The Fighting Tigers of LSU returned home to Tiger Stadium after dropping a big game to Alabama a week ago. However, there was no rest for the Bayou Bengals as Billy Napier and the Florida Gators came to town. Jayden Daniels put on a clinic for LSU while Louisiana native Trevor Etienne found the endzone three times for the Gators. However, the Tigers were too much tonight for Florida as LSU took the win 52-35.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Florida won the coin toss and elected to defer, so LSU started the game with the football. The Tigers went down the field in three minutes, going 75 yards on seven plays including two hookups from Jayden Daniels to Malik Nabers for 56 yards. However, the drive concluded with a one-yard touchdown from Josh Williams to put LSU ahead early.
Florida would answer on their first possession with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that also took just three minutes. The Gators took advantage of LSU playing a zone defense and Graham Mertz was able to find multiple receivers on short slant routes for sizable gains, including three each to Ricky Pearsall and Tre Wilson. The touchdown came on a jet touch pass from Mertz to Wilson for a nine-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
LSU then went down the field once again, getting to the one-yard line before getting stuffed at the goal line on three straight plays to turn it over on downs. After Florida took over at their own one, they ran six plays before fumbling on a strip sack by Brayden Swinson to give LSU great field position. However, Florida’s defense stood up in the end and forced another turnover on downs.
LSU had their second scoring drive of the game when the Tigers went 79 yards in seven plays to set up a 28-yard field goal by Damian Ramos to make it a 10-7 score. After a quick defensive stop, LSU got the ball back on their own 15, but it wasn’t too far for Jayden Daniels as he caught the edge and took off down the sideline for an 85-yard touchdown run to rip the proverbial roof off Tiger Stadium and give the Tigers a 17-7 advantage.
Florida didn’t take long to respond though, going 75 yards on eight plays resulting in a seven-yard touchdown run from Jennings native Trevor Etienne that made it 17-14 at the end of the first half.
The Gators got the football to start the second half but were denied by the LSU defense as they punted after a three-and-out. Then, LSU moved down the field again thanks to some long runs from Daniels and a 45-yard pass from Daniels to Josh Williams before Kaleb Jackson, the true freshman from Baton Rouge, ran it in from five yards out to make it 24-14 early in the second half.
Florida answered immediately with a nice drive of their own, taking just four plays to go 75 yards and the Gators scored on a 21-yard rush from Etienne for his second touchdown of the night.
On the kickoff, Jackson muffed the return for LSU and it was recovered by Florida at the 23-yard line. Five plays later, Mertz punched it in from one yard out to give the Gators their first lead of the night.
Jayden Daniels continued to way finds to make plays for this LSU offense, taking off on a 51-yard touchdown run that put him at 220 yards rushing, just 67 yards away from the single-game mark. LSU led 31-28 at this point with 6:09 left in the third.
After a big defensive stop that included a third down overturned catch, LSU got the ball back and was quick to get down the field again. Daniels found Brian Thomas for a 52-yard catch before dumping it off to Noah Cain for a six-yard touchdown to make it 38-28.
Florida responded with a long drive, going 75 yards on 13 plays before Etienne found the endzone for the third time in the game to make it 38-35 early in the fourth.
LSU wasted very little time getting back to the endzone, going 75 yards on just two plays when Daniels found Brian Thomas Jr for the 37-yard touchdown to make it a 45-35 lead for the Tigers. With that touchdown, Daniels became the first player in FBS history to have 350+ passing yards and 200+ rushing yards in a single game.
LSU added another touchdown late in the game when Brian Thomas Jr got his second touchdown of the game to make it 52-35 and put the game out of reach.
BIG NUMBER: 606
Jayden Daniels accounted for 606 total yards of offense tonight as the Tigers got the best of Florida. The senior had 372 in the air and 234 on the ground with 5 touchdowns.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jayden Daniels
Daniels was incredible in Death Valley, going 17-26 in the air for 372 yards and three touchdowns while adding 234 yards rushing with two touchdowns.
UP NEXT: LSU will host Georgia State next Saturday night inside Tiger Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and pregame begins at 5:00 p.m. on ESPN 103.7 Lafayette and 104.1 Lake Charles.