LSU Gold

GOLD | Geaux Figure: Offense thrives in Gainesville

by Cody Worsham
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GOLD | Geaux Figure: Offense thrives in Gainesville

When we launched LSU GOLD, the goal was to provide fans with more.

More access. More content. More depth.

Our primary focus through the first few months has been video, and the video is incredible.

I keep making this reference in various places, so apologies, if you’ve heard it before, for being repetitive, but imagine if you had a game-by-game documentary of the 2019 national championship season. How priceless would that be? How many times would you rewatch it?

GOLD is that platform. You will experience the next championship journey in real time and in retrospect. That’s what excites me most.

However, “more” didn’t mean just more video. We wanted more of everything. The podcast network is roaring along, but, as a recovering journalist, the written article will always hold a special place in my heart.

Which brings me to this column, Geaux Figure. This is where I’ll take the statistical data our team collects – major props to Michael Bonnette, Todd Politz, Pro Football Focus, and all the other hardworking folks who gather this stuff – and put context around it. I’m excited about it, so let’s outro from this intro directly into the goods.

(Note: I put out a call for requests on Sunday, and I’ll keep that going moving forward, so that I can answer the questions you actually want answered. I don’t anticipate this being a weekly feature, but hopefully we can do it as frequently as possible and scale it to as many other sports as possible.) 

Third Down

Short Answer: 32.8% (173 yards on third down/528 yards total)

Long Answer: Jayden Daniels silenced his critics with Saturday’s six touchdown performance, connecting on 23-of-32 passes for 349 yards and 3 touchdowns in the air and adding another three scores on the ground.

Daniels was particularly improved on third downs, which had been something of a problem area for LSU early in the season.

According to Pro Football Focus, through Week 5, LSU ranked 49th of 65 Power 5 teams in third down passing. Daniels was 15-of-29 (51.7%) for 159 yards, 1 TD, and 0 interceptions – a 79.5 NFL passer rating.

That’s changed over the last two weeks. In Weeks 6 and 7, LSU ranks No. 1 among Power 5 schools in third down passing, with Daniels connecting on 16-of-20 (80%) attempts for 259 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INTs – a 135.4 NFL passer rating. He was 8-of-9 for 173 yards and TD in Gainesville, doing his best work in the toughest down and distances.

Daniels has been incredibly sharp in these situations against Florida and Tennessee, with a 94.7% adjusted completion percentage and scrambling just once in those 20 attempts, suggesting a growing willingness to sit in the pocket and wait for routes to develop.

On his first third down completion of the day, a 40-yard completion on third and 8 to Kayshon Boutte, Daniels recognized a three-man rush (plus a spy), resisted the urge to scramble, and allowed the play to develop, looking off the safety and finding Boutte behind quarters coverage for a big pickup.

On another third and 8 later in the game, Daniels dropped a dime to Jaray Jenkins to put LSU ahead of Florida 28-21 in the third quarter of Saturday night’s win. Running a “freeze and go” – that’s what Brian Kelly called it after the game – Daniels recognized the defense was offside, looked off…