STAT WATCH: No. 4 LSU has nation's highest-scoring offense
By STEVE MEGARGEE AP Sports Writer
LSU has earned a reputation the last decade or so as a program that relies on defense and usually does just enough on offense.
That’s what makes it such a surprise to see the fourth-ranked Tigers emerge as the nation’s highest-scoring team so far this season. LSU has scored 231 points, which represents the highest point total ever for a Southeastern Conference team through its first four games.
“I think we’re starting to see that we can do this every game against every team,” LSU quarterback Joe Burrow said Saturday after the Tigers’ 66-38 victory at Vanderbilt. “This is who we are as an offense; we’re going to go try to score every time. We’re going to throw the ball around and we’re going to throw it to open up the run. So I’m happy with where we are right now.”
The numbers back up Burrow’s confidence.
LSU’s 66 points against Vanderbilt marked its highest scoring output ever in an SEC game that didn’t go into overtime. The Tigers scored at least 40 points in each of its first four games and has reached the 55-point mark in all but one of them.
That’s a remarkable turnabout for a program that hasn’t finished higher than sixth in the SEC in scoring since 2011.
Only 15 Football Bowl Subdivision players have caught at least five touchdown passes this season. Three of them are from LSU: Terrace Marshall Jr. (20 catches, 304 yards, 6 TDs), Ja’Marr Chase (20-397-5) and Justin Jefferson (21-392-5).
Here are some other stats to note coming out of the fourth week of the college football season.
UCLA hasn’t had much reason to cheer the last few years, but it has produced two of college football’s greatest comebacks during that stretch.
The Bruins found a way to beat Washington State 67-63 after trailing 49-17 in the third quarter. Washington State’s collapse caused the Cougars to fall out of the Top 25 after being ranked 19th at the time of the game.
UCLA’s rally from 32 points down comes two years after the Bruins erased a 34-point deficit in a 45-44 victory over Texas A&M.
The largest FBS comeback ever came in 2006, when Michigan State beat Northwestern 41-38 after trailing 38-3 in the third quarter.
Saturday’s UCLA-Washington State contest was the highest-scoring game in Pac-12 history. LSU’s 66-38 triumph over Vanderbilt had the fourth-highest point total for any SEC game that didn’t go into overtime.
Washington State’s Anthony Gordon threw nine touchdown passes and was just two shy of the FBS single-game record owned by David Klingler, who threw 11 touchdown passes for Houston against Eastern Washington in 1990. Gordon had 41 completions for 570 yards, the highest single-game total for any FBS player in each of those two categories.
DUELING 200-YARD RUSHERS
Toledo outlasted Colorado State 41-35 in a game that featured a 200-yard rusher for each team. Colorado State’s Marvin Kinsey Jr. rushed for 246 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, while Toledo’s Bryant Koback had 19 rushes for 228 yards and three touchdowns.
Kinsey’s 246-yard performance was the second-highest single-game rushing total of the season, behind the 256-yard outburst by Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard against Tulsa on Sept. 14.
Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor also exceeded the 200-yard mark Saturday, as he rushed for 203 yards in the Badgers’ 35-14 triumph over Michigan. Wisconsin rose from No. 13 to No. 8 and Michigan fell from No. 11 to No. 20 after the game.
Taylor has rushed for at least 200 yards nine times in his 30-game career.
Southern California’s Michael Pittman had 10 catches for 232 yards Friday in the 21st-ranked Trojans’ 30-23 victory over No. 19 Utah, which was ranked 10th at the time of the game.
Those 232 yards receiving represent the highest single-game total for any FBS player this season. The second-highest total this year is by Chase, who had 10 catches for 229 yards in LSU’s victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday.
California’s Evan Weaver had 155 tackles last season to rank second among all FBS players, and he leads the nation in total tackles (63) and tackles per game (15.8) this year. Weaver had a career-high 22 tackles Saturday and stopped Mississippi quarterback John Rhys Plumlee just shy of the goal line on the game’s final play to preserve the 15th-ranked Golden Bears’ 28-20 victory.
Weaver was one of two FBS players to exceed the 20-tackle mark Saturday. Texas State’s Bryan London II had 22 tackles as the Bobcats edged Georgia State 37-34 in a game that included three overtime sessions. Utah State’s David Woodward has the highest single-game tackle total of the season, as he made 24 stops Aug. 30 in a 38-35 loss to Wake Forest.
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AP sports writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.