Beckham Jr. dazzles in all facets to put up four TDs and 331 all-purpose yards, including a jaw-dropping coast-to-coast score while returning a missed field goal
At first, the sight of Odell Beckham Jr. standing at the base of the goal post in the south end zone appeared, well, like lunacy.
Fifty-nine yards away, UAB kicker Ty Long lined up a field-goal attempt to inject some respectability into what was a 56-17 shellacking for LSU.
“I wanted it,” Long said. “I have hit that before.”
That made Saturday a painful outlier.
Long left it 2-yards short, and saw Beckham “reaching over the uprights.”
The pigskin nestled into Beckham’s arms. And, yes, he took off running — a whole 30 yards before the Blazers reacted with makeshift coverage.
That failed miserably, too.
Beckham hit top gear at his 15-yard line. He planted a foot and veered left. UAB’s Kennard Backman had an angle. He whiffed at the 30-yard line. LSU’s Kwon Alexander threw a hard block on holder Hunter Mullins.
“There was just a huge wall,” Beckham said.
Stretched out before Beckham was open Bermuda grass. And coasting to the end zone, punctuating a night when he racked up career-high 136 receiving yards, three touchdowns and 331 all-purpose yards — the third-most in a single game by an LSU player.
And a he made a inkling by special coach Thomas McGaughey appear brilliant.
“He set up the return so well,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “What happens is, when you kick from a field goal formation, there’s not a lot of fast guys (and) you can get them headed in the wrong direction, which is what Beckham did.”
How rare is the feat? LSU’s stat software didn’t account for the yardage. And it left UAB coach Garrick McGee with buyer’s remorse.
“When you have eight offensive lineman on the field and a kid that explosive,” McGee said, “it’s a dangerous situation.”
By then, Beckham quashed the offseason questions about whether he could overcome inconsistency and drops to be reliable for quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
“We had this tight chemistry, and it’s kind of like a dream come true,” Beckham said. “Everybody is getting together, and we’re all on the same page.”
So, yeah, Beckham appears ready to be cashing in on his potential now, notching LSU’s first back-to-back 100-yard receiving game since Dwyane Bowe in 2006.
“Focus was one of the biggest things for me,” Beckham said. ‘I just focused on the small details, catching, top end of routes, fine-tuning everything. I still have a lot more learning to do.”
LSU’s second drive of the night showed the full complement of skills possessed by Beckham.
“He’s really matured,” Mettenberger said. “He studies the game harder. He understands the potential he has, and you see the hard work he’s put in. And it’s starting to show on the field.”
Beckham snagged three grabs for 87 yards, including beating poor UAB corner Lamarcus Farmer down the seam on a skinny post to haul in a rope perfectly placed by Mettenberger to put LSU up 7-0. On LSU’s next possession, he hauled in a perfectly slotted throw between three defenders for a 22-yard touchdown catch.
And three minutes into the third quarter, he sprinted past Farmer again and let Mettenberger drop a perfect throw over his right shoulder for a 27-yard score to make it 42-17.
Yet, for Beckham, it was only a tantalizing preview of a trait Miles said is preternatural trait for the Isidore Newman product.
“He has a want to make a big play,” Miles said. “It’s a feel.”