Jayden Daniels leads the way for LSU football to stay alive in College Football Playoff chase
BATON ROUGE - It was cold, wet and uneventful.
UAB (5-6) got off to a hot start with points on its opening two possessions but was quickly slowed down by LSU (9-2). The Blazers picked up first downs on just two of its next eight drives. LSU's run defense was excellent, mostly shutting down the nation's No. 2 rushing yards leader DeWayne McBride.
LSU (No. 7 AFCA Coaches/No. 6 AP) played much better on offense in comparison to last week, especially quarterback Jayden Daniels. He had 297 passing yards and 11 rushing yards before getting pulled for Garrett Nussmeier with the game out of hand in the fourth quarter. Against Arkansas last week, Daniels had just 86 passing yards.
The win keeps the Tigers in the College Football Playoff chase.
Here's a closer look at the win for LSU.
A bad start for the secondary
The top objective heading into the game for LSU's defense was to slow down McBride. McBride had 1,407 rushing yards and was averaging 6.9 yards per carry.
McBride had just 14 rushing yards in the first quarter, so the defense did its job.
Or so they thought.
UAB quarterback Dylan Hopkins completed his opening eight pass attempts for 85 yards and led the Blazers to scores on their opening two drives. The first score – a touchdown – was gifted in large part because of a 66-yard kick return that handed UAB the ball at the LSU 30. The field goal on the following drive was an 11-play, 63-yard drive.
It was a rough start for a defense that was so dominant at Arkansas. Following the opening play of the second quarter, which is when the field goal occurred, LSU only held a 14-10 lead.
However, the defense played better in the second quarter, holding UAB scoreless for the rest of the game after the Blazers hit a field goal on the first snap of the second quarter.
Florida, Ole Miss and Alabama Jayden Daniels comes back
Daniels had just eight completions against Arkansas, 30 yards fewer than what Razorbacks backup quarterbacks Cade Fortin and Malik Hornsby produced.
But in the first half on Saturday, the Arizona State transfer got back to playing the kind of football that led the Tigers to wins over Ole Miss and Alabama. Daniels completed 15-of-19 passes for 229 yards in the first half, also rushing for 78 yards.
He led LSU to touchdowns on four of its first five drives, throwing a perfect 47-yard completion to Malik Nabers on his first throw of the game to kick off his hot start.
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Shutting down McBride
LSU's pass defense may have struggled early, but the Tigers' run defense was stout for the entire game. McBride, who entered Saturday with the second-most rushing yards in the nation, was held to just 29 yards on 11 carries through the first three quarters, good for 2.6 yards per carry.
The Tigers' run defense has been incredibly stout since their win over Florida. They've allowed less than 140 yards rushing each week since.
Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser and the USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.