3. Garrett Nussmeier
It was easy to see why Jayden Daniels won the starting quarterback competition after LSU’s rout of Southern in Week 2. Redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier took over early in the second quarter for the Tigers’ starter, who left the game with a comfortable 40+ point lead. The youngster looked uncomfortable in the offense for much of the night, but the low point came when he threw an inexplicable interception that the Jaguars promptly returned for a touchdown.
Daniels has been very good this season. Aside from early in the Florida State game, there have been few that have called on him to be replaced by Nussmeier. This has led to a lot of talk around the latter quieting down as the Tigers’ faithful set their sights on the starter.
Nevertheless, Nussmeier has kept his head down and worked toward getting better.
This showed when he replaced an injured Daniels (who has since been ruled OK to play again) against the Lobos. Nussmeier played significantly better and it shows up on the stat sheet:
- vs. Southern: 13-for-23, 183 yards, two interceptions (18.0 QBR)
- vs. New Mexico: 9-for-10, 135 yards, one touchdown (98.9 QBR)
He commanded the offense with authority, unlike he did during the game against the Jaguars. Nussmeier was stepping up to make his throws, his pocket awareness was on-point and he had all of the confidence in the world.
There won’t be a quarterback competition again this season barring some unforeseen changes or an injury to Daniels. However, I think I speak for the entirety of the LSU fanbase when I say I am much more confident in the Tigers’ options at quarterback after Saturday’s game. Nussmeier is still incredibly young and he played a lot differently than Daniels.
If he can continue to develop under Kelly and Offensive Coordinator Mike Denbrock, he’s got a very bright future in Baton Rouge. This is especially true if he continues to develop relationships with receivers that caught passes from him on Saturday—such as Chris Hilton Jr. and Kyren Lacy. The Tigers don’t have enough room in the starting rotation for these offensive weapons just yet, but their time is coming up in the next couple of years.
It’s hard to say enough good things about Nussmeier’s outing against the Lobos. His showing was a complete 180-degree turnaround from what he showed fans versus Southern.