Pass heavy offensive attack gives White Team a victory over Purple Team in LSU spring game
BATON ROUGE – LSU freshman quarterback Garrett Nussmeier found wide receiver Koy Moore from 4 yards out in the waning seconds of the 2021 National L Club LSU Spring Game presented by Tony Chachere's to secure the White team a 23-14 win over the Purple team on Saturday afternoon in Tiger Stadium.
LSU's four quarterbacks combined for 512 yards in passing offense as they rotated between the two teams and combined for four touchdowns. Senior Myles Brennan completed 12-of-20 attempts for 116 yards with one touchdown pass. Sophomore Max Johnson was 11-of-17 passing for 180 yards and a game-high two touchdown passes, while sophomore TJ Finley was 10-of-18 for 84 yards. Nussmeier finished 15-for-25 passing for 132 yards and the final touchdown pass of the game.
The White team struck first on its second drive of the afternoon, capping off an eight-play, 38-yard drive with a 50-yard field goal from placekicker Cade York to lead 3-0. White's defense continued the strong start to the game on the following drive when cornerback Raydarious Jones intercepted Finley's pass on 3rd-and-7 to register the first turnover in the game.
With 8:14 left in the second quarter, York once again got the White team on the board by finishing an eight-play, 51-yard drive with a 47-yard field goal to extend the lead to 6-0. The White team once again followed up a scoring drive with a defensive turnover, this time with linebacker Antoine Sampah intercepting Nussmeier on third-and-6. On the ensuing drive, placekicker Preston Stafford pushed White's lead to 9-0 with a 27-yard field goal with 1:38 left to play in the half.
Three plays after Stafford's field goal, Team White outside linebacker Soni Fonua forced a fumble in open field that saw freshman defensive back Derrick Davis Jr. recover the ball for White. Brennan led an eight-play, 52-yard drive that ended with a 39-yard touchdown to wide receiver Kayshon Boutte to score the first touchdown of the game and give White a 16-0 lead at halftime.
The Purple team began the second half strongly, stopping White on fourth-and-1 to force a turnover on downs. Purple followed the defensive stop with a five-play, 50-yard drive that was capped off by a 47-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to wide receiver Jontre Kirklin that cut Purple's deficit to 16-7 with 6:29 left in the third quarter.
Following a defensive stop from Purple, Johnson once again found Kirklin in the endzone, this time from 19 yards out to end a five-play, 61-yard drive and bring the score to 16-14. On the following drive, cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. intercepted a deep pass from Finley along the left sideline to give Purple its first turnover of the game.
Defense shined in the fourth quarter, with both White and Purple holding their offensive foes to limited yards. Jay Ward got Purple's second turnover of the afternoon, picking off Nussmeier at White's 43-yard line. Following a three-and-out drive for Purple, linebacker Jared Small secured the final turnover of the game after intercepting Nussmeier and returning the ball 34 yards into the red zone. Following three unsuccessful plays, Stafford's field goal from 48 sailed wide of the mark and the score remained 16-14 in favor of White.
Nussmeier recovered quickly, leading an eight-play, 70-yard drive that ended with his touchdown pass to Moore that gave White a 23-14 walk off win.
Running back Tyrion Davis-Price led the afternoon in rushing yards, with 76 yards on 15 attempts. In the receiving game, Boutte and Kirklin both had strong days, with Kirklin leading with 166 yards and two touchdowns on 10 catches while Boutte had 162 yards and one touchdown on 11 catches.
The Tigers now will concentrate on the end of the spring semester team turns their attention to the start of the 2021 football season on Saturday, September 4, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
LSU Head Coach Ed Ogeron
"In the beginning of spring we asked our guys to give us 15 great days and they did, as did our coaching staff. Our coaching staff has gelled and done a great job of creating a positive energy and culture. We have had some tremendous practices. We put in a lot of offense and defense. Obviously, we were limited today in what we were going to do. We didn't do a lot offensively and obviously a whole lot of defense and none of our special teams. I thought that we gave the quarterbacks a very good shot today. Each one of them had a shot. It was a struggle for offense today. It was a good job on defense. I think when you look at our secondary, they're probably the most improved out of everybody on our football team. Daronte Jones has done a tremendous job. Those guys were playing solid football today. Today we played maybe two coverages, and didn't blitz. I thought the front played well. For the linebackers, the tackles went well. Offense has shown a better production than they showed today. I'm just going to give it to the defense. Overall, a great spring game."
On Jared Small and Jontre Kirklin showing out today …
"Yeah, it's good to see. To be honest with you, Jared Small has had a great spring. I haven't mentioned him much, but he is going to play for us. He has played very well. Jontre has had a good spring as well. He was limited for some days that he was hurt. I am very proud of those guys. Both guys are fifth year seniors. They're very experienced and both of them had a good game. It was good to see. But that is what we have been seeing every day in practice."
On what he saw today in regard to the quarterbacks …
"I have to look at it on film, but I am looking at Miles' (Brennan) 11 for 15, 106 passing yard. I think Max (Johnson) was 8 of 13, with 77 passing. Garrett (Nussmeier) 7 of 12, TJ (Finley) 4 of 9. I think what you saw out there today is what you will see in spring ball. We come off the field and one day Garrett could be the best quarterback, then the next day it was TJ and, then the next day it was Miles, then the next day it was Max. I think that when we come back to camp, we are going to have to designate a certain amount of reps for certain guys. We will give the first and second guy more reps. I think that is going to be a process during camp."
LSU Offensive Lineman Ed Ingram
On LSU's offense resembling the 2019 team…
"It's good to show people we can be that same kind of offense again. We could possibly be better, but we have some stuff to work on. We did not do everything we wanted to do today, we made a few mistakes, but this offense is looking great. We had some signs of life and a few big plays and the stuff we did today was amazing."
On the offense and defense feeding of each other's momentum…
"I mean we feed off each other's energy. You have the defense playing well one week and then it fires up the offense and the next week we go at it again. It kind of correlated with the scrimmage today. We are cheering on each other. We may get beat, but we still cheer each other on. That is the DNA we are building here right now. I'm proud of the guys for encouraging each other. At the end of the day, we are all one team, and this is the best team we will play, so if we can do it against each other, we can definitely do that to an opponent."
On what to expect from the offense during the season…
"We have a lot of stuff coming. We wanted to hold some stuff back today, but that was just a taste of what the offense will look life. Y'all are in for a show when the season comes."
LSU Wide Receiver Kayshon Boutte
On how the new offense with Jake Peetz felt…
"I feel like it was good today, he showed a little bit, but not too much because it's just a spring game. We practiced hard all spring for it, and we showed out today. We could improve in some areas, but I think all together we did good as an offense and defense; there's always room for improvement."
On the battles between receivers and corner backs in the spring…
"It's been like that every day, all day, every practice. Everybody talks their noise, it's all about the one-on-ones, and you have to win yours."
On what he saw from the quarterbacks…
"I feel like we honestly have the best quarterback room in the country. All of them are getting better at times, we're all working on things, running routes and everything, but altogether I think they played good as a quarterback room."
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