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Updated: Sep 5, 2023


LSU rode into Orlando with National Championship expectations as the favorites of many around college football, only to leave in utter dismay, shock and humiliation for the fourth straight opener, falling 45-24 due to a titanic second half collapse.

Wasting 5 first half red zone chances, dropping a pair of 40+ yard passing plays at critical game-turning moments, Brian Kelly's Tigers went into the 2nd half carrying a tenuous 17-14 lead....only to watch Florida State pile up 31 unanswered points as mere spectators.

Wearing down LSU's front on both sides of the ball, Jared Verse and co were able to harass Jayden Daniels throughout most of the night; while John Jancek's defensive line made plays in an effective 1st half, they couldn't mask their lack of depth or the deficiencies of their secondary and were worn down over the course of the final 2 quarters.

Despite Jayden Daniels tossing for 347 yards and 1 TD, he encountered 6 PBUs and threw a game changing interception on the first play of the 4th quarter, one play after a Brian Thomas Jr drop on an accurate long bomb....a play that could've set LSU up inside the red zone.......instead, QB Jordan Travis had the ball and drove Florida State down the field to go up 14....a lead they'd only continue to build upon.

Jordan Travis was electric against LSU for a second straight year, leading his offense to nearly 500 yards, lighting up our beleaguered secondary for 342 yards, hitting 23 of his 31 attempts for a ridiculous 71% completion rating and 4 TDs, 3 to Keon Coleman who had himself a major day.

The Louisiana native destroyed DBU for 9 catches, 122 yards and 3 touchdowns, burning transfer arrivals Duce Chestnutt, Zy Alexander and safety Major Burns. All three DBs allowed 4 or 5 catches each, nearly allowing an automatic catch rate.

He wasn't the only one either, as FSU even had another receiver go over 100 yards on LSU, Johnny Wilson surviving a few dropped passes to tag 107 and a score on the Tigers' secondary.

Alexander was picked on primarily, although following his strong first half (INT and TFL), corner Duce Chestnutt began to be roasted to a crisp for one big play after another. The entire secondary set up must be switched up....maybe the second half needed to see talented youngsters Javien Toviano and Ashton Stamps....

We'll see what changes Steeples and Cooks make at the back end, since they were really astute in that department throughout last season. Let's see if they can repeat their adjustment success utilizing DBU's wealth of talented young options....or perhaps, certain players were in the wrong positions.

LSU's defense barraged Travis with plenty of early pressure and 4 QB hits (strong showings from Mekhi Wingo, Bradyn Swinson, and Greg Brooks Jr) however no Tiger was able to sack the Seminoles' quarterback, allowed FSU to go 9/14 on 3rd down (killing us on 3rd down for the second straight game, 20 3rd down conversions in two meetings); our front seven were completely worn into the ground along the trenches, were absolutely shredded through the air, broke up just 2 total passes (both by Brooks Jr), and completely folded when sack opportunities arrived or other chances to make backfield plays (the 3rd quarter WR Pass play by FSU, where Saivion Jones and Harold Perkins missed sealing a 15 yard loss on the play....only to watch on as another 1st down and big momentum play occurred).

But this is a story of two huge factors:

#1 LSU's offense failing to help out their young defense, especially their secondary; this was supposed to be a high flying, dominant offense.....instead, we witnessed a unit throwing away every major opportunity they had to generate a lead on Florida State during that wild 1st half.
Mike Denbrock's offense threw away 4 scoring opportunities and another at the end of the half, where poor passing and miscommunication between Daniels and Nabers bailed FSU out and forced the Tigers to settle for three.

Even after Florida State committed 6 first half penalties, 1 gifting LSU with 4 extra downs inside the red zone on another critical drive, Mike Denbrock's offense still wasted nearly every red zone chance.

Nothing can more clearly illustrate this ineptitude inside the red zone than on LSU's first drive.

