LSU Coach Brian Kelly Arrives – Forget The Want-To-Have Accent, He’s A Native Now

BATON ROUGE – We ridiculed his weak attempt at a Louisiana accent.

We made fun of his dancing.

But don’t you dare make fun of first-year LSU football coach Brian Kelly’s cojones.

He has them, and the college football world saw them under the bright lights of Tiger Stadium on Saturday night.

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Trailing 31-30 in the first overtime after his quarterback Jayden Daniels just scored on a 25-yard run, Kelly didn’t have to by rule, but he went for two anyway to dramatically decide the game right there.

Wow! Few have done that since overtime began in college football in 1996.

But Kelly called it. And Daniels sprinted out right with a run-pass option and completed a 3-yard, two-point conversion pass to tight end Mason Taylor to give No. 10 LSU a 32-31 instant classic win over No. 6 Alabama in front of 102,321 at Tiger Stadium.

The field at LSU’s Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge moments after the Tigers beat Alabama, 32-31, in the first overtime period Saturday night. Expect a celebration fine from the SEC office on Sunday. (Photo by Glenn Guilbeau of OutKick.)

“It was a decision at that moment,” Kelly said. “If we could boil the game down to one play and win the game. If before the game someone said, ‘I’m going to give you one play and you beat Alabama,’ I said I would’ve taken that 100 times.”

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It was LSU’s first home win over Alabama since 2010, and it was Kelly’s first win over Alabama and coach Nick Saban after a BCS national championship game loss in the 2012 season and a College Football Playoff loss in 2020.

LSU’s two-point conversion that ended the game was the eighth lead change of the contest.

“It was such a great game, and I had never beaten Alabama,” Kelly said.

“I was going to try to do it with my legs, but it was there,” Daniels said. “He made the catch and the rest is history.”

LSU Takes Over 1st In SEC

The game also carried much significance.

The Tigers (7-2, 5-1 SEC) are now in the driver’s seat for the SEC West title in Kelly’s first year after two straight non-winning seasons (5-5 and 6-7) under previous coach Ed Orgeron.

LSU now has tiebreaker wins over (Ole Miss 8-1, 4-1) and Alabama (7-2, 4-2) and has only lower division Arkansas and Texas A&M left on its SEC schedule on the road. It could very well be LSU versus No. 3 Georgia (9-0, 6-0) for the SEC championship on Dec. 3 in Atlanta. Georgia beat No. 1 Tennessee (8-1, 4-1), 27-13, earlier Saturday.

If LSU wins at Arkansas (5-4, 2-3) Saturday (Noon, ESPN or CBS), and Ole Miss beats Alabama (3:30 p.m., CBS), LSU is the West champion.

“Now, we’ve put ourselves in position in November,” Kelly said. “We’re a contender for an SEC championship.”

LSU coach Brian Kelly (right) speaks to Alabama coach Nick Saban before an SEC West showdown at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday night. LSU won 32-31 in overtime to take over first. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The Crimson Tide, on the other hand, lost a second game of the season at its earliest point since Saban’s first year in 2007 when he fell to 3-2 on Sept. 29 before a 7-6 finish. Alabama is also likely out of the College Football Playoff for just the second time since that began in 2014.

“It would be an understatement to say how disappointed our team is,” Saban said. “And how disappointed we all are.”

Alabama kicker Will Reichard sent the game into overtime at 24-24 when he booted a 45-yard field goal with 21 seconds to play in regulation. Quarterback Bryce Young drove the Tide 47 yards in 10 plays in 86 seconds to set up the kick.

Alabama Took The First Lead In Overtime

Alabama went up 31-24 with the first possession of overtime on a 1-yard touchdown run by tailback Roydell Williams. That was just after Alabama got a controversial pass interference call against LSU on third-and-four from the LSU 6-yard line. It looked like Young’s pass was deflected by defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo, which would have negated the interference and set up fourth down. But officials said he didn’t tip the ball, and the play stood.

Daniels then scored on LSU’s first play from the 25-yard line, where the ball is placed in overtime. The scrambling Daniels led LSU with 95 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown and completed 22 of 32 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns.

Kelly chose to put the ball, the game and the SEC West in Daniels’ hands with his legs.

“You get a quarterback on the perimeter. Let’s get him moving and give him multiple options,” Kelly said.

“It’s a heated rivalry between LSU and Alabama,” said Daniels, a Los Angeles area native who transferred from Arizona State after last season. “The guys from Louisiana here, they always want to beat Alabama. It’s a great feeling. I’m glad I can be a part of history.”

With the sixth lead change of the second half, LSU went up 24-21 with 1:47 to play on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Daniels to Taylor. Daniels set up the score with a 31-yard scramble to the Alabama 39-yard line.

Young pulled as wild a scramble himself, then launched a 41-yard touchdown bomb to wide receiver Ja’Corey Brooks late in the fourth quarter for a 21-17 lead. Facing a third-and-10, Young appeared to be swallowed up in the pocket, but he avoided one tackler, then a second and a third before unleashing it deep for Brooks. He was all alone behind the LSU secondary and scored with 4:44 to play. A two-point conversion pass failed.

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Young completed 25 of 51 passes for 328 yards, but only one touchdown against a stout LSU defense.

Alabama Did Not Score A TD Until The 4th Period

Alabama did not score a touchdown until the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by Williams for a 15-14 lead with 12:37 to play. Young’s two-point conversion pass failed.

Alabama drove 76 yards in seven plays on its first possesson of the game for a second-and-goal at LSU’s 4-yard line, but Young’s pass to the end zone was intercepted by LSU cornerback Jerrick-Bernard Converse.

“We hurt ourselves quite a bit,” Saban said.

“So proud of my football team,” Kelly said.

BRIAN KELLY CAME TO LSU FOR GAMES LIKE THIS

One of the reasons Kelly said he left Notre Dame for LSU last season was for games like this and the bright lights of Broadway … on the Bayou.

“Look, I came down here because I wanted to be with the best,” Kelly said at his introductory press conference at LSU on Dec. 1, 2021. “Listen, you’re looked at in terms of championships here. I want that. I want to be under the bright lights. I want to be on the Broadway stage.”

Kelly ordered up a large gumbo bowl full of that on this night.

“The crowd was unbelievable. They created and energy unlike one that I can remember,” Kelly, 61, said.

“It is a tough environment,” said Saban, who was LSU’s coach from 2000-04 and lost for only the second time as Alabama’s coach in Tiger Stadium since 2007. “A tough place to play.”

Welcome to Louisiana, Brian Kelly. You just beat Alabama, and you just beat Saban at his own game.

You can talk and dance anyway you like now.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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