Blocked! Florida State ruins Brian Kelly's uneven LSU debut in stunning fashion

Published September 5, 2022 21 Views

© Provided by Sporting News Brian Kelly should probably stop doing sideline interviews – at least on Labor Day weekend. Kelly's attempt at self-deprecation didn't land for the second straight year, this time during the halftime interview, of the Allstate Louisiana Kickoff on Sunday. "We can't play any worse than that; I don't think," Kelly said on the ABC telecast. "It's my first game, maybe we can." LSU trailed Florida State 7-3 at the time. This landed much worse than the "maybe our entire team should be executed" one liner last year. At least Notre Dame beat the Seminoles that night. MORE: Georgia's smashing opener and more takeaways from Week 1 It got better, then it got much worse. The Seminoles won 24-23 on a blocked extra point, and that spoiled Kelly's much-anticipated debut at LSU and gave the naysayers endless meme material. Oh, they were ready to pounce on that quote, especially after Kelly's abrupt exit from Notre Dame. Brian Kelly on telecast: "We can't play any worse than that; I don't think. It's my first game, maybe we can." Kelly's offseason highlights were viral moments, too. Kelly tried out a Southern dialect at a LSU basketball game and a cringy dance routine with a recruit. Kelly, who has won 263 games since taking the Grand Valley State job in 1991, could have silenced all that with a victory against Florida State. Instead, it's going to be remembered for the hot mess that unfolded at the Caesars Superdome right down to the final blocked kick. Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels led a last-minute drive that started at the LSU one-yard line; a gift from a Florida State fumble with the game in hand. Daniels hit Jaray Jenkins for the potential game-tying touchdown with 0:00 on the clock. Of course, LSU kicker Damian Ramos' extra point was blocked by Jarrett Jackson. Of course, that is how the Kelly era would begin in Baton Rouge. What else would you expect on Labor Day Sunday? LSU lacked organization until that frantic final two minutes. Kelly's quarterback choice, a supposed "tactical advantage," looked fine in the stat book. Daniels had 209 passing yards, 114 rushing yards and two total TDs, but he was more scrambler than pocket passer. Star receiver Kayshon Boutte had two catches for 20 yards. This was an off-schedule night for the offense, and three running backs combined for 35 yards rushing. There were more unfortunate moments on defense. Defensive tackle Maason Smith, a third-team All-SEC preseason pick, exited the game after suffering a left knee while celebrating after a play in the first quarter. Defensive end Ali Gaye was ejected for a brutal hit on Jordan Travis on his second TD to Ontaria Wilson that gave the Seminoles a 17-3 lead with 2:46 left in the third quarter. This was a targeting call nobody could dispute. The nonsense continued in the final minutes. LSU's Malik Nabers fumbled a punt (his second of the game), but Florida State’s Treshaun Ward fumbled at the one-yard line with 1:20 remaining on a needlessly risky pitch play. Liam McCormick recovered, and the Tigers somehow still had a chance to win. This was Florida State – a program whose coach Mike Norvell now has a 10-13 record and came into the 2022 season on the hottest of hot seats. The Seminoles tried to give the game back. Kelly could have built on that toward a perfect September before getting into the meat of the SEC schedule. This is a tone-setter loss that could foreshadow more of the same zaniness that defined the Ed Orgeron and Les Miles era. Instead, Norvell has a signature victory and a 2-0 start. It's one game for Kelly, who entered this season ranked No. 6 on Sporting News' annual 1-131 Coach Rankings. Two other coaches on that top-10 – Clemson's Dabo Swinney and Michigan's Jim Harbaugh – lost their debuts with their current school. Swinney was an interim coach who eventually built a two-time national champion with that Little Ole Clemson Southern charm. Harbaugh had returned to his alma mater in 2015, and he finally broke through for a Big Ten championship season in 2021. BENDER: Ohio State uses throwback style to overcome Notre Dame Fit matters in college football, perhaps more than any other sport, and that was the open-ended question with Kelly when he made the move from South Bend to Baton Rouge. Bret Bielema didn't fit very long at Arkansas. Joe Moorhead didn't last long at Mississippi State. Kelly is a more successful coach than both, and he has two College Football Playoff appearances and more wins than any other Notre Dame coach to prove it. Yet, the fit at LSU remains questionable, and moments li

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