Brian Kelly made one of the calls of the college football season and in the process earned the statement win of his young tenure at LSU.
Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels rolled out to the right and found Mason Taylor in the corner of the end zone to defeat Alabama, 32-31, in overtime on Saturday.
Alabama scored first in the extra session when Roydell Williams ran for a two-yard touchdown, but the Daniels-Taylor connection handed the Tide their second loss of the season in the shocking upset victory.
The dramatic victory before a raucous crowd in Baton Rouge officially puts LSU in pole position for the SEC West Division title after earning the critical head-to-head tiebreaker over their old rivals.
“It just felt like the right time,” LSU head coach Brian Kelly said afterwards.
“Our guys — they played so hard. I’m a bit emotional. I just loved the way our guys competed. I didn’t want to keep going in overtime. It just felt like it was the right time to try and win the game.”
Kelly said he wanted to get Daniels on the move and capitalize on the quarterback’s mobility when designing the play call.
“I wanted to get 5 on the edge,” he said.
“You know, when you put him on the edge, good things are going to happen. It was a great decision. The two freshmen played so great today.
“Mason Taylor made two big plays for us. I’m so proud of our players. This crowd — unbelievable. They made such a difference for us today.”
Kelly was emotional after the win and explained why it means so much not only for him, but for the LSU program and fan base.
“To just come here and restore the pride and tradition of this program, it means so much,” Kelly said. “I’ve been welcomed down here, and it feels so good to return the faith and trust they shown me.”