Bryce Young and Jayden Daniels will hold an LA reunion in La. on Saturday night when No. 6 Alabama plays at No. 10 LSU (7 p.m., ESPN) in Baton Rouge, La.
First place in the Southeastern Conference West will be on the line as Alabama (7-1) and LSU (6-2) are tied in the league at 4-1, but revenge will also be on tap. Young may have won the Heisman Trophy last season for Alabama and reached the national championship game, but as a youngster growing up in the Los Angeles area, he lost to Daniels.
“I played Bryce when we were younger in Pop Warner football,” Daniels told the SEC Network this week. “Beat his team a couple times. We’re both kids from southern California. It’s going to be fun going out there playing Bryce in Tiger Stadium.”
Bryce Young Has 21 Career Starts
Young, a third-year junior from Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, grew up in the Los Angeles area as did Daniels, a fourth-year junior from Cajon High in San Bernardino who transferred to LSU after starting from 2019-21 at Arizona State.
“We’re close,” Daniels said. “We went to the same camps and played in the same circuits.”
And statistically through eight games this season, they are very close.
Bryce Young has completed 66 percent of his passes (146 of 221) for 1,906 yards and 18 touchdowns with three interceptions. Daniels has completed 69.9 percent of his (165 of 236) for 1,812 yards and 12 touchdowns with one interception. Young is No. 3 in the SEC and 16th nationally in passing efficiency at 162.7 Daniels is No. 6 in the SEC and 40th nationally in efficiency at 150.3.
“In many instances, you can’t defend him because he’s so elusive, and he wants to throw the football,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said of Young. “He could take off so many times, but he’s trying to find receivers down the field. And just has a great awareness, a sense. He’s a true quarterback. He’s not a scramble-around guy that’s just throwing it up there. He’s very intentional about everything that he does. He’s not taking sacks. He’s the Heisman Trophy winner, and he should be. He’s the best player in college football.”
Alabama QB Bryce Young Is Off Heisman Pace of 2021
Actually, though, Young is off his pace of last season when he threw for 4,872 yards and finished seventh in the nation in efficiency at 167.5. And Alabama’s offense has struggled overall more this season under second-year coordinator Bill O’Brien. Young does appear at 100 percent or close to it after spraining his shoulder on Oct. 1 at Arkansas and missing the Texas A&M game. He completed 21 of 35 for 249 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-6 win over Mississippi State on Oct. 22 before an open date last week.
Daniels, meanwhile, has been on fire in recent weeks. He completed 22 of 32 for 349 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 14 times for 44 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-35 win at Florida on Oct. 22. He followed that by completing 21 of 28 for 248 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 23 times for 121 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-20 win over Ole Miss. Daniels is LSU’s leading rusher with 524 yards on 113 carries.
“Jayden Daniels is probably as good a quarterback when it comes to passing and running as anybody you’re going to face,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
Well, he’s no Hendon Hooker, the Tennessee quarterback who is No. 2 in the nation in efficiency at 191.6 on 156-of-219 passing for 2,338 yards and 21 touchdowns. Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud is No. 1 in efficiency at 200.2 on 159-of-223 passing for 2,377 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Hooker and the No. 1 Vols will be at No. 3 Georgia (3:30 p.m., CBS), while Stroud and the No. 2 Buckeyes will be at Northwestern at noon on ABC. Stroud is also from the LA area and played at Rancho Cucamanga High – 15 minutes from Cajon High, where Daniels played.
“Yeah, C.J. Stroud, too, me, Bryce, we all played each other when we were younger,” Daniels said.
Mike Leach’s AD Handbook – Separate Rats From Elephants
Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach hopes his new athletic director is as adept at prioritizing as his former athletic director John Cohen was. State has to replace Cohen, who was hired Monday to be Auburn’s athletic director.
“The key to being a good athletic director is knowing what needs to be addressed right now and knowing what you can wait out,” he said. “You don’t want to go around picking up rat turds when there’s elephant turds flying everywhere. You know, let’s try to focus on the elephants instead.”
Leach hopes the new athletic director blends in at State.
“I think it’s a fantastic place,” said Leach, who came to Starkville from Washington State after the 2019 season. “I think it’s a very down to earth place, and I think it’s a pragmatic place that tries to figure out solutions to problems, rather than get wound up and politically kissing too many rings. The athletic director’s role is to provide support, not coach.”
“Oh, I think it’s a great job because this is a great place to live,” he said. “The people you work with are great, too. It’s not perfect. I’d definitely purge a couple. But not very many. Less here than most places.”
Saturday Predictions, DraftKings Spreads
(College Football Playoff Rankings)
Kentucky at Missouri (Even), 12 p.m., SEC Network … Kentucky 20, Missouri 10.
Florida at Texas A&M (3-point favorite), 12 p.m., ESPN … Texas A&M 17, Florida 10.
No. 1 Tennessee at No. 3 Georgia (8-point favorite), 3:30 p.m., CBS … Tennessee 31, Georgia 27.
Liberty (7-1) at Arkansas (13.5-point favorite), 4 p.m., SEC Network … Arkansas 37, Liberty 27.
No. 6 Alabama (13.5-point favorite) at No. 10 LSU, 7 p.m., ESPN … Alabama 31, LSU 24.
No. 13 Kansas State (6-2) at No. 24 Texas (5-3, 2.5-point favorite), 7 p.m., FS1 … Kansas State 31, Texas 28.
No. 4 Clemson (8-0, 3.5-point favorite) at Notre Dame (5-3), 7:30 p.m., NBC … Clemson 24, Notre Dame 14.
Auburn at Mississippi State (13-point favorite), 7:30 p.m., ESPN2 … Mississippi State 27, Auburn 10.
South Carolina (7-point favorite) at Vanderbilt, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network … South Carolina 41, Vanderbilt 20.
No. 21 Wake Forest (6-2) at No. 22 North Carolina State (6-2), 8 p.m., ACC Net … Wake Forest 28, North Carolina State 20.
1.Tennessee (8-0, 4-0). 2. Georgia (8-0, 3-0). 3. Alabama (7-1, 4-1). 4. LSU (6-2, 4-1). 5. Ole Miss (8-1, 4-1). Five Teams Tied For 6th In Alphabetical Order – Arkansas (5-3, 2-3). Kentucky (5-3, 2-3). Mississippi State (5-3, 2-3). Missouri (4-4, 2-3). South Carolina (5-3, 2-3). 11. Florida (4-4, 1-4). 12. Texas A&M (3-5, 1-4). 13. Auburn (3-5, 1-4). 14. Vanderbilt (3-5, 0-4).
Stat Of The Week
For the 25th time in the history of the Associated Press poll that started in 1936, a No. 1 and No. 2 team will meet in the regular season when No. 1 Georgia hosts No. 2 Tennessee Saturday (3:30 p.m., CBS).
Quote Of The Week
“I’m surprised this happened. But I’m not surprised something surprising happened. I mean, something surprising happens every week.”
-Surprise, it’s by Mississippi State coach Mike Leach discussing his athletic director John Cohen leaving for the same job at Auburn.