Blocked: Tigers go 99 yards, Seminoles come up big

Published 8:00 am Monday, September 5, 2022

By Scooter Hobbs

American Press

NEW ORLEANS — Well, that was a short coaching honeymoon.

Few were expecting an instant turn-around and some were even cautioning for patience with LSU’s latest coaching hire.

But it’s hard to imagine a bigger dud than the egg the Tigers deposited in the Ceasar’s Superdome in opening the Brian Kelly era with an ugly 24-23 loss to Florida State.

How the Tigers still had an honest, legitimate chance for a miracle at the end will be debated by gridologists for eternity.

Yet the game was right there for the Tigers’ stealing, deserving or not.

Snap the ball, kick the ball. It’s a simple game.

But after new LSU quarterback Kayden Daniels drove the Tigers 99 yards in the game’s final 1:20, and hit Jaray Jenkins from 2 yards out on a final, untimed down, the Seminoles blocked Damon Ramos’ extra point to escape with the victory.

LSU couldn’t block on offense and often had trouble tackling on defense, but was ultimately done in by special teams.

It was the Seminoles’ second blocked kick of the night as Ramos also had a chip shot field goal stuffed in the first half.

The last one fluttered toward the goal but never really threatened to send the game into overtime.

The Seminoles could have put the game away — mercifully, it appeared — after LSU’s Malik Nabers fumbled his second punt of the game at the Tigers’ 8-yard line with 1:20 left in the game.

But LSU’s Mekhi Wingo recovered an FSU fumble at the Tigers’ 1-yard line for a faint ray of hope.

LSU’s offense, which hadn’t done much all night, promptly drove the 99 yards in 11 plays and needed the mother of all instant replay reviews to give the Tigers their shot at the final touchdown.

But once it was determined that the clock should have stopped for a first down after Daniels’ 17-yard pass to Mason Taylor down to the 2-yard line, Jenkins got free in the back of the end zone for the score.

Then came the downer of what is normally a football formality.

But nothing came easy for the Tigers on this night.

The tone was set when Daniels scrambled for 25 yards on the game’s first play — but not in a good way for the Tigers.

The Tigers had little other offense other then Daniels’ scrambling and throwing for the most of the game.

He threw for 209 yards and had 114 of LSU’s 139 yards rushing, little of it coming the way it was drawn up as Daniels was mostly running for his life behind a rebuilt offensive line.

Preseason All-American wide receiver Kayshon Boutte had an inauspicious start, not catching a pass until the waning moments of the third quarter.

The Tigers’ defense had trouble getting off the field as FSU was 11 of 17 on third down conversions.

But LSU did get the late fumble that almost sparked the comeback and held on a fourth-and-goal FSU gamble to save points in the first half.

But the Tigers, after a opening field goal on the first drive, didn’t score again until the final seconds of the third quarter to pull within 17-10 and the Seminoles promptly drove 79 yards with an answer.

LSU became the first SEC team to lose a game this season.