Football Dominates Grambling in Home Opener, 72-10
BATON ROUGE — Quarterback Jayden Daniels threw for a career high five touchdown passes in the first half, propelling No. 14 LSU over Grambling 72-10 in the first ever meeting between the two programs on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
Daniels, who finished 18-of-24 for 269 yards, became the fourth Tiger to throw for at least five touchdowns in a single game, joining Joe Burrow, Max Johnson and Zach Mettenberger. His five touchdowns powered the Tigers to 423 yards of total offense and 42 points in the first half, an amount too large for Grambling to overcome.
Saturday’s win marked the first time LSU has scored 70 points or more in a game since the seven overtime game at Texas A&M in 2018 in which the Tigers also scored 72 points. Tonight was also the most points in regulation since the Tigers defeated Arkansas State 70-14 on Oct. 12, 1991.
“We played the game the right way,” said head coach Brian Kelly. “We certainly started fast, built great momentum, and asserted our will in the third quarter. I’m pleased with the way we played the game.”
Four different receivers found the end zone. Brian Thomas posted his first game with two receiving touchdowns, leading the group with six catches for 78 yards and two scores. Malik Nabers recorded five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown, while redshirt sophomore Chris Hilton caught his first touchdown of the season, showcasing elite speed while beating his man over the middle of the field for a 47-yard touchdown.
LSU’s offense scored a touchdown on their first 10 possessions until the final drive when the Tigers were forced to turn the ball over on downs with 4:19 remaining in the contest.
“To have 10 straights possessions to score in this game, when someone doesn’t want you to score, is really hard,” Kelly said. “You have to have focus, an attention to detail, playmakers.”
Playmakers were everywhere, especially in the running game. With the Tigers up 21-10 late in the second quarter, junior tailback Logan Diggs tallied seven carries for 63 yards and a touchdown, his first as a Tiger, providing LSU with the separation it needed to never look back.
Diggs, the Boutte native, was impressive in his LSU debut, leading all running backs with 15 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown. His return to the field provided a spark that the offense lacked in the opening week.
“It felt really good, especially to be able to come home, wear those colors, and put on for my state,” said Diggs.
“We knew what we were getting with Logan,” Kelly added. “It was just a matter of getting him healthy. He was ready to play. I think we saw the kind of back that is ready to help us.”
The Tigers relied heavily on freshman tailback Kaleb Jackson for most of the second half, and the Baton Rouge native rose to the occasion in his first game action. Jackson recorded 11 carries for 62 yards and two touchdowns, continuing a productive night for an LSU rushing attack that finished with 302 yards on the ground.
“I thought Kaleb brought a toughness and a physicality to our running game as well,” Kelly said. “We get John Emery back next week. We’ve added to that position to where we should have a really effective running game.”
With 12:29 to play in the third quarter, Penn III snagged his first career interception off Grambling quarterback Myles Crawley, which led Garrett Nussmeier and the LSU offense to extend their lead to 49-10 after a 1-yard QB keep from Nussmeier at the 9:30 mark.
Nussmeier finished 4-for-6 with 48 yards with a rushing touchdown. Freshman Rickie Collins also saw game action, going 2-for-2 for three yards passing and three yards rushing.
LSU travels to Starkville on Saturday to open up conference play, facing Mississippi State for an 11 a.m. CT kick on ESPN.