LSU responded well to a frustrating loss on the road against Alabama, returning home to beat rival Florida 52-35 on Saturday night behind a truly unbelievable performance from Jayden Daniels and the offense.
The Tigers put up more than 700 yards with Daniels accounting for over 600 of them. He totaled five touchdowns and became the first player in FBS history to throw for 350 yards and rush for 200 in the same game.
It was exactly the kind of bounce-back the Tigers were looking for, and it may have propelled Daniels to the top of the Heisman leaderboard. Here’s everything Brian Kelly had to say after the win.
I mean, where do I begin? I mean, I’d like to start with Noah Cain. You know, Noah Cain, Josh Williams coming in. And here’s two guys that haven’t played all year. And when we need a couple of guys that are seniors, look, you guys want me to talk about Jayden Daniels, I get it, okay, but you’re gonna listen to me, okay? Because I got the podium, and you’re gonna have to listen to me. And that’s just the way it goes. And I mean that with a great deal of respect. But when you’re building a program, and you want your players to model themselves after the right people in terms of the world that we live in today, with NIL and the transfer portal, here’s two guys that haven’t played much at all. And all they’ve done is been great teammates, and done the little things the right way. And have practice hard, and have waited for their opportunity, and when their opportunity came, they delivered for us today. And for me, that gives me so much energy in this profession, that when we’re talking about transfers, and you know, NIL, and how that drives you out of the profession to have two guys like that in the locker room, just gives you so much energy, because they are out there. And that’s why I wanted to take a moment to let you know, those are the kinds of kids that we want to model. Now I know you want to talk about Jayden Daniels, he’s pretty good. Matter of fact, he set an FBS record tonight, as you know, where he threw for 350 yards, and rushed for 200. So just an amazing, amazing accomplishment. As you know, he was in a concussion protocol. But here again, you know, talk about doing it the right way, Tuesday, he did not practice but he was out on the field. He took mental reps, right behind the offensive unit, was attentive. You know had a play script and his hand, did it the right way, prepared the right way. On Tuesday, Wednesday, he was in a noncontact situation where he got all the work necessary. So he was prepared. And because of that was able to compete at the highest level. And today, when you have a player like that, and a guy like Noah Cain and Josh Williams, you want to put those guys out in front so others can see. That’s the way you do it. And so thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about those guys. Because we’re blessed that, you know, I know everybody wants to talk about going 10-0, and winning the national championship. And I know that’s important. But in this time, we’re we’re building a program, those three guys are as important as anything that’s happened this year for me. So great game. I thought Florida played great football tonight. They did some really good things defensively, caused some difficulty for us. But when, you know, we were able to make some adjustments at half and locked down some protections that they were overloading some of our protections. We got the one-on-one matchups that eventually, you know, broke it open for us. I thought their quarterback was really good. Our quarterback was just better.
On message to defense ahead of last two drives
Obviously, we told them on the sideline, we just need a few stops and we got the big stop obviously that allowed us the last touchdown. And as you know we were able to chop a lot of time off the clock. And again, I think that drive was probably the most significant, the last one, you know we were in software coverage. We were willing to give up some yardage but I think I don’t know that we have made many stops inside the 10-yard line or inside the five this year. So just to prevail and have enough of the tenacity necessary is going to help us moving forward, especially with so many young guys on the field.
On how the offense allows Jayden Daniels to produce
Well, it’s, you know, I think we had six third downs today, you know, so we didn’t have a lot of third downs. And when we got into third-down situations, they were either all or nothing in terms of what they did. So they either brought, you know, six, seven up, and then they dropped everybody. And when they did, Jayden would scan and there was nothing there, he would just take off, and then when they brought pressure, he would stay in there and then find the one-on-one matchups. So when you have a quarterback that is that patient, and willing to stay in there. Obviously, it’s helped when you have balance, you know, with the receivers that we have, and then to have running backs that are willing to give themself up in terms of protection too so clearly, you know, Mason Taylor hasn’t been talked about a lot. But you know, he was outstanding in protection. We had to leave him in a lot tonight. He had some nice catches, but he was also part of that as well.
