NEW ORLEANS – Brian Kelly’s debut as an LSU soccer coach hasn’t diminished for drama.
After rallying 14 points in the fourth quarter Sunday night against Florida State—and only needing an extra point to send the game into overtime—the Tigers saw their comeback attempt abruptly halted when the Seminoles came back defensive. Shim Brown prevented Damian RamosKick to secure a 24-23 win for Florida.
It was the second night’s banned kick for Florida, which blocked an LSU field goal attempt in the first half.
But the Tigers’ struggle in special teams was not limited to the kicking game. They also failed to put in a pair of kicks, and both have recovered from the Seminoles.
“Fault after mistake for us, especially in the first half,” Kelly said in his match rating presentation. “And as you know, it’s clear more mistakes in the second half.”
Kelly said he was proud of the way his team competed but also clarified, “I’m not here to say we take any solace in losing.”
“The truth is we have some learning to do,” he added. “We have to train better, we have to play better.”
It was an inauspicious start to Kelly’s tenure at LSU. He became the first Tigers coach to lose their first appearance since Jerry Dinardo in 1995.
Kelly – who has spent the previous 12 seasons at Notre Dame, scoring 113-40 – signed a 10-year, $95 million contract to join LSU in late November, replacing Ed Orgeron, who was knocked out less than three years after winning the National Championship.
Kelly reshaped the roster over the holiday season, adding a number of transfers, including a quarterback start Jaden Daniels from Arizona.
Landing seven points on the 2-yard line with only 1 second remaining, Daniels threw what appeared to be a game-related touchdown. Gary Jenkins, before the extra forbidden point. Playing behind a faltering offensive line, Daniels had 26 of 35 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns without any interceptions. He also ran the ball 16 times for 114 yards.
Florida has fired Daniels four times.
“The front is very good,” Kelly said. “They brought in a lot of pressure. Their defensive ends were a challenge for a true freshman [left tackle Will Campbell] And our correct treatment [Cam Wire]. They fought.”
LSU wide receiver Kishon Pot – A potential first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft – he had a pair of drops and was caught twice for 20 yards.
Butt seemed visibly frustrated at some points during the match.
“This is a great player trying to do speeds, maybe trying to do a lot and trying to catch the ball before he gets it,” Kelly said. “I won’t read much into that. I think he knows tonight that he should just let the match come to him.”
In the first quarter, LSU lost its outstanding defensive style, Mason Smith, for a knee injury. The former Freshman All-SEC pick returned to the sideline after the break wearing a leg brace and was walking with the help of crutches.
Florida State Quarterback Jordan Travis He dodged LSU’s lunge for most of the night, completing 20 of 32 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns without any interceptions. He finished second on the team in the rush with 31 yards on eight gigs.
It was the Seminoles’ first win against the SEC team since their victory over Florida in 2017.
“What we’ve learned is we have to train better,” Kelly said. “Our children have to be trained in such a way that they are ready. And I am responsible for that.”
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