Blocked PAT lifts Florida State over LSU

Quarterback Jordan Travis passed for 260 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday night’s victory.
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By Trey Iles

NEW ORLEANS – It had the makings of one of the most memorable miracle comebacks in LSU football’s storied history. But a blocked extra point attempt by Florida State’s Shyheim Brown with no time left spoiled the party and left Seminoles’ fans in euphoria.

Brown’s block gave the Seminoles a 24-23 victory in a back-and-forth down-past-the-wire game in the Allstate Louisiana Kickoff before 68,388 fans in the Caesars Superdome on Sunday night. The game was hosted by the Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee in partnership with the Louisiana Office of Tourism and Allstate.

“We talked to our team all week that this game could come down to one play, to one opportunity,’’ Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “And as you watch throughout the course of the game, I thought our guys displayed an incredible heart. Obviously, there at the end, we had some things that happened that we just can’t have. But the one thing that happened on the last play is what we absolutely need.

“It’s determination. It’s heart. It’s a willingness that, even after a disappointing moment, our guys responded. Anybody that’s around our program, they know they hear that word all the time, “respond.’’ How do you respond when the challenges arise? And effort showed up, (Brown) made a play there at the very end and gave us an opportunity to win that game.’’

Trailing 24-17 with 1:20 left, LSU (0-1) recovered a Florida State (2-0) fumble at its own 1. Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels then engineered a classic 99-yard touchdown drive that culminated when he passed 2 yards to wide receiver Jaray Jenkins for a touchdown as time expired.

But Brown, who broke through the left side of LSU’s extra point protection line, got a hand on LSU kicker Damian Ramos’ attempt as it hit the bottom of the cross bar and bounced to the turf.

The loss spoiled the debut of LSU coach Brian Kelly, whom the university hired from Notre Dame in the offseason.

“(Florida State) outplayed us in the first half,’’ Kelly said. “Certainly, mistake after mistake after mistake for us and particularly in the first half. And, you know, obviously more mistakes in the second half. We started to overcome some of those and played with, I would consider, more of a sense of urgency the last 12 minutes. But our margin for error was so small that we couldn’t make any more mistakes.

“I was proud of our resolve. We battled. But we just have to learn how to play the game the right way, and that is for four quarters. We didn’t play with the kind of sense of urgency that I want for four quarters, and that was evident in our play. We didn’t tackle very well. We couldn’t get off the field on third down. We didn’t execute very well offensively.’’

But it was an impressive comeback by LSU, which trailed 24-10 with 9:04 left to play and hadn’t shown much offense until the end of the game.

Daniels and Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis both produced fabulous performances. Travis passed for 260 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 31 yards.

“That (LSU’s) was one of the best defensive lines in the country,’’ Norvell said. “They’ve got some really good players all over the field. And I thought that Jordan’s decision-making, the way that he located the ball, the command of the offense was very good.’’

Daniels, a transfer from Arizona State making his debut with the Tigers, passed for 209 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 114 yards on 16 carries. Neither Daniels nor Travis threw an interception.

Daniels was clutch in the final drive, completing 7-of-8 passes for 66 yards and rushing for 33 yards.

“We got into a better rhythm certainly in the second half, Jayden did,’’ Kelly said. “And he’s a threat. But we don’t want to rely on him having to go back there. And when he does sit in the pocket, we saw his ability to find open receivers, show the patience and in particular on the last touchdown, he stayed in the pocket, showed great patience and found Jaray Jenkins in the back of the end zone.’’