BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Going into the November stretch of the season, we have a much clearer picture of the team LSU is and the team that they can be. While they began the season as a heavy running team, and still are at the core, Brandon Harris and the passing game have become more than essential to their success.
Look no further than the first half of Saturday's game against Western Kentucky for example. The Tigers piled up 75 yards on their first drive with 55 coming on one pass from Harris to sophomore Malachi Dupre. The next four drives combined: 49 yards on 20 plays with 12 of those rushing.
The bottom line there is that when a team wants to slow LSU and their Heisman-candidate running back Leonard Fournette down by loading the box with eight, nine and sometimes ten defenders (it is possible) they'll need Harris to open things up for the offense to flow.
"I think we're throwing the ball better," said LSU head coach Les Miles. "I think Brandon Harris can really throw it, and I think our receivers are guys that can get open and compete with a real quality secondary."
Even in simple Miles speak, that's the best way to describe what followed those four unproductive drives. Harris went on to pass for another career-high of 286 yards with three touchdowns. If you're not sold on the Tigers' passing attack now, what are you waiting for?
"I feel like there are still some non-believers out there," Dupre said. "I feel like there's a lot of people still doubting us. Hopefully, we can continue to prove them wrong. The last few weeks we got the passing attack going and had a little more balance. As long as we continue to keep improving our passing game and getting better as a team, I feel like we can be the team that people say we could be if we had the balance."
To that degree, it sounds like Harris and his receivers are still playing with a chip on their shoulder, which is a good thing. The whole team may have a chip on their shoulder when it comes to facing Alabama on Nov. 7.
"This is the team that fans definitely want to beat more than anybody," says Vadal Alexander. "To us, it's another great team that we have to play."
Despite the relaxed and standard answer from Alexander on playing Alabama, he did say he's very aware that he's winless against Crimson Tide during his career at LSU, and that he's been emphasizing to everyone on the team how important it is to take advantage of the bye week when preparing for their trip to Tuscaloosa.
"A lot of guys are going to be anxious and ready to get out there and play," says redshirt junior wide receiver Travin Dural. "So I don't think it's going to be a relaxing week."