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What Coach Kelly Said About Garrett Nussmeier

When LSU backup quarterback Garrett Nussmeier got the nod to enter Saturday night’s game against Southern after the Tigers ran out to a 44-point lead in the second quarter, he struggled initially.

Nussmeier scrambled and threw an interception on third-and-12 during his second offensive series. He later threw another in the third quarter, which was returned 94 yards for Southern’s first points in the Tigers’ 65-17 win.

“Look, you never want to have a moment where you turn the ball over,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said Monday at his weekly news conference.

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“Obviously, we had a conversation about that. He’s got to take care of the football, and he knows that. That’s not anything that he feels good about.”

Nussmeier leaned heavily on the run game, putting three more touchdowns on the board. He hit on 56.5% of his passes, going 13 of 23 for 183 yards before true freshman Walker Howard mopped up in the fourth quarter.

Nussmeier’s longest pass was a 60-yard completion to wide receiver Malik Nabers in the second quarter. “He did some really good things, and we have to build off that,” Kelly said. “I think he is somebody that when you’re in that No. 2 position, I’m not here to make excuses for him, but you press a little bit.

“You have another quarterback (starter Jayden Daniels) that’s led eight consecutive touchdown drives and you’re trying to press because you want to get on the field.”

Nussmeier played most of the Arkansas game last season, passing for 179 yards on a 58.1% completion rate with one TD and two interceptions in the overtime loss.

He was in contention for the starting job against Daniels in preseason camp, but Kelly named Daniels the starter the week of the Florida State game.

Kelly didn’t rule out Nussmeier getting some playing time this season. He has a track record of playing multiple quarterbacks in most seasons as head coach at Notre Dame.

“We have great confidence in him,” Kelly said. “He just needs to let the game come to him.”