It was a night to remember for Jayden Daniels. Despite a slow start from the LSU signal-caller, his second half performance earned him his first SEC win over a gritty Mississippi State squad.
Daniels finished the night going 22-of-37 for 210 yards and two total touchdowns, but it was his fourth quarter efficiency that shined brightest. The Arizona State transfer connected with sophomore wide receiver Malik Nabers on a number of plays to seal the deal Saturday night, specifically on a touchdown drive that put LSU up 24-16.
Nabers erupted in the fourth quarter. The young wideout caught four passes for 51 yards on one drive, but the most important play came as a result of his 27-yard reception to get the Tigers within scoring range.
“They had been giving us enough man that on one side of the formation, we had a man-beater and on the other side we had a zone concept with the back…It was a 1-on-1 with Malik [Nabers] and a lot of field to work with,” Kelly said. “So, Jayden did a really good job recognizing the man coverage and putting the ball out there. The first couple of throws down the left side he opened up and I reminded him he was getting a little bit open and voiding his shoulders. He tightened it up and Malik made a nice catch.”
Kelly has spoken highly of the Daniels-Nabers connection, but Saturday night saw the two of them reach new heights. After a challenging first game against Florida State, Nabers has shaken back in a big way.
“[Daniels] does feel comfortable getting the ball to him,” Kelly said. “We’ll get it to Kayshon [Boutte] too. He gets a little bit more coverage and help over the top, so Malik’s the beneficiary of it. It’s much more about Kayshon sometimes getting the double coverage which leaves Malik in a really good situation and Jayden sees that.”
Now, the duo looks to continue their run into the rest of the season. Asserting their dominance in their first SEC showdown, the time is now for the Daniels-Nabers show to continue evolving into something special.