Starting the game by eviscerating Florida State's defense with a 55 yard screen to Trey Bradford, followed by a bruising catch and run for 15 yards by Mason Taylor, the Tigers were in scoring position within two Florida State's 2 yard line.

6 plays later, Jayden Daniels was unthinkably getting sacked for a 15 yard loss on 4th and goal, burying the go ahead score opportunity, all thanks to poor play calling and a bad moment of hesitation from Daniels on the final play (Thomas Jr is open and Daniels stares him down and doesn't make the throw, his hesitation becoming his undoing).

#2 The inexcusable and humiliating misuse of Harold Perkins, leaving him standing stationary as a middle to no effect on the game, becoming bully blocking fodder for O-linemen at the end of plays he's merely a spectator of....all thanks to LSU's coaching staff failing to understand the weapon at their disposal should be roaming free.

Rushing the passer on just 7 plays, as he sat in coverage for 28 snaps (allowing 4 catches and holding the worst coverage grade on the team, PFF)....yet again they've made another grave error concerning Perkins.

However do not be mistaken: this defeat isn't on LSU QB Jayden Daniels......neither is it on our lack of Perkins Power, our porous secondary or receivers dropping 50 yard plays, or Brad Davis' offensive line that were clearly handled....this defeat lays right at the feet of every player in our locker room....which really means this is on Brian Kelly and LSU's staff.

We're not only talking about what occurred on the field, sidelines or weeks and months of preparation, it is impossible to overlook how dangerous and foolish it was for Brian Kelly to say "we are gonna beat the heck out of Florida State" during his TJ Ribs show last week.

No matter how full of jest and humor that comment may have been to BK, Mike Norvell's squad took it to heart, bullying LSU off their homestate neutral field throughout a torturous second half to behold. By the end of the 4th quarter, you could see Florida State rubbing in the salt....they took this game more personally and more seriously than LSU.

It was unnerving & sobering to see Tiger defenders run over, blasted to the ground and holding on to Seminoles' running backs or receivers for dear life....unable to stop the oncoming freight train that left many Tigers bloodied and bashed in its wake....

Before BK's dangerous talk show line, the narrative was all on LSU's side, the pressure all on Norvell's Seminoles; yet, once BK took a shot at Florida State in such a definitive way, he gave a hungry, top 10 side more ammunition.....and when we had an opportunity to "beat the heck outta them" and really step on their neck in that 1st half, we pissed the bed like Fuller after too much Pepsi (Home Alone anyone???).

But words didn't completely lose LSU this game....we failed to sport the mentality that goes along with championship confidence:

I saw a mentally unprepared & at times fearful team, their inexperience and lack of depth at key areas completely exposed, holding zero accountability from one guy to the next, a starting QB who never appeared comfortable, our 5th fumble by 3 different returners in the Brian Kelly era........they quit, tonight, in almost every single phase.

Regardless of what happens this season, concerning preseason rankings and love, this team were completely undeserving of such fast track national championship predictions & backing, including from this author himself.....they are likely a team that is still a year away, something Head Coach Brian Kelly also warned during preseason.

We also know what this team can become across a season under this Head Coach and his staff, as well, so all is definitely not lost....however, the truth remains: the Tigers can't lose another game if they want to contend for a 5th National Championship in 2023.

Now there is zero room for error.....a sketchy place to be with trips to face Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama and home dates vs Arkansas, Florida and A&M still to come on the schedule.

We also warned of potential regression in 2023....we wrote and spoke of how we wouldn't be shocked if LSU lost 2 of their first 5 games, either....such is the madcap whimsy of college football in 2023.....

....and here we are....dealing with yet another shocking opening week defeat for a 4th year running....always high profile, always soaking in an exaggerated "death of LSU" storyline exactitude.....

Although it is only 1 couldn't lose a worse game on the schedule, as far as placement of your loss, or in a manner of defeat as woeful.

LSU must get it going....Grambling are in the house in less than a week....


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