Despite a tumultuous comeback to capitalize on several mistakes in Florida, it was LSU who made the final mistake Sunday night in a 24-23 victory by Seminoles at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. After trailing 24-10 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers scored the last 13 points of the game, but blocking an extra point with no time remaining cost them a potential comeback opportunity in overtime.
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels Jaray Jenkins hit a 2-yard touchdown with 1 second left to score what appeared to be a peg hit to end a 99-yard campaign initiated by the FSU stumbling goal line. But Damien Ramos’ extra point was saved by Sheheim Brown with no time remaining on the clock to give Knowles the win.
The only reason LSU has had to tie it up so late is because Brian Thomas Jr. He was initially disqualified from the boundary with a second left on the 1-yard line. Replay showed he was on the limit, but LSU cut the ball on the whistle to get the final play in regulation.
It was a wild end to a stellar drive that probably never should have happened. LSU had a chance to hook it up late due to a rare error from Noles rushing attack. Trishawn Ward fumbled the unwise pitch on the goal line to take it back to LSU with 1:20 to play. This was the only reason Daniels had the opportunity to lead his side onto the field for what looked like a touchdown that would have sent the game into overtime.
It was a nice turn of events because Florida State seemed to have won the game when LSU’s Napers owner blocked a kick at the 8-yard line with 2:05 left. Ward had two carriers 8 yards to reach the doorstep and force LSU to burn their first exit timeout. Confusion occurred in the first play that came out of time.
The dramatic fourth quarter was the story of the night, but Florida State QB Jordan Travis was the star of the evening. Sophomore Ontaria Wilson hit a double-reverse flea flash for a 39-yard score early in the second quarter to put Noles ahead 7-3, a lead they will never give up. Travis hooked up with Wilson again in the third quarter on a nice over-the-shoulder coin near the right pylon to make it a 17-3 ball game and put more pressure on the Tigers who simply couldn’t go offensively. Travis finished the evening 20 of 32 for 260 yards with two touchdowns, eight carts and a 31 yard lunge.
Daniels got his start under coach Brian Kelly, who was making his purple and gold debut after a successful 12-year spell at Notre Dame. He went 26 of 35 for 209 yards and two touchdowns, adding 114 yards to the ground. Part of the reason Daniels was the only effective part of the offense was the offensive line that simply couldn’t block Florida’s defensive front. LSU gave up six loss treatments, which included four bags.
What are the main points of the New Orleans thriller?
Travis is the real deal
Signal caller ‘Noles’ looked like a different player on Saturday in a hostile environment and one of the biggest stages of his career. The pass over the shoulder of Ontaria Wilson for FSU’s third-quarter touchdown could not have been put in a better place, and the fourth-quarter drive that made him into the 24-10 game included a massive 15-yard reception on the run. Center-to-large Johnny Wilson’s goal is 6 feet 7 feet tall.
This is a great sign to move forward. Loaded with quarterback, Travis was not included in the group that included Devin Leary, Tyler Van Dyke, Kedon Slovis and others. Go ahead and add Travis to that group because he looked like a bona fide superstar against the Tigers’ fast and physical defense.
Special teams told the story
The extra point missing with no time on the clock is the one everyone remembers, but it was a banned field goal attempt earlier in the game that made Brown make the decisive play in the game.
Ramos’ first attempt at a field goal of the night was a 30-yard save saved by Jared Ferris, who came across the left side of the Tiger’s attacking line. Kelly told reporters after the match that the pressure was enough for the Tigers to switch some players. That obviously didn’t work and it opened the door for Brown to make history.
Kelly said after the match that Napers, who stopped two strikes in the night, was very tough in training and was shocked when fumbling occurred during the match. He will obviously reassess his penalty shootout lineup after the match as well, because these mistakes simply can’t happen.
The third drop was huge
The third-tier turn-down ratio is one of the most important stats in college football, and Florida was the money when it mattered most against LSU. Seminole converted 11 of 17 attempts, including 5 of 8 in the second half. Travis was a big reason for that. He was 8 of 12 for 92 yards and a touchdown on the third touchdown, and all of his eight completions moved the chains. This helped ‘Noles win possession battle time and thwart the Tigers’ defense that had no answer for the majority of the game. It worked both ways as well. LSU’s offense finally happened in the fourth quarter but turned 3 of 7 during the first three quarters. LSU has a lot of issues to tackle, and theirs should be third down on either side of the ball at the top of the list.
LSU’s offensive line needs to work
It’s a huge concern heading into the season, and it’s still an issue. Daniels never looked comfortable and was relegated to the “one read and bail” quarterback for the majority of the evening. This led to massive frustration, most notably with Kayshon Boutte’s broadband star receiver; The two were caught on broadcast having some visibly intense conversations.
This is not something that can be easily remedied either. The most important part of any offensive line’s progression is continuity, and the fact that there are four new starters up front is clearly visible. Fortunately for LSU, Daniels is mobile enough to escape and play some plays with those legs when necessary. This is not something that is sustainable for an entire season. Especially on the SEC West loaded with seven-bolts in the front.
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