The Tigers cruised against a shorthanded Purdue team in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Monday afternoon, taking down the Boilermakers 63-7 in a game that was never in doubt from the opening kick.
With the victory, coach Brian Kelly earned his 10th win in his debut season as LSU snapped a two-game losing streak and ended the year on a high note.
It was a dominant offensive game from the Tigers, who led 35-0 at halftime and finished with 594 total yards. Jayden Daniels got the start at quarterback, and he certainly didn’t look hobbled despite nursing an ankle injury suffered in the SEC Championship.
Daniels was pulled early in the second half, but he was efficient as ever, completing 12 of 17 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown while adding 67 yards on the ground. We also saw a healthy dose of Garrett Nussmeier, who played intermittently in the first half and was handed the reigns in the third quarter before true freshman Walker Howard took over in the fourth.
Nussmeier looked the part again, completing 11 of 15 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns, though he threw an interception in the end zone. Malik Nabers also completed two passes for 50 yards on a pair of trick plays, one of which went to Daniels for a touchdown on a Philly Special.
In addition to his contributions in the passing game, Nabers led the Tigers in receiving with 163 yards on nine catches, including a 75-yard touchdown on a jet sweep. Mason Taylor had five catches for 88 yards and a touchdown, and Brian Thomas Jr. also found the end zone.
While the Tigers were great through the air, they also totaled more than 200 yards on the ground. Noah Cain got the start and took eight carries for 58 yards and two touchdowns, while John Emery Jr. had 52 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Purdue struggled to do much of anything offensively in this one without quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who opted out. It played four signal callers, who went a combined 19 of 42 for 163 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions.
Sai'vion Jones and Zavier Carter took advantage of their opportunities at the edge with each totaling a sack, while Harold Perkins and Mekhi Wingo also brought the quarterback down once. Greg Brooks Jr., Jarrick Bernard-Converse and Quad Wilson all had interceptions, with Wilson taking one 99 yards to the house in the final minute.
LSU’s Year 1 under Kelly was filled with some very high highs and fairly low lows. But the Tigers took care of business on Monday as they put a bow on the 2022 season and will enter 2023 with a ton of momentum.
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