He also had five kick returns for 117 yards, which is a 23.4-yard average.
"Leonard Fournette's contribution [was] he did exactly what we asked him to do. [He] ran hard," Miles said.
"Next week, I might not have a game like I had. I just have to approach it and stay humble and just wait until your name is called and just go ahead from there," Hilliard said.
After all of the Brandon Harris talk this summer, the true freshman quarterback only played one series in the game. It was a three-and-out. However, he should see some more action against Sam Houston State. But, at the moment, Anthony Jennings is the one in control.