Staying on task: No. 6 LSU extends win streak to five games in 41-10 triumph over UAB

Tigers expect to vault in this week's College Football Playoff rankings

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) accounted for 408 yards of total yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's 41-10 home win over UAB. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

LSU remained on task to enjoy all of the spoils that come with a successful conclusion to the regular season.

The No. 6 Tigers extended their winning streak to a season-high five games, and quarterback Jayden Daniels accounted for more than 400 yards and two touchdowns, in a dominant 41-10 victory Saturday before an announced Tiger Stadium crowd of 97,367

LSU (9-2) closes out next week at Texas A&M at 6 p.m. where the Southeastern Conference West Division champions look to continue building steam for their Dec. 3 appearance in the league’s championship game in Atlanta against Georgia.

“I told our team that in our we have a meeting before we come out to the stadium it’s called our mental edge. And I told him I want to be able to come out in front of the media and talk about the growth of this football team and in particular the mental toughness that that they have acquired over the year. Let me articulate this the right way.

“Mental toughness to me and our team is accountability,” LSU football coach Brian Kelly said. “It’s the ability to count on their teammates and themselves, to do it the right way, to do their job the right way when it’s needed in the right way, That’s taken time and they did that today is my point. When you look across college football today that many teams struggled to play their best version of themselves.

“This team did that, against a team if you listen to people talk, you know you’re supposed to beat them,” Kelly said. “And it requires an accountability that you’re intentional in what you do. You do your job when you’re supposed to do your job and you do it the right way. The way it’s been taught. I’m so proud of our mental toughness and their ability to do it the right way, late in November against a team they’re supposed to beat. The wins have been nice, the individual achievements have been really neat, the SEC West championship. But I’m most proud of the mental toughness that this group has shown.”

The Tigers are also expected to climb the ladder in Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings and replace Tennessee, which lost 63-38 to South Carolina, in the No. 5 position.

Despite less-than-desirable conditions, where teams were greeted by rain and cold temperatures, Daniels delivered one of his sharper performances. He completed 22-of-29 passes for 297 yards with a touchdown and added 111 yards and a score on 12 rushes, totaling 408 yards in all.

“We wanted to bounce back from what we felt was offensively less than our best game and I think Arkansas had something to do with it,” Kelly said. “But we had some fun doing it and Jayden prepared really well. You can make the case that this was his best game of the year. He pushed the ball down the field vertically, he saw things, he was assertive. I think he was responsible for over 400 yards. Any type of quarterback does that, that’s a pretty good day.”

Running back Noah Cain stepped up to fill the void left behind by Josh Williams and Armoni Goodwin and carried 13 times for 76 yards and three touchdowns. Malik Nabers led the Tigers with seven catches for 129 yards – 18.4 yards per catch.

LSU put together a stretch of 27 unanswered points that included second-half touchdowns from Daniels on a 2-yard keeper and a 5-yard TD pass to Brian Thomas Jr.

LSU outgained UAB (5-6) 565-259 and kept the Blazers scoreless after the first play of the second quarter when Matt Quinn made a 29-yard field goal. In addition to being without their top two running backs, the Tigers also starting Marlon Martinez at center for an injured Charles Turner and wide receiver Kayshon Boutte, who warmed up in pregame, didn’t play.

The Tigers’ defense, led by the eight tackles of Greg Penn III, limited the nation’s leading running back DeWayne McBride to 13 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown.

Despite the inclement weather, LSU’s offense was a ray of sunshine in the opening half.

The Tigers scored on four of five possessions and produced a 28-10 halftime advantage on the strength of Cain’s three rushing runs.

A week after passing for 86 yards, Daniels was in a far better rhythm with 229 yards passing on 15 of 19 passing, and he accounted for 307 total yards in the half.

With Williams out and Goodwin reportedly to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury, Cain took advantage of his expanded role and scored on runs of 5 and a pair of 1-yard bursts. He came into the game with four touchdowns on the season.

LSU swapped touchdowns with UAB in the first six minutes of the game.

Daniels connected with Nabers in stride on a 47-yard completion to spark the team’s opening drive which ended on John Emery Jr.’s 2-yard score at the 10:44 mark.

LSU’s special teams allowed a 66-yard kickoff return to UAB’s Jermaine Brown Jr., and the Blazers were in the end zone in three plays with McBride adding to his school-record touchdown mark, scoring on a 6-yard effort, for his 18th of the season that tied the game at 7-7.

LSU took the lead for good on Cain’s 5-yard score and held UAB to a 29-yard field goal from Quinn on the first play of the second quarter after the Blazers had reached the Tigers’ 6-yard line.

It was the final time they would score again.

The lone blemishes for LSU came when Emery fumbled in the red zone after a hit by UAB’s Keondre Swoopes and Noah Wilder recovered at the 8-yard line with 12:29 left in the second quarter. He also fumbled on the first play of the fourth quarter at the end of a 14-yard gain.

After LSU’s defense forced a punt, the offense scored on its last two series of the half and crossed the 300-yard mark in total offense in the process. Cain capped both drives with 1-yard runs, the second coming with 40 seconds showing before halftime.

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William Weathers

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