We need to talk about how Jayden Daniels started vs. Arkansas

Sep 23, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) throws a pass against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Clause-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) throws a pass against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Clause-USA TODAY Sports /

Jayden Daniels was outstanding in the second half vs. Arkansas while leading the LSU Tigers to a close win. However, how he started the game is a problem.

This article isn’t for you if you’re an LSU Football fan who cannot see beyond the final quarter or the box score. The Jayden Daniels apologists should also look away because we know you’re dismissive of all Tigers’ quarterback criticism.

However, this is not an article that suggests Daniels deserves a demotion. I’m suggesting that the LSU signal-caller cannot start games like he did on Saturday vs. Arkansas.

Jayden Daniels was bad throughout most of the first half against the Razorbacks. I credit the Hogs’ defense for showing up to play, but a lot of the Tigers’ inability to put up points is on the quarterback.

Most Jayden Daniels throws in the first half were lazy and inaccurate

The bad passer variation of Daniels we experienced in 2022 briefly appeared in Baton Rouge last weekend. Such is the variant that holds the offense back with lazy, inaccurate throws. If any of this doesn’t resonate, I suggest you re-watch the LSU vs. Arkansas first half.

Daniels’ first bad throw was a low ball to Malik Nabers on third down that led to a punt. The quarterback short-armed Nabers again during LSU’s second drive, but the receiver managed to make the catch while falling. Then, Daniels threw an awful interception to former LSU defensive back Dwight McGlothern.

Kirk Herbstreit said during ESPN’s broadcast that McGlothern baited Daniels into making the throw. I’m afraid I have to disagree after re-watching the play a few times. McGlothern read the quarterback’s eyes and stepped in front of a throw that Daniels pre-determined before the snap.

Daniels underthrew Nabers on what should’ve been a 45-yard touchdown pass. He also short-armed the throw to Brian Thomas Jr. on the 49-yard-touchdown pass. Thankfully, Thomas was so far ahead of the defender that slowing down to make the catch wasn’t an issue.

The connection to Thomas for LSU’s first touchdown of the game was a turning point for Jayden Daniels. He emerged from the locker room in the second half as his best version. As such, he finished with 320 yards passing and four passing touchdowns.

However, how Daniels played in the first half against Arkansas is unacceptable and cannot reoccur if LSU has College Football Playoff aspirations.

Arkansas failed to capitalize on Daniels’ slow start; Other opponents won’t

Before the game, Brian Kelly talked about the need for his team to maintain a sense of urgency. The head coach is correct because urgency often results in teams starting games fast and setting the tempo. LSU did just that in Week 3 at Mississippi State.

Against Arkansas, the Tigers played half the game complacent on offense, especially at quarterback. However, the Razorbacks failed to take advantage of LSU’s sloppy play. Arkansas matched the Bayou Bengals’ inability to convert drives in the first half but for different reasons.

Either way, future opponents on the LSU Football schedule will not shoot themselves in the foot as Arkansas did. If Daniels starts slow, the Tigers will find themselves in a hole. We experienced this last year against Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Georgia.

Hopefully, Jayden Daniels has played his last ‘what is he doing!?’ half of football this year. Despite his occasional struggles in the passing game, he remains one of the best quarterbacks in college football.

dark. Next. Welcome to Ole Miss hate week

There is an argument that Daniels had an ‘off’ pair of quarters on Saturday. Indeed, the game’s best players aren’t perfect. Such is fair, but my point remains that LSU cannot afford an inept first half from the most important player on the Tigers’ roster.