Brian Kelly says LSU’s collapse against FSU in the opener is an “abject failure.”

Andrea AdelsonSenior writer at ESPNSeptember 4, 2023 at 02:12 AM ET3 minutes to read

Brian Kelly reacts to LSU’s ‘total failure’ after loss to FSU

LSU coach Brian Kelly says he takes “full responsibility” after the upset loss to Florida State.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA– LSU coach Brian Kelly said his team’s 45-24 loss to Florida State on Sunday night was a “total failure” after a second-half collapse allowed the Seminoles to escape the game.

The No. 5 Tigers led 17-14 at halftime but allowed No. 8 FSU to score 31 unanswered points in the second half. They had no answers for ‘Noles quarterback Jordan Travis (342 yards passing, five total touchdowns) or wide receiver Keion Coleman (122 yards, three scores).

The loss marked LSU’s heaviest defeat as a ranked team in a season opener in the AP Poll era (since 1936).

“This is an abject failure from a coaching standpoint and from a player standpoint, and obviously we have to address it and we have to own it,” Kelly said. “I know adversity is always going to strike at some point in this game, and this is the first real adversity we have to address. I’m confident our guys and coaches will come together the way they need to.”

LSU had plenty of chances in the first half to build a bigger lead but wasted them. On the opening drive of the game, the Tigers ran four attempts from the one-yard line but failed to score on fourth down after quarterback Jayden Daniels was sacked. LSU had another chance in the second quarter on fourth-and-goal from the 1, but Daniels was stopped again.

Both were “standard fourth-rate calls and decisions,” Kelly said. Despite not being able to score from the 1, LSU gained yards in the first half and led 17-14 at halftime. But after the break, Florida State imposed its will and began to outmaneuver LSU up front.

“The onus is on me, and I have to make our football team understand and realize that you have to play this game for four quarters with a mindset,” Kelly said. “We didn’t, for some reason. We thought we were someone else. We thought we were the two-time national champion Georgia Bulldogs or something. I don’t know what we thought, but we were wrong.”

Last Thursday, Kelly made headlines when he said on his opening radio show of the season: “We’re getting out of Florida.” It is unknown whether or not these comments resonated in the Florida State locker room. Coleman and Travis both said they were unaware of them when asked in the post-game news conference.

What is clear is that Kelly needs to find a way to get his team to play a complete game.

“How do we deal with this? Is this what we want to be or do we look at this and say this is not the type of football team we want to be,” Kelly said. “When you have those kind of losses, they’re disappointing, and in some cases, they’re devastating losses, but that’s how you respond to them. They have a chance to respond to that very disappointing performance in the second half.

“So the choices they’re going to have to make are the ones that start tomorrow.”

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