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Baton Rouge, Louisiana — Jayden Daniels accounted for 606 total yards and five touchdowns and became the first quarterback in FBS history to pass for at least 350 yards and rush for 200 yards in a game as LSU defeated No. 19 Florida 52-35 on Saturday night.
Daniels continued to make his case for a Heisman Trophy, leading the Tigers (7-3, 5-2 SEC) to touchdowns on five straight possessions in the second half, completing 17 of 26 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns, and running 12 times. For 234 yards and two touchdowns.
“if [Daniels] He didn’t win [the Heisman Trophy] “Tonight, he should be the favorite,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said. “Unless the Heisman is just about popularity. If you want to be the most popular, fine, but he’s the best player in college football.”
“He did something tonight that no one has ever done before. If that doesn’t make you a leading candidate, maybe the Heisman isn’t really an MVP.”
After being in concussion protocol all week leading up to the game due to the injury he suffered last week against Alabama, Daniels was quick to give credit to his teammates and support staff.
He added: “God created me to be tough and get over things quickly.” “This was my first concussion to recover from, and I did everything they said I needed to do to play and progress every day. It all worked out.
“I try to be as patient as possible and leave the play open, but when I see an open lane, I’ll be decisive and take it.”
Florida (5-5, 3-4 SEC) took a third-quarter lead 28-24 on 21-yard runs by Trevor Etienne and Graham Mertz’s one-yard run.
But Daniels scored from 51 yards out on the ground and then found Noah Cain on LSU’s next possession for a 38-yard touchdown pass to make it 38-28.
His career night continued into the fourth quarter when he connected with Brian Thomas for a 37-yard touchdown to make the score 45-35.
Daniels connected with Thomas again late in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Thomas had 150 yards on six catches and a pair of scores.
LSU led by 10 points early in the second quarter. Damian Ramos had a 28-yard field goal and Daniels added an 85-yard run, the longest in LSU history by a quarterback, to make it 17-7.
“These guys usually get tired,” Kelly said of the long-term quarterback. “Smokey the Bear usually jumps on his back about 30 yards away, gets into the lactic acid and disappears. [Jayden] Keep moving forward. He is an exceptional athlete. He’s the best playmaker in the country. I’ve watched them all.
“You can say what you want, we’re 7-3 and everyone else is undefeated. It doesn’t mean anything. What matters is who’s the best player, who’s the best player. A night like tonight kind of reinforces that.” “.
Both teams scored on their opening possessions. LSU took a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Josh Williams that capped a 7-play, 75-yard drive.
Florida answered, going 75 yards in 8 plays, and tying the game at 7 when Mertz found Eugene Wilson III for a 9-yard touchdown.
Etienne led the Gators, rushing for 99 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.
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