A week after the offense struggles on the road in a 13-10 win over Arkansas, the best dose of medicine for the LSU offense on a cold, rainy night in Tiger Stadium was the running game in a 41-10 win over UAB.
To cap off the Tigers’ last home game of the regular season, the running game heated up when the temperature was in the 40’s as the offense had 266 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Despite not having leading ball carrier Josh Williams and also Armoni Goodwin, offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock leaned on the other two scholarship running backs Noah Cain and John Emery Jr.
“It was very important. We already knew going into last week, playing Arkansas, that everyone had to play their best game but it’s tough. All of Coach Kelly’s speeches touch on the mental toughness of getting back on track and just playing football. We all know we can play. I’m just glad we were able to execute tonight at a high level.”LSU RB Noah Cain on importance of offense getting back into rhythm
Cain had a three touchdown night to go along with 76 yards on 13 carries. Although Emery fumbled the ball twice, he showed his explosiveness with 46 yards rushing and also started the scoring with a two yard touchdown run. Even though both running backs combining for four touchdowns, it turned out that neither was tonight’s leading rusher.
That honor belongs to LSU’s dynamic quarterback Jayden Daniels. After struggling last week with only 86 yards passing against Arkansas, Daniels had a bounce back night and showed why he was so great in the Tigers’ three game stretch against Florida, Ole Miss, and Alabama. For the third time this season, Daniels threw for over 200 yards and ran for over 100 yards in a single game. Heading into this season, no LSU quarterback has ever done that through four quarters and this year, the Arizona State transfer has done so twice. In the win, he completed 22 of 29 passes for 297 yards including a touchdown pass to Brian Thomas Jr. while leading the team with 111 yards rushing and another touchdown on 12 carries.
“Jayden Daniels prepared really well, and you can make the case this was his best game of the year. He pushed the ball down the field vertically, saw things, and he was assertive. I think he was responsible for over 400 yards. Anytime a quarterback does that, that’s a pretty good day. So, I think that decisiveness and that assertiveness, you could see it in his preparation this week.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on Jayden Daniels’ performance
In the passing game, Malik Nabers put on a show as he had seven catches for 129 yards with three of those grabs going for 20 yards or more. In the game, Nabers also reached 1,000 yards receiving in his career while also notching his first 100 yard performance of the season. With Kayshon Boutte being out because of the flu, it was the Tigers’ leading pass catcher this season that took over the game.
“It was good. Like I said last week, I had a great week of preparation. I felt like as an offense, we didn’t. We attacked the week harder. It was good, you know. If you prepare harder, then the end will be easy. We just go out and perform.”LSU QB Jayden Daniels on offense bouncing back from last week
Defensively, it was a slow start for the Tigers. After giving up a big 66 yard return on special teams, UAB would tie the game at 7 with a touchdown run by DeWayne McBride and then would make a field goal to pull within four at 14-10, but that was as close as it would get for the Blazers. LSU would then either force a punt or a turnover on downs the next nine UAB drives and would outscore the opposition 27-0.
On senior night, Ali Gaye had a sack in front of his family that came to see him play for the first time ever in Tiger Stadium. Joe Foucha had four tackles. Jay Ward and Micah Baskerville had three tackles a piece. Mekhi Garner and Jarrick Bernard-Converse had two tackles. LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly loves how this senior class has set the tone for this team from becoming a last place team in the SEC West last season to first this season. He is also proud of how this team has mentally grown over the course of the season.
“I told our team in our meeting before we head to the stadium-called our Mental Edge-I told them I wanted to be able to come in front of media and talk about the growth of this football team. In particular, the mental toughness that they have acquired over the year.”
“Mental toughness to me in our team is accountability. It’s their ability to count on their teammates and themselves out there. This team did that against a team, if you listen to people talk, you’re supposed to beat them. It requires an accountability that you’re intentional in what you do, do your job when you’re supposed to do your job and you do it the right way, the way it’s been taught.”
