By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Joining Joe Burrow as only the second Tiger to ever score 6 touchdowns during a single game, LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels orchestrated LSU's massive 45-35 road win. The Arizona State transfer went off in a 393 yard, 6 touchdown outburst vs Florida, torching the Gators through the air & on the ground, scoring a trio of excellent touchdowns in each department.
The So Cal-born junior dominated Florida with his legs, breaking tackles, juking defenders out of their socks, stiff-arming Gators senseless, blurring around the edge just ahead of tacklers....Florida couldn't touch Jayden Daniels as he evaded one pressure or tackling attempt after another, scoring 3 rushing touchdowns in profound style.
After weeks of mountainous criticism aimed at his insistence on running the ball, Jayden Daniels' playmaking with his feet was simply astounding, defiant and beautiful in its graceful abandon....a renegade showcase reminding each of us about the true depth of his talent when firing on all cylinders.
Daniels was special on Saturday night, silencing his critics who claimed he couldn't pass the ball by tossing for 349 yards, 3 passing scores, completing 23 out of 32 total attempts, lighting up Florida for 15 first down completions, ultimately averaging 10.9 yards per attempt with by far his highest ADOT score from any game this year (ADOT = average depth of target).
Jayden played every snap with the utmost confidence, even as LSU matched early touchdowns by Florida, scoring 6 touchdowns on their first 6 possessions, each drive consisting of 70+ yards as the Tigers gashed, slashed and ran Napier's Gators ragged into the dirt of their own field.
LSU were explosive, rhythmic and nearly unstoppable offensively at the Swamp, Daniels trusting receivers Kayshon Boutte, Malik Nabers, Brian Thomas Jr and Jaray Jenkins with accurate targets in coverage.
It was a primal outing from Daniels, his best in an LSU uniform, a direct, defiant response amid waves of criticism throughout 2022's first 6 games.
And much of it was deserved:
Over his first 6 games as a Tiger, Jayden tossed just 80 passing yards vs Auburn, failed to release the ball with open receivers during every contest, missed large gains downfield repeatedly and seemed to bail far too quickly on plays, tucking before escaping clean pockets.
Simultaneously, Daniels led three double digit comebacks, two ending in victories, set SEC marks in total yards and was able to grind out 4 wins for Kelly's Tigers.
Against Florida, we witnessed Daniels combining every positive element of his prior performances and putting the package together in full: the speed, grit, poise was all there, but now joined by the passing acumen we've been waiting for.
Due to his next level athleticism, Daniels erupted on the ground or through the air, finally freeing his elite receiving corps, backed by Josh Williams' strong running & behind a solid offensive line showing....the Florida game became a culmination of 6 weeks full of pain, flashes of brilliance, moments of anonymity, stretches of progress, intensive analysis & pointed criticism from the fanbase or media.
Now, the question I have:
Is this stunning performance from Daniels & Denbrock's offense a one-off?
Or did the real Jayden Daniels and the real LSU just stand up?
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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