Etling Leads Football Past Gamecocks, 34-13

Danny Etling (16) celebrates a long TD pass to DeSean Smith (89)
Danny Etling (16) celebrates a long TD pass to DeSean Smith (89)
Chris Parent (@chrisparent)
Bill Franques
Bill Franques
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE -- Quarterback Danny Etling led the LSU football team to three-straight touchdowns and Tre'Davious White added a highlight-reel punt return, as No. 21 LSU used a 27-point second quarter to defeat FCS powerhouse Jacksonville State, 34-13, on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

Etling, a junior transfer, energized the Tigers with a 46-yard touchdown pass to tight end DeSean Smith early the second quarter to give LSU a 6-3 lead. 

With Leonard Fournette unavailable due to injury, running back Derrius Guice carried 19 times for 155 yards including a 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

LSU added two more touchdowns in 47 seconds just before the half - a 2-yard dive by fullback Bry'Kiethon Mouton and a 60-yard punt return by White - and the Tigers took a 27-10 lead into the lockerroom.

While Etling sparked the Tigers offense, the highlight of the game belonged to White. The senior fielded a punt at his 40-yard line, evaded tacklers and retreated all the way to the LSU 19 before turning up field and out-running everyone for a touchdown with 20 seconds left in the half.

Etling finished 6-of-14 passing for 100 yards with one passing touchdown and a 2-yard bootleg score in the third quarter. He entered in the second quarter for Brandon Harris, who struggled to a 1-for-4 start.

LSU amassed 244 rushing yards on 37 carries.

Jacksonville State quarterback Eli Jenkins accounted for 330 of his team's 368 yards of total offense. He was 17-of-35 passing for 248 yards and added 82 net rushing yards on 18 carries including three sacks.

The Gamecocks, which are ranked No. 5 in the Football Championship Subdivision, fell to 1-1 on the season.

LSU returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 17, when Mississippi State comes to Tiger Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2.

The Gamecocks struck first with 14:56 remaining in the second quarter when Cade Stinnett connected on a 30-yard field goal. The score culminated a 33-yard, eight-play march to give JSU a 3-0 lead.

At the time of Stinnett's field goal, JSU held an 87-12 edge in total yardage, a 12:46-2:18 advantage in time of possession and a 6-0 lead in first downs.

Etling made his LSU debut on the ensuing drive and led the Tigers on a 70-yard scoring march. Etling hit Smith on a 46-yard TD strike to cap a six-play drive in just 2:21.

Etling's seven-yard completion to running back Darrel Williams on the third play of the drive to the LSU 42 gave the Tigers their initial first down of the contest.

JSU's Desmond Owino blocked Colby Delahoussaye's PAT attempt, and LSU held a 6-3 lead with 12:21 remaining in the second period.

Etling engineered another scoring drive in the second quarter to increase the lead to 13-3. Guice's 4-yard touchdown burst at the 4:14 mark of the second period capped a 79-yard, eight-play march.

Guice ignited the drive on the first play with a 32-yard dash to the LSU 43-yard line.

Jacksonville State answered quickly on the first play of the ensuing drive when quarterback Eli Jenkins hit wide receiver Krenwick Sanders with a 76-yard TD strike, narrowing the Tigers' lead to 13-10.

A 2-yard run by Mouton – his first career touchdown on his first career carry – gave LSU a 20-10 edge with 1:07 remaining in first half. The drive, highlighted by a 44-yard run from Guice, covered 64 yards in five plays.

White returned a JSU punt 60 yards for a score just before halftime, increasing the lead to 27-10. White broke a tackle early in the return and retreated all the way back to his own 19-yard line before weaving his way through the Gamecock coverage for the touchdown.

Etling's first-half passing numbers were off-the-charts: 6-for-8 for 100 yards and a touchdown, and he led the Tigers to a TD on each of his three drives. Guice rushed 10 times for 93 yards and a score in the first half, averaging 9.3 yards per carry.

LSU cornerback Donte' Jackson recorded his second career interception at the 6:09 mark of the third quarter, picking off a Jenkins aerial and returning it 40 yards to the Jacksonville State 45.

The Tigers took advantage of the opportunity and briskly negotiated the 45 yards in seven plays, with the drive finishing on Etling's 2-run bootleg run to the end zone at the 3:00 mark of the third quarter.

Etling's second touchdown of the evening pushed the LSU advantage to 34-10.

The Gamecocks scored the only points of the fourth quarter, a 33-yard field goal for the final margin. LSU ended the game at the Jacksonville State 10-yard line.




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