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Shyheim Brown blocked LSU’s extra-point attempt with no time left to give Florida State a 24-23 victory Sunday night, spoiling Brian Kelly’s debut as Tigers coach.
Despite a slew of errors, including a muffled punt with 2:15 to go, LSU came within the extra point to tie it in the wild finish.
Florida Treshaun Ward fumbled at LSU 1 with 1:20 left, and Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels drove LSU for a touchdown on a 2-yard pass to Jaray Jenkins running out of time.
As LSU fans celebrated an apparent two-touchdown comeback in the final 4:07 — and Florida State fans braced for what could have been an infamous implosion — Brown knocked down Damian Ramos’ stairs and hit a party in the Florida state where players ran wild onto the field.
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Jordan Travis scored 260 yards and two touchdowns for the state of Florida.
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Travis’ scoring passes came on a 39-yard throw to Ontaria Wilson on a flea flicker and a 27-yard pass that rounded Wilson together with one hand while being disturbed. Travis also rushed for 31 yards on a combination of designed runs and scrambles, repeatedly leaving LSU pass rushers as he spun or shot away from the pressure.
Tens of thousands of garnet and gold-clad spectators helped sell out the Superdome, which could have pretty much been a home advantage for LSU in a game played just 80 miles from the Baton Rouge campus. And they left happy after Florida State (2-0) — four consecutive losing seasons — extended a promising start to coach Mike Norvell’s third season.
This game arguably had more meaning to Norvell than Kelly, who was lured out of Notre Dame on a ten-year $100 million contract designed to give him time to recreate LSU football in his image. Kelly’s staff consists of just one assistant from last season, while 16 transfer players were brought in to patch up a squad on the move.
One such transfer was former Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels, who started after a close match at the camp with Garrett Nussmeier. He completed 26 of 35 passes for 209 yards and two TDS, both for Jenkins. Daniels also rushed for 114 yards.
Another transfer, bringing Noah Cain (of Penn State) back, scored LSU’s first TD from a yard out late in the third quarter to make it 17-10.
Travis marched the Seminoles back into the end zone, culminating in a 15-yard completion for Johnny Wilson as the elusive QB jumped away from the closing defenders. DJ Lundy finished the drive with a 1-yard TD run to make it 24-10 with 9:04 to go.
LSU took the only lead, 3-0, on first possession. But that drive stopped shortly after Garrett Dellinger’s shotgun shot over the head of Daniels in second place and the FSU’s 5 goal in the first year.
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Florida State’s lead was only 7-3 at halftime after both teams ruined chances in the red zone.
LSU’s line didn’t seem ready when the ball broke on a field goal, and Jared Varse slammed past Cameron Wire’s left tackle to block Damian Ramos’ kick.
The Seminoles were unable to cash in on Malik Nabers’s first of two muted punts, which FSU found on the LSU 16. Norvell kept the charge on the field on fourth and 2 of 8, and Travis’ pass to the far corner of the end zone fell incomplete.
Florida State: Travis’ numbers could have been better if there weren’t any key drops. His combination of scrambling and passing gave LSU’s defensive strikes showing up more in Seminoles’ 392 net yards than in the final score. But the Seminoles’ inability to suspend a match in which they were the superior team must be resolved.
LSU: The offensive line remains a work in progress and at times looked like a risk in the Tigers’ opener. Daniels led the Tigers with 91 yards. Meanwhile, LSU may need to find another point returner than Nabers. LSU was lucky that the Seminoles squandered both of his krauts.
LSU: Starting Defensive End Maason Smith left the game in the first quarter with a left knee injury. His knee seemed to buckle as he came down clumsily by jumping as the tackle was made.
LSU lost a second defensive end when Ali Gaye was ejected for a targeting foul against Travis when the QB released a touchdown pass in the third quarter.
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Florida State: Visits Louisville to open its ACC slate on September 16.
LSU: Hosts Southern on Saturday nights.