LSU vs. Florida State score, takeaways: Walk blocked extra point saves Seminoles from Tigers’ late surge – CBS Sports

LSU vs. Florida State score, takeaways: Walk blocked extra point saves Seminoles from Tigers' late surge - CBS Sports

Despite a roaring comeback taking advantage of multiple Florida State miscues, it was LSU that made the final mistake Sunday night in the Seminoles’ 24-23 win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Trailing 24-10 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers scored the final 13 points of the game, but a blocked extra point with no time remaining cost them a potential comeback opportunity in overtime.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels hit Jaray Jenkins for a 2-yard touchdown with 1 second remaining to score what was apparently the game-tying score to end a 99-yard drive started by an FSU goal-line fumble. But Damian Ramos’ extra point was blocked by Shyheim Brown with no time left on the clock to give the ‘Noles the win.

The only reason LSU had the chance to tie it late was because Brian Thomas Jr. was initially ruled out with second left at the 1-yard line. Replay showed he was in bounds, but LSU snapped the ball on the whistle to put away the final play in regulation.

It was a wild end to a stellar drive that probably never should have happened. LSU had a chance to tie it late because of a rare mistake by the ‘Noles rushing attack. Treshaun Ward fumbled an ill-advised pitch on the goal line to give it back to LSU with 1:20 to play. That was the only reason Daniels even had a chance to lead his team down the field for what appeared to be the touchdown that would have sent the game to overtime.

It was a remarkable turn of events as it appeared Florida State had the game won when LSU’s Malik Nabers muffed a punt on the 8-yard line with 2:05 left. Ward had two carries for 8 yards to get to the threshold and force LSU to burn their first timeout. The fumble occurred on the first play coming out of the timeout.

The dramatic fourth quarter was the story of the night, but Florida State QB Jordan Travis was the star of the evening. The second-year starter hit Ontaria Wilson on a double-reverse bullpen for a 39-yard score early in the second quarter to put the ‘Noles up 7-3, a lead they would never relinquish. Travis connected with Wilson again in the third quarter on a nice over-the-shoulder dime near the right pylon to make it a 17-3 ballgame and crank the pressure up even more on a Tiger team that just couldn’t get going offensively. Travis finished the evening 20 of 32 for 260 yards with two touchdowns, eight carries and 31 yards rushing.

Daniels got the start under center for coach Brian Kelly, who was making his debut in the purple and gold after a successful 12-year stint at Notre Dame. He went 26 of 35 for 209 yards and two touchdowns, adding 114 yards on the ground. Part of the reason that Daniels was basically the only effective piece of the offense was an offensive line that just couldn’t hold the Florida State defensive front back. LSU gave up six tackles for loss, which included four sacks.

What are the main takeaways from the New Orleans thriller?

Travis is the real deal

The ‘Noles signal caller looked like a different player on Saturday in a hostile environment on one of the biggest stages of his career. Ontario Wilson’s over-the-shoulder pass for FSU’s third-quarter touchdown couldn’t have been better placed, and the fourth-quarter drive that made it a 24-10 game included a huge 15-yard reception on the run over- the-medium to large 6-foot-7 target Johnny Wilson.

That’s a great sign going forward. The ACC is loaded with stud quarterbacks, and Travis was not included in the group that included Devin Leary, Tyler Van Dyke, Kedon Slovis and others. Go ahead and add Travis to that group because he looked like a bonafide star against a fast and physical Tiger defense.

Special teams told the story

The missed extra point with no time on the clock will be the one everyone remembers, but it was a blocked field goal attempt earlier in the game that set up Brown to make the deciding play.

Ramos’ first field goal attempt of the night was a 30-yarder that was blocked by Jared Verse, who came through the left side of the Tiger offensive line. Kelly told reporters after the game that the pressure that came through was enough for the Tigers to change some personnel. Clearly, that didn’t work and opened the door for Brown to make history.

Kelly said after the game that Nabers, who had two punts on the night, was rock solid in practice and was shocked when the two fumbles happened during the game. It’s clear he’ll reevaluate his punt return lineup after the game as well, because those mistakes simply can’t happen.

Third downs were huge

Third-down conversion percentage is one of the most important stats in college football, and Florida State was on the money when it mattered most against LSU. The Seminoles converted 11 of 17 attempts, including 5 of 8 in the second half. Travis was a big reason why. He was 8 of 12 for 92 yards and a touchdown on third downs, and all eight of his completions moved the chains. That helped the ‘Noles win the time of possession battle and demoralized a Tiger defense that had no answer for the majority of the game. It worked both ways too. LSU’s offense finally got going in the fourth quarter but converted just 3 of 7 through the first three quarters. LSU has a lot of issues to deal with, and its issues on third down on both sides of the ball should be at the top of the list.

LSU’s offensive line needs work

It’s a big concern going into the season, and it remains a problem. Daniels never seemed to be comfortable and was relegated to “one read and bail” quarterback for the majority of the evening. This caused massive frustration, most notably with star wide receiver Kayshon Boutte; the two were caught on air having some clearly intense conversations.

That’s not something that’s easy to deal with either. The most important part of any offensive line’s progression is continuity, and the fact that there are four new starters up front made that clear. Fortunately for LSU, Daniels is mobile enough to escape and make some plays with these legs when needed. That’s not something sustainable for a full season though. Especially in the SEC West which is loaded with studs in the front seven.

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