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LSU Fixes Some Issues From the FSU Game

Kelly had a laundry list of things he wanted his team to get better at from Game 1 to Game 2.

The focus that Kelly, his staff, and the players put on that list paid off as the cross-town rivals left the stadium with 1-1 records.

The offensive line had to play better. It did.

The Tigers had to get Kayshon Boutte involved in the passing game. They did.

Malik Nabers had to shake off the two muffed punts against Florida State and play to his talent level. He did.

And Jayden Daniels, he just had to keep doing what he did in the opener. And he did.

As for the defense had to overcome the season-ending loss of tackle Maason Smith, the first-half suspension of end Ali Gaye, tackle better, and dominate an outmanned opponent. Check, check, check and check.

And the defense threw in 3 first-quarter takeaways for good measure.

The special teams had to avoid the breakdowns they had against Florida State. Gregory Clayton Jr. replaced Nabers on punt returns and cleanly handled multiple catches, receiving sarcastic cheers from the crowd.

They also had to avoid a pair of blocked kicks like they had in the opener, which included a PAT that would have forced overtime. LSU went one better as Micah Baskerville blocked a Jaguars punt for a safety late in the first quarter.

By early in the second quarter, Daniels was done, and Garrett Nussmeier was getting some snaps.

Kelly started pulling starters on all 3 units, minimizing the danger of key players getting injured a week ahead of the SEC opener against Mississippi State next Saturday in Tiger Stadium.

Daniels didn’t have to run for his life as he did a week earlier when he rushed for 11 yards, but he sprinted 18 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first possession.

Then Josh Williams ran 5 yards for his first career touchdown and Daniels threw a 17-yard touchdown to Jack Bech.

Baskerville ran 29 yards for a touchdown after making an interception and Daniels connected with Nabers for a 5-yard touchdown pass.

On the second play of the second quarter Daniels threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Brian Thomas Jr. for a 44-0 lead. That was Daniels’ last play as he completed 10-of-11 passes for 137 yards with 3 touchdowns and was replaced by Nussmeier.

Other ball handlers had similarly modest numbers after cameo appearances. Boutte had 5 catches for 42 yards, but that was better than the 2 catches he had for 20 yards in the opener. Nabers had 3 catches for 81 yards and the touchdown helped wipe away memories of the muffed punts.

On the Tigers’ final possession of the half, Nussmeier, who had thrown an interception earlier in the second quarter, completed passes of 60 yards to Nabers and 11 to Thomas, leading to Noah Cain’s 2-yard touchdown run and a 51-0 halftime lead.

At that point, LSU already had done what it needed to do in its tune-up before opening SEC play next week against Mississippi State.