TODD HORNE: I don’t know what we thought . . . but we were clearly ‘mistaken’

Camping World Stadium
Photo by LSU Athletics
Brian Kelly ROASTS Team After Blowout Loss To Florida State I CBS Sports

I never bought into the narrative that LSU vs Florida State was going to be a close game.


In fact, I predicted it would be a 21-point spread.

Yep. I did. Unfortunately, it is recorded and will live forever.

I predicted LSU would win 48-27. That’s 21 points – in the wrong direction.

Of course, LSU coach Brian Kelly also went on the record and said, “we’re going to beat the heck out of Florida State.” His statement was also recorded.

Clearly, I didn’t know what I was talking about. Clearly, I was not alone.

Turns out I was mistaken. But it appears Kelly and LSU were, too.

Florida State won by 21 points, 45-24, and it was the Seminoles who beat the heck out of LSU on Sunday night in the most embarrassing loss of the Brian Kelly era.

The real question now is where Brian Kelly and the Tigers go from here.

Can LSU recover from the beating Florida State put on them in the second half?

Is the PTSD going to last all season for this LSU team?

Just where is LSU going to go from here?

The most obvious answer to the question, at least on the surface, is down. LSU will plummet from its No. 5 ranking, most likely to somewhere around 20 or 21. Rankings, however, should be the least of LSU’s concerns after Florida State beat the Tigers senseless in the second half on Sunday night in Orlando.

LSU led 17-14 at halftime but was outscored 31-0 in the second half before Jayden Daniels found Brian Thomas open late in the fourth quarter and Thomas managed to juke a backup defensive back and sprint the rest of the 75 yards to pay dirt with under two minutes to play in the game.

Sadly for LSU, the game was over long before Thomas crossed the goal line.

LSU could have and should have been up by at least 17 points at halftime, 31-14.

Imagine that.

Honestly, LSU should have led Florida State 31-14 at halftime even though Daniels was the Tigers’ only rushing threat – again, and even though LSU’s offensive line couldn’t protect Daniels effectively, even though its defensive backfield couldn’t cover Florida State’s receivers, and even though LSU couldn’t sack Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis.

Still, LSU entered the red zone five times against the No. 8 Seminoles in the first half but twice failed on fourth downs and came away with no points on those two occasions. One time LSU was at the one-yard line.

The truth is LSU’s offense moved up and down the field virtually at will against the Seminoles defense in the first half – at least between the 20s.

If you, like me, wondered why Kelly and LSU decided to go for it again on fourth down a couple of series after the first futile attempt a little later in the first half, deciding to forgo a give-me field goal, you must not have seen that second half coming.

Apparently, Kelly knew LSU needed to try to pile up the points as quickly as it could while its offense still had some life left in it in the first half before the clock struck midnight at halftime for the LSU offense. Kelly must have had a foreboding sense of the doom that awaited LSU in the second half.

Even though LSU led only 17-14 – by three instead of the 17-point lead it should have had – the Tigers were still in control heading into the final two quarters.

One would have thought so, anyway.

Of course, one would have been wrong.

Florida State scored every single time it touched the ball in the second half except for its final possession when it went into the victory formation so the garnet and gold clad faithful drunk on Tiger blood could celebrate their tomahawk chants like they were in Doak Campbell Stadium even though they weren’t.

Florida State took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 60 yards in nine plays before settling for a field goal to tie the game at 17-17.

LSU failed to respond offensively and punted.

Florida State then went 87 yards in seven plays to score a touchdown and take a 24-17 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Florida State next got the ball in the fourth quarter. The Seminoles went 57 yards, 57 yards and 54 yards, all culminating in touchdowns. Florida State threw the ball where it wanted, when it wanted, and ran the ball with equal effectiveness as its defense completely befuddled and suffocated LSU’s offense until the subs went in and Daniels found Thomas for his lone touchdown of the game.

“They were the better football team tonight,” Kelly said afterwards. “And we certainly are not the football team that I thought we were.”

Kelly continued.

He bemoaned the failure to take advantage of the scoring opportunities in the first half. He said it was the coaches’ fault for not developing the team. Kelly pointed out the team played with no sense of urgency in the second half. He said he wasn’t sure who they thought they were.

“For some reason, we thought we were somebody else,” Kelly said. “We thought we were the two-time national champion Georgia Bulldogs or something.

“I don’t know what we thought, but we were mistaken, right?”



  1. My input on Tiger loss: Tigers coaches outcoached… going on 4th down 2x was dumb up the middle 5-6x…a dropped punt loss like last year cost a possession… dropped 2 perfect passes that killed key drives… defense blitz was weak… not one holding call on FSU…
    QB Nuss should have been tried a series.
    Still running very late in the game for losses.
    It starts with the Coaches…they win a half despite bad play but play calling awful after that… no adjustments…
    they could have won…

  2. Doug, if LSU had taken advantage of its scoring opportunities in the first half that it failed to capitalize on and led 31-14 or even 27 or 23-14 at halftime, do you think it would have changed the outcome? Do you think Florida State would have still scored 31 unanswered points in the second half?

    • When you lose 3 possessions (punt drop/2 key pass drops) and fail to score a point 2x down close early …oh, add the pick we got that went no where…what was the point potential? (35 potential points)
      How many minutes of FSU offense time could Tigers have taken sent in and players unfocused in another world…
      as a fan since 1958 I have seen it all…

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