Jayden Daniels (QB)
If you were active on social media at any point during Sunday night’s game—which Death Valley Voice is every week—you’d have seen fans crying to replace starting QB Jayden Daniels. After beating out Garrett Nussmeier for the title of QB1 in camp, the Arizona State transfer didn’t exactly get off to the greatest start against the Seminoles.
After going back and watching the Allstate Louisiana Kickoff again though, many realized that Daniels was the only person keeping LSU afloat on offense. He was running for his life as his young offensive line struggled to keep Florida State’s pass rush out of its backfield. Daniels ended up carrying the ball 16 times for 114 yards—many of which resulted in a first down.
It may have taken Daniels a little while to get going in the passing game, but he finished the night 26 of 35 with 209 yards and two passing touchdowns. Despite a couple of bad snaps from redshirt freshman center Garrett Dellinger, the Tigers’ new No. 5 made mature decisions under pressure. LSU’s No. 1 quarterback put in an incredibly mature performance that saw him fail to even come close to giving up the football on the ground or through the air.
Perhaps the most important contribution of Daniels’ on the night was when he marched the Tigers 99 yards down the field in less than a minute-and-a-half to end the game. It was one of the more impressive offensive series we’ve seen from an LSU signal caller not named Joe Burrow in the last decade. For all intents and purposes, Daniels played one helluva game.
Yet, he still faced more than his fair share of critics. Many fans were left feeling disinterested about the future of Mike Denbrock’s offense under Daniels. I, on the other hand, am excited to see how the Tigers can build from this performance going forward.
LSU has one of the better quarterbacks in the SEC in Daniels, and it’s easy to see why he was given the starting nod by Kelly leading into the Florida State match-up. He earned his stripes and then some in New Orleans. Now, it’s time for Daniels to take the bull by the horns and lead this offense to success in the remaining 11 games of the season.