“I am so proud of our mental toughness and their ability to do it the right way late in November against a team they’re supposed to beat. The wins have been nice. The individual achievements have been really neat-the SEC West Championship, but I’m most proud of the mental toughness this group has shown.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly on the team’s mental toughness
Leading the team in tackles tonight was Greg Penn and freshman phenom Harold Perkins. Penn had eight tackles and a TFL while Perkins had five tackles and two tackles for loss. The Tigers’ rushing defense shut down one of the nation’s leading rushers in UAB’s McBride. McBride came in averaging 156.3 yards per game, but only ran for 34 yards while only averaging 2.6 yards per carry against this brick wall LSU defensive front. The passing game was not much of a factor either with Dylan Hopkins completing less than 50% of his passes for 158 yards.
“I think that our preparation during the week was a big emphasis on stopping the run. (DeWayne McBride) is one of the best running backs in the country. Coach House put together a great game plan on stopping the run game and we went out there and executed it well.”LSU LB Greg Penn on shutting down UAB’s rushing attack
It was a great way to close out the home season and to cap off the last game in Tiger Stadium for the seniors. LSU now improves to 9-2 overall and will have one more regular season game against Texas A&M before making the trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game.
Offensive Cumulative Stats:
|NET TOTAL YARDS||259||565|
|NET RUSHING YARDS||48||266|
|Average Per Rush||2.2||6.5|
|NET PASSING YARDS||211||299|
|Avg Per Completion||12.4||13.0|
|Drops (%)||2 (06%)||1 (03%)|
|TOTAL 1ST DOWNS||12||31|
|Rushing 1st Downs||3||15|
|Passing 1st Downs||8||13|
|Penalty 1st Downs||1||3|
Offense Efficiency Comparison:
|RED ZONE ATTEMPTS||2-3||6-7|
|Red Zone Points||10||41|
|RZ TDs Rush-Pass||1-0||5-1|
|RZ FG Made-Att||1-1||0-0|
|Pts Off Turns||0||0|
Special Teams Comparison:
|Tackles for Loss||4||5|
UAB Field Goals:
|TOTAL||1-1||LONG OF 29|
UAB All Purpose Yards:
|93||M.Fairbanks II (DE)||3||1||0.5||0.5||0||0||0||0|
|4||S.Thomas V (CB)||2||1||0||0||0||2||0||0|
UAB Punt Returns:
UAB Kick Returns:
UAB Team Stats By Quarter:
UAB Scoring Summary:
|1||09:19||TD||RUSH||D.McBride 5 yd rush|
PAT kick by M.Quinn (GOOD)
|2||14:57||FG||M.Quinn 29 yd Field Goal||11/63/6:02||14-10|
LSU Field Goals:
|TOTAL||0-0||LONG OF 0|
LSU All Purpose Yards:
|30||G.Penn III (LB)||8||5||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|40||H.Perkins Jr. (LB)||5||3||0||2||0||1||0||0|
LSU Punt Returns:
LSU Kick Returns:
LSU Team Stats By Quarter:
LSU Scoring Summary:
|1||10:44||TD||RUSH||J.Emery Jr. 2 yd rush|
PAT kick by D.Ramos (GOOD)
|1||05:59||TD||RUSH||N.Cain 5 yd rush|
PAT kick by D.Ramos (GOOD)
|2||05:20||TD||RUSH||N.Cain 1 yd rush|
PAT kick by D.Ramos (GOOD)
|2||00:40||TD||RUSH||N.Cain 1 yd rush|
PAT kick by D.Ramos (GOOD)
|3||06:50||TD||RUSH||J.Daniels 2 yd rush|
PAT kick by D.Ramos (FAIL)
|4||09:46||TD||PASS||B.Thomas Jr. 5 yd reception thrown by J.Daniels|
PAT kick by T.Finison (GOOD)