Daniels’ scoring passes went for 17 yards to Jack Bech, 5 yards to Malik Nabers and 44 yards to Brian Thomas. The last of those ended the night for the senior quarterback, who won the starting job after transferring from Arizona State.
Southern (1-1), which a week earlier had opened up a 42-0 lead in a season-opening 86-0 victory against NAIA program Florida Memorial, saw the tables turn.
LSU scored five touchdowns in the first 10:16 of the game, including a 29-yard interception return by linebacker Micah Baskerville. The Tigers led 37-0 after Baskerville blocked Southern punter Robens Beauplan’s punt, and the ball bounded through the end zone for a safety with 1:31 left in the first quarter.
After Southern fumbled the opening kickoff, Daniels scored the first TD on his 18-yard scramble, which he finished by diving for the right pylon. In the first half, LSU also scored on short runs by Josh Williams and Noah Cain. Armoni Goodwin rushed for a pair of short TDs in the second half.
Southern didn’t score until Benny McCray intercepted LSU backup QB Garrett Nussmeier — who attempted an underhanded throw while being dragged down — and ran free the other way for a 94-yard TD with 3:45 left in the third quarter.
Southern: The Jaguars looked overmatched, and it didn’t help that they had the misfortune of playing an LSU squad looking to respond emphatically to an emotional season-opening loss. Starting quarterback BeSean McCray completed half of his 14 throws for 42 yards without a TD and was intercepted once. The Jags lost four fumbles in all.
LSU: While Kelly had portrayed the preseason QB competition between Daniels and Nussmeier as close, there was a clear disparity in their performance. Making his first appearance this season, Nussmeier was intercepted twice and did not throw for a TD. He finished 13 of 23 for 183 yards, with 60 yards coming on a deep pass down the right sideline to Nabers.