After a disappointing loss against Tennessee at home, LSU traveled on the road to face off against a motivated Florida Gators team. The Tigers were able to go into a hostile environment and put on its most consistent performance in SEC play from start to finish getting the 45-35 win over the Gators. As LSU is starting its incredible gauntlet, which began against Auburn, it was important for the Tigers to try and get a victory in order to keep pace with the other teams in the SEC West. Not only did LSU get a hard earned win against one of its biggest rivals, but they did so with impressive performances. Here are some of the top takeaways from the LSU Tigers’ win in the Swamp.
1. Jayden Daniels Puts On Masterful Performance:
Throughout the season, Jayden Daniels has shown to be an efficient passer and a dynamic runner, but there were a lot of questions on his ability and confidence to stretch the football downfield vertically. Well, he answered those questions on Saturday night in the Swamp. Jayden Daniels put on a brilliant performance completing 23 of 32 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns while also continuing to use his legs and getting three more touchdowns on the ground. Daniels joins Joe Burrow as the only two LSU signal callers to account for six touchdowns in a single game. It was a different quarterback Saturday night than what we have seen all season long and hopefully for Tiger fans is the lightbulb that comes on for him and this offense to continue that explosiveness the rest of the season.
2. LSU’s Offense Started And Continued To Play Fast Throughout The Entire Game.
It was not just Jayden Daniels, but it was the entire offense that contributed to its best performance of the season. Starting games fast early has been a problem for the Tigers offense, but this certainly was not the case this past Saturday night as the LSU offense scored touchdowns on its first six possessions of the football game. It was not until the fourth quarter when Jay Bramblett had to punt for the first time in the game. The offensive line, which has had a different starting lineup combination in every game this season, also had its best performance of the season not only allowing Daniels time to throw the football and get in rhythm, but also created some push in the running game. Former walk-on Josh Williams had a career night with his first ever 100 yard rushing performance highlighted by a powerful 50 yard run in which he broke multiple tackles. Williams’ ability to pick up the tough yardage and move the chains on third downs as well as his ability in pass protection impressed Kelly enough to give him the game ball. The wide receivers also stepped up, which brings me to my next point.
3. The Wide Receiving Core Finally Shows Off Its Explosiveness:
All offseason long, the LSU wide receivers were talked about being the most talented position group on the football team. After showing some flashes, the wide receivers have not shown the consistent explosive plays that were expected before the start of the season. This would turn out to be the game in which everything finally came together for this group. After having a slow start to the season, Kayshon Boutte showed why he was highly regarded as a preseason All-American selection having his first 100 yard performance of the season leading all receivers with 6 catches for 115 yards. Malik Nabers had four catches for 48 yards. Jaray Jenkins and Brian Thomas Jr. both had explosive plays in the passing game with a 54 yard touchdown and a 24 yard touchdown respectively. It was not just the wide receivers, but the tight ends and the running backs also showcased their skills in the passing game with John Emery Jr. having a touchdown reception and both Mason and Kole Taylor having receptions in the game too. There have been games in which Jayden Daniels distributed the football to multiple receivers, but this would be the first time that the explosiveness was showcased in a game this season.
4. Special Teams Errors Still Show Up.
The special teams errors still continue to show up in LSU’s win on Saturday. The kickoff return coverage team gave up a 47 yard return to Trevor Etienne to start the football game. In the second quarter with the score tied at 14, Jack Bech muffed a punt and gave the Gators great field position inside the Tigers’ 13 yard line. The Gators took advantage of the special teams miscue and got a 21-14 lead. Fortunately for LSU, the special teams mistake did not come back to bite them, but this is still a very concerning area moving forward. If the Tigers want to contend for a SEC West title, the team needs to clean up on these mistakes that could prove to be very costly as it was in the Florida State loss in the season opener. There is some silver lining to this unit as its biggest bright spot was kicker Damian Ramos, who put the game on ice for the Tigers with a 47 yard field goal to put the Tigers up by 10 points with 1:52 left to go in the fourth quarter.
5. LSU’s defense had trouble tackling and gave up explosive plays.
Despite the win, it was not LSU’s best game defensively. Although the offense was off to a good start, the defense had trouble slowing down Florida’s offense giving up three early touchdowns including the first two scores off of big plays with a 51 yard touchdown by Anthony Richardson to Justin Shorter and a 39 yard touchdown run from Montrell Johnson Jr. The third touchdown was not the defense’s fault as the muffed punt allowed Florida to score from the Tigers’ 13 yard line. The defense settled in the third quarter, but had trouble tackling Richardson on a highlight reel 81 yard touchdown run. The unit had trouble tackling throughout the game. Just like LSU’s rough passing outing against Auburn earlier this season, the Tigers’ defense just had one subpar performance that was an aberration of what we have seen from Matt House’s group. In the end, LSU’s defense was able to force a turnover on downs to help secure the victory.