LSU vs. FLORIDA STATE SCORE, TAKEAWAYS: Walk-off blocked extra point saves ‘Noles late surge from Tigers

Despite a roaring comeback that took advantage of several Florida State miscues, it was LSU who committed the final offense in the Seminoles’ 24-23 victory Sunday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Trailing 24-10 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers scored the game’s final 13 points, but a blocked extra point cost them a comeback in overtime.

LSU quarterback Jaden Daniels hit Jarre Jenkins for a 2-yard touchdown with 1 second left to end a 99-yard drive that began with an FSU goal-line fumble for the game-tying score. But Damian Ramos’ extra point was blocked by Shyheim Brown, with no time on the clock to give ‘Noles the win.

LSU had a late chance to tie the game when Brian Thomas Jr. was ruled out of bounds at the 1-yard line on the opening kickoff. Replays showed he was in bounds.

It was a wild end to a stellar run that should never have happened. A rare fumble by the ‘Noles rushing attack gave LSU a chance to tie it late. Treshaun Ward returned an errant pitch at the goal line with 1:20 left for LSU. That’s why Daniels had the opportunity to lead his team on the field.

It was a remarkable turn of events, as Florida State appeared to have won when LSU’s Malik Nabbers fumbled a punt at the 8-yard line with 2:05 left. Ward had two carries for 8 yards and forced LSU to punt on their first timeout. There was a fumble on the first play coming out of timeout.

A dramatic fourth quarter was the story of the night, but Florida State QB Jordan Travis was the star of the evening. The second-year starter hit Ontario Wilson on a double reverse play-flicker for a 39-yard score early in the second quarter to put the ‘Noles up 7-3, a lead they would never relinquish. Travis connected with Wilson again in the third quarter on a beautiful over-the-shoulder layup near the right pylon to make it a 17-3 ball game and put even more pressure on a Tigers team that couldn’t get going offensively. Travis finished with two touchdowns, eight carries and 31 yards rushing for 260 yards on 20-32 carries.

Daniels gets the start for coach Brian Kelly, making his debut in purple and gold after 12 years of success at Notre Dame. He was 26 of 35 for 209 yards and two touchdowns, adding 114 yards on the ground. An offensive line that simply couldn’t contain Florida State’s defensive front was part of the reason Daniels was the only effective offense based on it. LSU gave up six tackles for loss, including four sacks.

What are the primary images of a thriller set in New Orleans?

Travis is the real deal

The ‘Noles’ signal caller looked like a different player Saturday in a hostile environment on one of the biggest stages of his career. Ontario Wilson’s over-the-shoulder pass for FSU’s touchdown in the third quarter couldn’t have been better placed, and the fourth-quarter drive that made it a 24-10 game included a huge 15-yard reception on a run-over by middle-to-large 6-foot-7 target Johnny Wilson.

This is a great sign going forward. The ACC is loaded with stud quarterbacks, and Travis isn’t included in a group that includes Devin Leary, Tyler Van Dyke, Kedan Slovis and others. Go ahead and add Travis to that group, as he looked like a bona fide star against a speedy and physical Tigers defense.

A special team told the story

Everyone will remember the missed extra point with no time on the clock, but it was the blocked field goal attempt on the previous play of the game that made Brown’s decisive play of the game.

Ramos’ first field goal attempt of the night was a 30-yarder that was blocked by Jared Vers coming through the left side of the Tigers offensive line. Kelly told reporters after the game that the pressure was enough for the Tigers to make some changes. Clearly, it didn’t work and opened the door for Brown to make history.

Knobbers, who muffed two punts on the night, was solid in practice and Kelly said after the game that he was shocked to fumble two times during the game. It’s clear he’ll be revisiting his punt return line after the game because those mistakes don’t happen.

Third downs were huge

Third-down conversion percentage is one of the most important stats in college football, and Florida State was on the money when it mattered most against LSU. The Seminoles converted 11 of 17 attempts, including 5 of 8 in the second half. Travis is a big reason for that. He was 8 of 12 for 92 yards and a touchdown on third downs, and all eight of his completions moved the chains. It helped the ‘Noles win the possession battle and rattled a Tigers defense that had no answer for most of the game. It worked both ways. LSU’s offense finally got going in the fourth quarter, but converted just 3 of 7 through the first three quarters. LSU has a lot of problems, and third down on both sides of the ball should be at the top of its list of problems.

LSU’s offensive line needs work

A major concern going into the season is that it remains an issue. Daniels never looked comfortable and was relegated to the “one read and bail” quarterback for most of the evening. This led to a lot of frustration, especially for star wide receiver Keishon Bode; The two were caught having some apparently serious conversations on air.

It’s not an easy thing to talk about either. The most important part of any offensive line’s progress is continuity, and that was clearly shown with the four new starters up front. Fortunately for LSU, Daniels is mobile enough to escape and make some plays with these legs when needed. This is not sustainable for a full season. Especially in the SEC West, the front seven is loaded with studs.

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