Texas A&M had No. 14 LSU on the ropes for almost three quarters on Saturday. Then Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels took over, throwing three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead LSU to a comfortable 42-30 win. The Tigers will finish with their second-straight 9-3 regular season and, in the process, avenge last season's loss to the Aggies.
In the process, Daniels may have put an exclamation mark on his resume for the Heisman Trophy. Since LSU isn't playing for the SEC championship in Atlanta next weekend, this was his last chance to impress the award's voters. Though he got off to a slow start, impress them he certainly did.
The super senior and former Arizona State transfer completed 16 of his 24 pass attempts for 234 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 120 yards on 11 carries. It marks his fourth game of the season with at least 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing. With Saturday's game in the books, his stat line that Heisman voters will consider reads: 3,812 yards passing (currently ranks second nationally), 40 touchdowns passing (currently leads the nation), just four interceptions, 1,134 yards rushing (first among quarterbacks) and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
Daniels could have had his "Heisman Moment" against the Aggies. In fact, his performance boiled down to a few key moments. With the Tigers down 24-21 early in the fourth quarter, Daniels threw a beautiful ball to wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr., who made a spectacular leaping catch in the end zone to give the Tigers their first lead since midway through the first quarter.
The Tigers got the ball back after forcing a quick three-and-out. They worked the ball to Texas A&M's 21-yard line, where Daniels again threw a perfect fade, this time to star wideout Malik Nabers who jumped over a defensive back and got one foot in bounds to balloon LSU's lead to 35-24.
Texas A&M answered and drew within a touchdown thanks to a 51-yard connection between quarterback Jaylen Henderson and tight end Max Wright. Again, Daniels didn't wilt. He completed a 45-yard pass to Nabers and then rushed for 10 yards. Finally, with 4:19 left to play, he put the game out of reach with a 15-yard strike to Kyren Lacy.
Daniels completed seven passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, putting the Tigers on his back and preserving their shot at a prestigious bowl. Even without playing for a championship, Daniels all but guaranteed that he'll be in New York for the Heisman Ceremony -- and he looks like a favorite to walk away with the hardware.