LSU had the chance to make a massive statement and get the season back on track for success after two early losses, but a 42-28 defeat on the road against Alabama on Saturday night ended those hopes, as well as the Tigers’ hopes of returning to Atlanta.
Coach Brian Kelly’s team stayed in the game for a while, taking a 21-21 tie to the locker room and jumping out to a quick lead to start the third. But LSU managed just seven second-half points, and that wasn’t enough on the road against a top-10 team.
Here’s everything Kelly said at the podium after the crushing loss.
On Jayden Daniels' injury
Yeah, he had a head injury was not able to come back, we’ll obviously have to put him through more testing before I can accurately say whether that was concussion, non-concussion and things of that nature..
On challenge of defending Jalen Milroe
Well, I think it’s the challenge that we knew, you know, his ability to run. You know, we talked all week about a unit pass rush. You know, he’s elusive. You know, I think, you know, for the most part, I think the big runs were probably the things that hurt us the most tonight.
On Milroe escaping pocket on third downs
I don’t think they were draws as much as they were much more scrambling situations. And again, I think we’ve seen it on both sides of the ball. You’ve watched Jayden in terms of scrambling. You know, you’re you’re in a very difficult situation there. If you’re dropping eight, you know, you’re rushing three, there’s, there’s big, you know, big holes, if you’re spying, you’re short in coverage. We’re fighting our tails off to, you know, you know, get stops out there. So it’s, it’s just a difficult situation when you have a quarterback that’s gifted like that.
On if there was targeting on play that hurt Daniels
We asked them, they said that the replay booth was reviewing it for targeting. Obviously, I don’t have the ability to see that. But anytime that there is contact to the head, or neck area, you’re thinking that there must be some form of targeting. They reviewed it, didn’t feel there was so we moved on.
On how Milroe was able to be so successful
I got to watch the film to know, you know, there were two times where we didn’t get a particular call, where we should have been in a particular call, where we would have had an end looping right into it. So there were some missed calls out there that, you know, require a discipline of the group. So, again, for me to answer like right after the game and give you a specific, we knew his strengths. We had a game plan that we felt that would address it. But we are limited in some of the things that we can do and didn’t want to get into a lot of man situations.
On how Daniels was able to briefly return
He was evaluated, was cleared, and then came back and they looked at him again and felt like he wasn’t prepared to go back into the game and held him out of the game. Those are decisions that are made by our medical team.
On pressure on the offense
The turnover hurt. Look, I mean, we were playing a top-10 team on the road. You can’t play good. We played good tonight. Good is not good enough. You have to play elite when you go on the road and play a top 10 team because it’s not good enough. And we didn’t play at a high enough level. Yeah, if we don’t throw the interception, we go down and score. I mean, it’s then they’re going wow, that Alabama defense gave up a lot of points. Look, it was a game that we needed to play better. We needed to coach better. And we knew we were going on the road and playing a top 10 team and their place and you got to play better and you got to coach better when you get those opportunities and we just didn’t reach that elite level tonight.
On the tackling
I thought at halftime, I put three things up on the board. I thought if our eye discipline was better, I thought if our leverage on the football was better, and we tackled better, in the second half, we can win the game. And we obviously were tied at the half. And none of those three things showed up to be better than good. They needed to be elite, and they weren’t.
On pre-snap issues
Look, we’ve got an experienced center who, you know, is really good. And, you know, they got a big nose tackle on them, it was really loud. It’s no excuse, but it goes into what I’m saying. You can’t have those mistakes, and expect to go to Tuscaloosa, and beat Alabama with those kinds of mistakes. So we’ve got to get better at it. We’ve got to prepare better, we got to coach our players better and those situations when we go on the road in these kinds of environments. So when we get another chance to go on the road and play a top 10 team, we play at a higher level, we can’t just play good. Good’s gonna get to beat against teams like this.
On linebacker play
You guys are killing me. I mean, the specifics that you ask I respect, I really do. But it’s so hard for me. I mean, I’m trying to coach guys on the field, like, there were some fits there that needed to be better. Here’s what I’m gonna tell you. Those guys in there, played their tails off for LSU. They played hard. They played to win. But they didn’t play mistake-free. There were too many missed tackles. We had too many drops, we had a turnover. And that’s just not good enough at the end of the day when you play a top-10 team on the road.
On Jayden Daniels' performance
I mean, I think he’s indicative of what I’m talking about. I mean, you know, he was good tonight. He wasn’t, you know, he wasn’t great. He would like to be considered great every week. He was good. He was good. He was really good. And he’s tough, the runs that he had tonight were you know, outstanding runs that kept drives alive. I mean, if he’s not out there, we were not even in the game. I mean, he made a difference. But I’m sure there’s gonna be some things that he would like to do better as well.
On the interception
No, we were running a quick slant. So you know, your arm angle changes a little bit. You know, a lot of those throws are well-timed throws that get blocked. And you know, again, he just timed it up, got his hands up and got the deflection.