Football Drops Season Opener to Florida State, 45-24
ORLANDO, Fla. – A second half surge from Florida State’s offense powered the Seminoles past the Tigers, 45-24, on Sunday night at Camping World Stadium.
It was a tale of two halves, as LSU marched into the break with a 17-14 lead in hand after posting 234 yards of total offense behind quarterback Jayden Daniels. However, the Seminoles would go on to outscore the Tigers 31-7 in the final 30 minutes of play, behind 498 yards on offense, 359 of which coming in the air.
FSU quarterback Jordan Travis, who finished an impressive 23-of-31 for 342 yards and four touchdowns, found a dynamic connection with junior receiver Keon Coleman, who registered nine catches for 122 yards and three touchdowns.
“We knew who he was, and we knew he was a very difficult matchup for us,” said head coach Brian Kelly of Coleman. “Excellent ball skills. Obviously, a matchup problem for us. He presented that kind of problem tonight.”
Coleman, along with junior receiver Johnny Wilson, who added seven catches for 104 yards of his own, proved to be a matchup problem all night for the LSU secondary.
The Tigers were also unable to get off the field on third down for most of the game, as the Florida State offense was able to convert on 9-of-14 third down conversions. The Seminole receivers were a big reason why.
On offense, Daniels opened the 2023 season with a bang, finding sophomore running back Tre Bradford for a 50-yard catch and run, advancing the ball down to the FSU 20.
A lack of execution in key moments, though, proved to be costly in the first half, coming up short on fourth down twice – once at the goal line and once at the FSU 13 – giving the ball back to the Noles with no points to show for. Finishing drives will be a point of emphasis for the unit moving forward.
“That set us back a little bit,” Daniels said. “It starts with me, getting the guys going. That first drive it felt like we had some urgency, but in critical moments I have to set the tempo. I have to go back to the drawing board as a leader to see what I can do better to get this team more prepared.”
Daniels finished 22-for-37 for 347 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His 347 passing yards were the most by an LSU player in a season opener.
Brian Thomas led the receivers with a career-high seven catches for 142 yards and a touchdown, as Malik Nabers posted six catches for 67 yards. Daniels led the team in rushing with 64 yards, most of which coming on a 40-yard gain over the middle of the field, setting up a Noah Cain 1-yard touchdown rush.
On defense, Braydin Swinson made the most of his LSU debut, recording five tackles, one for loss, along with one QB hurry. Mekhi Wingo made his presence felt in the trenches with four tackles, one for loss. Linebacker Omar Speights led the defensive unit in tackles with eight total.
Duce Chestnut made the first impact play of the season for the LSU secondary, picking off Travis with 10:42 to play in the second quarter.
Although tonight was not the expected result, there are still a mandatory of 11 games left on the schedule, Kelly says, and this group has a choice ahead of them regarding how they want to respond – starting tomorrow.
“This is our first real piece of adversity that we have to address,” Kelly said postgame. “I’m confident that our guys, and our coaches, will rally in the manner that they need to.”
LSU returns to Tiger Stadium on Saturday against Grambling for a 6:30 p.m. CT kick on SEC Network+.