Welcome to LSU, Brian Kelly.
The first thing I must outline is that patience is needed. Rebuilds are far tougher than (especially younger) LSU fans are used to, and year 1 of that rebuild is all about process and groundwork, not results. Many of the games are going to suck. Your team is going to look, at times, like it doesn’t belong on the field, and frankly, even successful rebuilds will look like that. We learned nothing new about Brian Kelly or where his program will be headed tonight. Everyone relax.
Did LSU look like a good football team? No, not remotely. Did LSU look like it did a year ago? It sure did in many ways, eerily at times. The thing is, at first, that’s to be expected with a rebuild.
They did, however, look like the LSU we’re used to in that they opted for the drunkest, silliest, looney-toonsiest ending they could possibly have drawn up. Frankly, beneath all of the success and the talent and the glory, that has been one of LSU football’s most integral qualities. We all remember the Les Miles untimed down/12 men on the field game against Tennessee, the 7 overtime Sickos Committee end-of-year celebration against Texas A&M, and the clock review that got Les Miles fired after a win turned into a loss on the Plains. The fact of the matter is, it’s weird here. It’s not like buttoned-up Notre Dame, it’s drunk, crazy, and eccentric, and boy does that translate to the field. It always has, and it probably always will.
Welcome to LSU, it ain’t changing for nobody.
The first half was an absolute slog. Jayden Daniels scrambled LSU down for a field goal but that was it for LSU’s offense in the first half, as Daniels was very rattled in the pocket and the OL allowed pressure after pressure. On D, they gave up a lot of movement, particularly on 3rd down with FSU QB Jordan Travis expertly dissecting 3rd down pressure packages, but only gave up a single touchdown on a trick play, so the results weren’t terrible considering how well Travis played.
The second half was blind-drunk. FSU opened the half with a field goal, LSU with a punt, but then the game went absolutely ballistic. The teams then traded touchdowns 4 times (2 aside) to make it 24-17 FSU headed down the stretch. LSU finally came up with a 3rd down stop and looked to have a chance to go down and tie the game but WR Malik Nabers muffed and lost his SECOND punt of the game, giving FSU the ball deep in LSU territory. FSU took it down to the one where they proceeded to FUMBLE AND LOSE THE FOOTBALL AT THE 1 YARD LINE. Now, with 1:05 left and 2 timeouts, LSU had to go 99 yards to tie this game. LSU’s offense managed to scramble, fight, and claw its way down the field. With time running low, Daniels found talented freshman TE Mason Taylor who looked like he got out of bounds with just ONE SECOND left on the clock. Sike, he didn’t, they reviewed it and gave LSU time for ONE MORE PLAY as the clock stops with the moving chains and LSU got lined up during the profoundly long review. With the last play on the clock, the line finally held up and Daniels found Jaray Jenkins for a clutch TD to make it 24-23 FSU.
Sadly, you kinda have to do something after you score a touchdown, don’t you? Instead of going for 2 and a possible win (which I’d have done), Kelly played it safe and opted for a PAT. Safe, of course, if you know how to protect a field goal attempt. Florida State EDGE Jared Verse, who had a WHALE of a football game, broke through the line and BLOCKED THE PAT. Game over, FSU wins.
Welcome to LSU Brian, it’s just kinda like that here.