On targeting call against Andre Sam
I figured that was going to come up, I needed to take a little bit more time to make sure that I was articulating this the right way, I just think that we’re in a bad position in college football as it relates to targeting. And I brought this up when, you know, when we had the transmitter in the helmet, I had been pounding that table for the transmitter in the helmet for about three years, and it’s fallen on deaf ears until all of a sudden, there seems to be this sign-stealing epidemic. And now everybody wants to put the radio piece in the helmets. Well, we’re gonna get to that with targeting as well, when you have a situation like we did, where Jayden Daniels gets hit underneath the chin, driven to the ground and is concussed and it doesn’t get reviewed. And then we have a play like tonight, which was a normal football play where a running back is lowering his shoulder, and we are trying to make a tackle. We’re not targeting we’re not trying to lead with the helmet. We’re just trying to make a tackle. We throw a kid out of the game. That is tragic. We’re in a bad place right now. And we need to stop and figure this out. Because there’s a lot of words I could use. But it’s tragic that we threw a kid out of the game, because he was trying to play football and you whatever, semantics, there’s going to be a great explanation about this. Oh, he used the crown of his helmet. Or he did this, he did that, he was playing football. Last week, that guy that hit Jayden Daniels was trying to knock him out. You can say whatever you want. But that’s what he’s trying to do. Our guy was trying to make a tackle. So everybody’s smart enough to figure that out. But we have two different outcomes. We got to figure it out.
On Ryan Yaites and Jordan Allen in replacement
They, you know, they did a pretty good job. I mean, look, I mean, we should have cut one post off, you know, but I thought, you know, Jordan got a little bit more work. I don’t know that he got a lot. I think the one thing that disappointed me a little bit with the young guys, they got a tackle. And I’m not gonna let up on that with them. I mean, when you go out there, I don’t care if you’re on 4-2, 4-3, I don’t care if you got six stars or 18 stars, you better darn tackle. And we got to tackle one way out there. And it’s not even an art, it’s a want-to, and we got to tackle better.
On Jayden Daniels' running ability
Never. I mean, his ability look, usually those guys tire out, you know, I mean, Smokey the Bear jumps on his back at about 30 yards, and that lactic acid kicks in and then they’re gone. He kept going. He’s a phenomenal athlete. He’s the best quarterback in the country. He’s the best playmaker in the country, he’s the best player. Now, I’ve seen, I’ve watched them all. You know, he is the best player, you can say whatever you want, while we’re 7-3. And, you know, whoever else is undefeated, that doesn’t mean anything. What matters is who’s the best player, he’s the best player. Here’s what I’ll say. His numbers obviously prove to everybody what he’s done over the entire year. And then a night, like tonight, I think kind of solidified that.
On John Emery Jr.'s status
It was a knee injury, will we’ll probably have to do some further testing. But it seems to be fairly significant.
On deep shots opening up
We had to make some adjustments and protections, they were sending one extra player. And so it you know, as you know, we rolled out of our no back to get away from the backside and who we couldn’t block. So they then started to send an extra overload up inside, which required us to change our protections because they covered everybody, and then send somebody through the A gap. So you know, anytime you do that you have to kind of tweak your protections a little bit. We did that at halftime, we’re able to pick that up.
On Daniels' Heisman candidacy
If he didn’t win it tonight, he’s got to be the leading candidate because what he did tonight, unless the Heisman is just about popularity, if you want to be the most popular, then fine, but he’s the best player in college football. He did something tonight that no one’s ever done. So if that doesn’t make you the leading candidate, then maybe the Heisman is not really for the best player. Maybe it’s for the most popular player.
On the receivers blocking
Yeah, they were you know, and we got called for holding downfield, which, you know, I’ll take because our guys are working hard. Look, when you have a quarterback that plays at that level, that gets their attention. And I think that, you know, they know that he can turn long runs into touchdowns and so you know, I commend them on their work ethic and getting you know, guys covered up downfield and being physical with them. Thank you. Thanks for listening.