NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 04: Jayden Daniels #5 of the LSU Tigers throws a pass against the Florida State Seminoles at Caesars Superdome on September 04, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

5 observations from LSU’s 24-23 loss to Florida State

What a finish to the first real week of college football as a thrilling weekend was capped off with a Florida State win in dramatic fashion as the Seminoles topped LSU 24-23 on the last play of the game when Tiger placekicker Damian Ramos had his extra-point attempt blocked.

Here are five observations following FSU’s 24-23 win over LSU.

Snapping woes start early

Sophomore offensive lineman Garrett Dellinger made the move to center during spring practice and has improved as camp went along but it didn’t take very long into Sunday night’s game before we had our first snapping woe, when Dellinger sailed one over quarterback Jayden Daniels on a crucial second and goal play which completely turned the momentum around on LSU’s opening drive as the Tigers eventually settled for three. 

Dellinger almost sailed another one midway through the second quarter, but Daniels was able to secure the snap. Dellinger should be fine once he finds his rhythm and gets comfortable snapping the ball in live game situations. 

Need a more running back focused rushing attack

We expected Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels to play a big part on offense and he did, which is a good thing for LSU, but I’m not sure that Brian Kelly wants Daniels to be the No.1 running option out of the backfield and he shouldered much of the load in the first half. Daniels already had 11 carries for 71 rushing yards heading into the first half and no other running back had more than two carries at the half. 

Part of it could be due to the absence of John Emery Jr., but you need your running backs to shoulder the bulk of the load in the running game to limit the number of hits on your starting quarterback. We know Daniels will be involved in the running game, but he can’t be your workhorse on the ground if you want him to stay healthy over the course of a grueling SEC season.

How much time will Maason Smith miss? 

LSU sophomore defensive tackle Maason Smith, who was expected to be a key contributor up front for LSU, was injured in one of those fluke non-contact injuries relatively early in the first half on Sunday night when he landed awkwardly on his left knee. He would be taken into the locker room for further evaluation and returned to the sidelines in street clothes and on crutches. He was ruled out for the rest of the game and the tears streaming down the side of his face drew concern that he could miss a significant amount of time. Could be a big blow to the LSU defense.

Where was LSU’s All-SEC receiver?

This LSU offense is not firing on all cylinders if your All-SEC receiver goes three full quarters without a touch on offense. LSU standout junior Kayshon Boutte simply has to have a bigger role in this offense for LSU to win games. Boutte didn’t record his first catch until more than halfway through the fourth quarter. This is your best player on offense, possibly the best player on your team. Brian Kelly has to find a way to get him involved in this offense. 

Miscues on special teams did LSU no favors, hampers late comeback effort

LSU missed an opportunity to put three points on the board in the second quarter when placekicker Damian Ramos had a 30-yard field goal blocked; it was the first special teams miscue on the night. Later in the second quarter LSU punt returner Malik Nabers muffed a punt that was recovered by the Seminoles, but the LSU defense stood tall and kept FSU off of the scoreboard when the Seminoles failed to convert on an incomplete pass into the endzone resulting in a turnover on downs.

The special teams struggles continued into the second half when punter Jay Bramblett shanked a punt for 31 yards midway through the third quarter giving FSU the ball at their own 43-yard line. 

The big one was when Nabers muffed another punt that was recovered by FSU inside LSU’s ten yard line. The LSU defense would get the ball back, recovering a fumble at their own one yard line but lost a lot of valuable time off the clock.  

The Tigers went on a 99-yard drive in the final 1:20 of the game giving LSU an opportunity to tie the game and send it to OT but another miscue sealed their fate when Ramos had his PAT blocked sealing a 24-23 loss on the last play of the game.

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