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LSU bounces back by crushing Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — LSU proved its could protect its quarterback, and Myles Brennan showed what he could do with some time to throw.

Brennan threw for 337 yards and four touchdowns as No. 20 LSU bounced back to beat Vanderbilt 41-7 on Saturday night.

The defending national champs never trailed after losing their season opener last week to Mississippi State, when Brennan was sacked seven times. Brennan was not sacked at all in this game. LSU also extended its winning streak over the Commodores to nine in a series it leads 24-7-1.

“It’s a step,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “Last week we were not pleased, obviously and that’s not LSU Tiger football. Tonight was LSU football. We played like LSU Tigers. But you know what? We practiced like it.”

The Tigers outgained Vanderbilt 498-266, and the defense came up with two interceptions and a pair of sacks.

Brennan completed passes to 11 different receivers against a Vanderbilt defense that had consistent pressure against Kellen Mond in an opening loss at Texas A&M. Orgeron said Brennan played well, stepping up in the pocket and not scrambling to the right like he did in the opener after working on it in practice.

“We went out and performed the way we know how to perform,” Brennan said. “We still have a lot of room to improve. … It wasn’t perfect by any means but this is a good start.”

Terrace Marshall Jr. finished with two TDs on two catches, and Jontre Kirklin had 65 yards receiving and two TD catches, the second a toe-tapper at the back of the end zone off a flea flicker. John Emery ran for 103 yards and a TD.

The Tigers’ offense clicked pretty well. They didn’t need more than 1 minute, 53 seconds on any of their first five scoring drives. Brennan capped one drive on just three plays with a 51-yard TD to Marshall.

Vanderbilt (0-2) had its chances with freshman Ken Seals making his home debut. When Randall Haynie picked off an overthrown pass from Brennan, Seals hit tight end Ben Bresnahan with an 8-yard TD pass to pull the Commodores to 14-7 in the second quarter.

They never scored again.

Todd Harris Jr. picked off Seals’ pass at the goal line early in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve just got to continue to get better at doing the little things because that was more about fundamentals than anything else,” coach Derek Mason said of his Commodores.

The Tigers got cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. back, and he showed why LSU missed him in the opener when he was in a hospital. He had 92 yards on punt returns with a 28-yarder early in the second quarter put LSU at the Vanderbilt 38. Four plays later, the Tigers were up 14-0. His 48-yard return midway through the third set up a field goal.

Then there was his defense where safety JaCoby Stevens says Stingley makes a big difference.

“He’s the best corner in the nation, so guys think twice about throwing the ball his way,” Stevens said. ” And that hesitation … gives our front four time to get there and our front four played lights out.”