In the final regular-season game at Tiger Stadium in 2013, LSU got a glimpse of its quarterback of the future earlier than expected.
Senior Tiger quarterback Zach Mettenberger left the game midway through the fourth quarter with a knee injury and watched on crutches on the sideline, as LSU fans got a taste of what's to come.
True freshman Anthony Jennings from Marietta, Ga., entered the game and led LSU on a sizzling 99-yard, game-winning drive in 1:49 to topple Arkansas 31-27 and give the Tigers offense some hope for the future.
That drive culminated with a 49-yard touchdown pass from Jennings to fellow freshman Travin Dural with 1:15 to play.
"We really wanted to take a shot," LSU head coach Les Miles said on the CBS broadcast. "[Offensive coordinator] Cam Cameron said Travin Dural may be open on this, so let's get in position to get that."
Jennings showed tremendous poise on the game-winning drive. Arkansas punter Sam Irwin-Hill pinned the Tigers within the half-yard line, and all Jennings did was complete four of six passes for 76 yards and rush twice for 23 yards.
It was a performance that surprised everyone, including Miles, according to Brian Holland of WBRZ in Baton Rouge:
Les Miles: "if you would've told me that was the scenario, I would've said 'no way.' ...only these Tigers" #LSU— Brian Holland (@BHollandSports) November 29, 2013
"Only these Tigers," and Miles will get them for a few more years.
The offense will look different with Jennings at the helm.
The 6'2", 211-pounder was used in running situations at times this season, and will allow offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to employ a system next season that emphasizes his dual-threat capabilities.
But it wasn't just Jennings' performance that should give LSU hope for the future.
Junior wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry could declare early for the NFL draft, and LSU saw on Friday just how lethargic its offense was without a potent tandem. Beckham caught one pass for 16 yards and rushed once for 20 but left in the first half with a hip contusion and didn't return.
Without one of his two go-to receivers in the lineup, Mettenberger threw for just 156 yards in three-and-a-half quarters against an Arkansas pass defense that came in ranked 11th in the SEC (235.3 YPG).
If either Landry or Beckham go, Dural proved that he can be a big-time receiver in a big situation with Jennings. If both go, at least LSU has a little more confidence in one piece of its 2014 wide receiver foundation.
LSU got a glimpse of its offensive future in Friday's win over Arkansas. While there are still some questions remaining—including the decisions facing draft-eligible running backs Jeremy Hill, Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee—Jennings' ability to lead his team to a win with his back pressed up against his own end zone is a good sign of things to come.
It came two games too early, but there's a successor to Mettenberger's throne in Baton Rouge, and his name is Anthony Jennings.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!