Grading Brian Kelly, LSU football in gut-punching loss to FSU: Here's who got the F-
NEW ORLEANS - LSU football began the Brian Kelly era with a 24-23 loss.
The Tigers (0-1) struggled on offense for nearly three quarters and the defense failed to get off the field on third down against Florida State (1-0).
And none of that includes LSU's woes on special teams: two muffed punts, a blocked field goal and a game-sealing blocked PAT.
Here's the first report card of the Kelly era.
The Tigers moved the ball but struggled to protect Jayden Daniels or establish any running game besides the quarterback himself scrambling for yards. Daniels was constantly off schedule with his new receivers until late in the third quarter, when his offensive line afforded him better protection as Florida State's pass rush wore down.
LSU's defense did a good job of limiting big plays and came up with some timely stops in the red zone. But the Tigers also struggled to get off the field on third down, and Ali Gaye's ejection in the third quarter for targeting was an unforced error, especially following Maason Smith's injury.
Damian Ramos made his first field goal and Jay Bramblett's first punt went well. But it went downhill fast from there. The Tigers had a field goal attempt blocked, a punt muffed and a shanked punt — and that was only the first half.
Malik Nabers muffed two punts, including one in the fourth quarter when LSU had a chance to drive the field and tie the game. After LSU regained possession at its 1-yard line following an FSU fumble, Ramos' blocked extra point sealed the 24-23 loss and negated a 99-yard miracle drive that should have tied it.
Finding the right grade is difficult, given how unfamiliar LSU's coaching staff is with their players in comparison to Florida State's. But the Tigers' subpar communication on the offensive line and special teams woes were notable. Mental errors fall on the coaches.
It was an ugly performance for LSU. The only saving grace is the Tigers are breaking in a new coaching staff, new starting quarterback and new faces up and down the lineup.
ZION FERGUSON COMMITS TO LSULSU football lands 4-star CB Zion Ferguson. Here's what to know
JAYDEN DANIELS TO STARTLSU football, Brian Kelly to start Jayden Daniels at quarterback against FSU | Report
LSU FOOTBALL PREDICTIONLSU football scouting report, score prediction for season opener against FSU
Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser and the USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.