True freshman quarterback Brandon Harris led the 17th-ranked LSU football team on seven-straight touchdown drives as the Tigers rolled past New Mexico State, 63-7, on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
LSU (4-1) had four turnovers in the first quarter but managed a 14-0 lead following linebacker Kendell Beckwith's interception returned 29 yards for a touchdown with 19 seconds to play in the opening stanza. The Tigers also scored in the quarter after a 1-yard New Mexico State punt led to a 40-yard drive that ended with Terrence Magee's 11-yard run.
The Tigers won for the 49th-straight time against non-conference teams in the regular season.
LSU returns to action next Saturday, making their first Southeastern Conference road trip of the season to Auburn. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.
New Mexico State (2-3) also had two turnovers in the first quarter and four for the game. The Aggies' best scoring chances ended with a missed field goal from 40 yards and a fumble at the LSU 26 late in the third quarter.
Harris, who entered with 9:28 left in the first half, finished 11-of-14 passing for 178 yards with three touchdowns passing and two more with runs of 1 and 2 yards in the second half. He became the first true freshman in school history to pass for at least three touchdowns in a single game.
Meanwhile, freshman Leonard Fournette had his first 100-yard rushing game as a Tigers, tallying 122 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Magee added 62 yards on eight carries, while freshman Darrel Williams (10 for 59 yards) and senior Kenny Hilliard (7 for 53) each saw significant action.
Freshman wide receiver Malachi Dupre was on the receiving end of three passes for 54 yards, highlighted by a 27-yard touchdown grab from Harris in the 28-point second quarter. Trey Quinn and Travin Dural each had three catches for 46 and 40 yards, respectively. Dural caught a 10-yard touchdown from Harris on the first drive of the second half that put the Tigers ahead 49-7.
LSU outgained New Mexico State, 563-274. The Tigers had 363 rushing yards and 200 passing yards.
New Mexico's State's offensive high point came with 3:14 remaining in the first half. Reserve quarterback Andrew Allen broke through the LSU defensive line and scored a 78-yard touchdown. Allen finished with 113 net yards on five carries and 2-for-2 passing for 16 yards.
Aggies starting quarterback Tyler Rogers was 14-of-31 passing for 86 yards with two interceptions.
New Mexico State won the coin and elected to receive the opening kickoff, while LSU defended the north endzone.
With Rogers under center, the Aggies earned a first down to their 38 with a 9-yard pass to Adam Shapiro. Three plays later, cornerback Tre'Davious White caught up to a pass and tip-toed the sideline for his first interception of the season.
At his 26, LSU starting quarterback Anthony Jennings ran for nine yards and Hilliard picked up a first down to the 41. On his second carry of the game, Jennings had the ball jarred loose by Kawe Johnson and linebacker Dalton Herrington recovered at midfield.
After the teams traded punts on three-straight possessions, Jennings' difficult opening quarter got worse. A long pass intended for Dupre was intercepted by Johnson at the Aggies 43.
This time, New Mexico State advanced to the LSU 27 after a 15-yard pass from Rogers to Joshua Bowen that was followed by a personal foul on the Tigers. The Aggies managed only four yards on three passes before Maxwell Johnson's 40-yard field goal was missed to the left to keep the game scoreless.
Jennings' forgettable quarter of football next included another interception, as the signal caller underthrew Dural along the right sideline and Corley Cassius came up with the pickoff at the Aggies 36.
The Tigers were able to get the offense in gear following a New Mexico State 1-yard punt. Starting at the Aggies 40, Fournette ran three-straight times to the 18 before Jennings connected with Quinn for seven yards to the 11. Magee then barreled 11 yards into the endzone to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 2:07 left in the quarter.
Following New Mexico State's 43-yard punt, LSU gave away the ball for the fourth time in the opening period when Hilliard was stripped by Johnson at the LSU 40.
After LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter busted an attempt at a halfback pass by forcing a fumble and loss of 26 yards, Beckwith intercepted a Rogers pass off of offensive lineman Houston Clemente's helmet and returned 29 yards for a touchdown. The defensive score was LSU's second in as many games - a first since the 2006 season.
LSU led 14-0 with 19 seconds left in the quarter.
On the ensuing drive, New Mexico State ran for a pair of first downs and advanced to the LSU 37 before a false start stalled the drive and forced a punt from the LSU 42.
After Jennings' final drive ended with a three-and-out and a punt, the Aggies punted back following a five-play drive.
Harris entered for the first time with 9:28 remaining in the half and started an 11-play, 80-yard drive that included 10 runs and a 5-yard pass to Dupre. Fournette capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown run around the right end that pushed LSU's lead to 21-0 with 5:52 to play before halftime.
LSU's defense forced a three-and-out, and Harris started a three-play scoring drive from his 38-yard line. A 22-yard pass to Dural was followed by a 13-yard run by Williams to the Aggies 27. Harris bobbled the snap then left the pocket and rolled to his left before flipping a pass to Dupre over a defender in the left corner of the endzone.
The PAT by Colby Delahoussaye put LSU ahead 28-0 with 4:06 left in the half.
After Allen's 78-yard sprint for a touchdown gave New Mexico State its only points, LSU answered with a third touchdown in just more than four minutes of game time.
Harris started the drive with a 33-yard underhand shuffle pass to Fournette to the Aggies 37. A short pass to Dupre then turned into a 22-yard gain to the 15, where Harris ran for 10 yards. On second-and-goal, Fournette scored for the second time from five yards to increase the LSU lead to 35-7 with 1:49 left.
The Tigers weren't done. Before the half, LSU defensive end Davon Godchaux forced a fumble that was picked up at the Aggies 39 by Jalen Mills. Mills appeared to stay in-bounds before leaping into the endzone but was ruled out at the 3. On the next play, Harris rolled right and completed a short pass to Melvin Jones for the fullback's second touchdown as a Tiger.
With 56 seconds left, LSU took a 49-7 advantage.
The halftime lead tied LSU's largest under coach Les Miles.
Harris' three second-half drives each ended in touchdowns.
First, Fournette ran four-straight times for 26 yards across midfield before Magee added 23 yards to the Aggies 26. The second of two receptions by Dural was a 10-yard touchdown pass from Harris.
Later in the third quarter, Harris completed passes of 12 and 27 yards to Quinn, while walk-on wide receiver Miquel James lined up in the backfield and took a handoff for 19 yards around the left end. Quinn's second catch put LSU at the Aggies 2, and Harris snuck in from 1 yard on second down. LSU led 56-7 with 1:48 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers third and final score of the second half spanned 65 yards and took only six plays. Harris started the drive with a 9-yard pass to John Diarse before Hilliard ran 26 yards to the Aggies 30. Early in the fourth quarter, Harris ran to the Aggies 4 before scoring two plays later with a 2-yard run.
Harris left the game for the final 12:40 with a 63-7 lead.
Quarterback Brad Kragthorpe saw his first action under center for the Tigers, completing his first and only pass for 11 yards.
Announced attendance was 101,987.