BATON ROUGE, La. — Joe Burrow passed for a career-high 307 yards and two touchdowns in less than three quarters, and No. 10 LSU rolled to a 42-10 victory over struggling Rice on Saturday night.
The Tigers (9-2, No. 7 CFP) led 35-3 midway through the third quarter en route to a victory in which the only drama involved whether LSU would cover a point spread hovering around 44 points before kickoff.
Nick Brossette rushed for two touchdowns for LSU, which can clinch its first 10-win season under coach Ed Orgeron — and virtually ensure a New Year’s Day bowl bid — by winning its regular season finale next weekend.
Burrow’s touchdowns went for 38 yards to Stephen Sullivan and 13 yards to senior tight end Foster Moreau, who caught five passes for 71 yards.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Lanard Fournette also ran for short TDs.
Backup quarterback Myles Brennan replaced Burrow in the middle of the third quarter, completing four of six passes for 65 yards, including a 39-yard pass down the right sideline to Justin Jefferson.
LSU outgained Rice (1-11) 552 yards to 198. The Owls, losers of 11 straight, scored their first points on Haden Tobola’s 51-yard field goal late in the first half. Juma Otoviano scored Rice’s lone touchdown on a 5-yard run with 2:55 to play
Rice also set up for a field goal four plays after LSU running back Jontre Kirkland’s fumble gave Rice the ball on the Tigers 35 in the first quarter, but Jack Fox’s 52-yard attempt sailed wide left.
Rice QB Shawn Stankavage completed seven of 13 passes for 101 yards.
Rice: First-year head coach Mike Bloomgren spoke enthusiastically about the opportunity to take his team into LSU’s Tiger Stadium, but reality set in pretty quickly. Bloomgren’s rebuilding program wasn’t likely to keep this game close unless LSU had come out flat. But Rice played a relatively clean game, committing no turnovers and just three penalties.
LSU: With painful and relatively fresh memories of the Tigers’ upset loss to Troy last season, Orgeron wanted to see his team take the field with energy, effort and focus. He also wanted to open up the offence to give that side of the ball more confidence heading into a challenging season finale. He got more or less what he wanted. And the big third-quarter lead allowed him to take a look at reserves who could wind up in bigger roles in upcoming seasons. Brennan, who had not previously played this season, will be eligible to take a redshirt and preserve a season of college eligibility under new NCAA rules.
Rice hosts Old Dominion on Saturday.
LSU visits Texas A&M on Saturday night.