TAMPA, Fla. — LSU quarterback Garrett Nussmeier is assured he can lead the nation’s most prolific offense into the post-Jayden Daniels period.
The affected person third-year sophomore will make his first faculty begin, stepping in for the Heisman Trophy winner when the Thirteenth-ranked Tigers (9-3) face Wisconsin (8-5) within the ReliaQuest Bowl on Monday.
Daniels, who threw for 3,812 yards and ran for 1,134 whereas accounting for 50 touchdowns, opted out of the SEC-Massive Ten matchup at Raymond James Stadium to organize for the NFL draft.
“I wouldn’t say I’m taking a look at it as a possibility to construct for subsequent season. I’m extra about this recreation proper now,” Nussmeier stated. “The preparation that we’ve been placing collectively for this recreation, that’s my largest focus.”
Nussmeier, who turns 22 in February, has appeared in components of 17 video games over three seasons with the Tigers. He backed up Daniels for 2 years after the dual-threat Heisman winner transferred to LSU from Arizona State.
In 5 video games this season, Nussmeier has accomplished 17 of 33 passes with out an interception for 196 yards and one landing. General, he’s 98 of 174 for 1,325 yards and eight TDs with six interceptions as a backup.
“Clearly we really feel superb about Garrett Nussmeier as a No. 2, and clearly he bought the keys to the automotive shifting ahead in ‘24,” LSU coach Brian Kelly stated. “The offense, he is aware of it nicely. He’ll be capable of do the issues that he must do. Run it, throw it, do the issues which might be essential to be a championship soccer group.”
Nussmeier’s dad, Doug, is the quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Chargers. They’d a father-son chat final week.
“My job is to not be caught up with (my first begin), simply to go play soccer,” the Tigers quarterback stated. “He careworn to me it’s the identical recreation that I’ve been enjoying ever since I began enjoying. I’ve been enjoying quarterback my complete life, and nothing has modified. It’s soccer. It’s what I like to do.”
Nonetheless, there’s strain following a Heisman winner.
“Clearly me and Jayden are very completely different gamers. However each of us are attempting to enhance always,” Nussmeier stated.
Wisconsin security Hunter Wohler, in the meantime, acknowledged the Badgers don’t “know a ton” in regards to the new LSU starter.
“Clearly Jayden Daniels is one-of-a-kind. … So not enjoying towards him, it clearly goes make their offense rather less dynamic. However Nussmeier’s good,” Wohler stated. “He’s not a foul quarterback by any means. He’s a beginning quarterback (for) most groups., so he’s going to pose challenges.”
Kelly famous a gifted group of playmakers surrounding Nussmeier is keen to do its half to assist the quarterback make a clean transition.
“He’s bought a whole lot of strain on him. However that’s why he’s right here,” the LSU coach stated. “He loves the brilliant lights. He form of rises to that form of event.”
Wisconsin will likely be with out its prime offensive star too. Junior working again Braelon Allen declared for the NFL draft after averaging 5.9 yards per carry and dashing for 3,494 yards and 35 touchdowns over three seasons with the Badgers. Regardless of accidents, he ran for 984 yards and 12 TDs in 2023.
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With Daniels main the best way, LSU led the nation in whole offense and scoring, averaging 547.8 yards and 46.4 factors.
The Tigers protection hopes to make use of the ReliaQuest Bowl to ascertain a basis for enchancment. LSU ranked one hundred and first in whole protection, permitting 409.2 yards per recreation. The Tigers have been 76th in scoring protection at 27.75 factors allowed per recreation.
“We didn’t play the very best soccer that we might play,” freshman linebacker Whit Weeks stated. “So we’ve bought a chip on our shoulder now. Beginning this recreation, going into subsequent yr, we’ve bought to be higher than we have been this yr.”
Wisconsin, coached by Luke Fickell, is showing in a bowl recreation for the twenty second consecutive yr. The Badgers rebounded from a three-game shedding streak to win its closing two video games of the common season.
Wohler stated the group is motivated to play nicely Monday.
“It’s about who cares extra in relation to bowl video games. Who needs it extra and who’s going to do the stuff all through the week to be prepared for when the ball kicks off,” stated Wohler, including it might imply loads to beat LSU.
“Simply what this group has been by way of. Clearly a really rocky season. Not precisely the best way we deliberate it. However it might imply loads, it actually would. It’s an effective way to ship the seniors out, after which an awesome launch pad into the subsequent yr.”