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Brian Kelly identifies when Garrett Nussmeier was able to flip the switch vs. Wisconsin

Barkley-Truaxby:Barkley Truax01/04/24


Garrett Nussmeier led LSU to its 10th win of the season in a 35-31 victory over Wisconsin during the 2023 ReliaQuest Bowl in what was the first start of his collegiate career.

Tigers head coach Brian Kelly broke down Nussmeier’s performance in the bowl game, and how his comfortability led to LSU’s victory over the Badgers in the final minutes of the game.

“I think when he felt much more comfortable,” Kelly said during his post-game press conference after the win. “I thought Wisconsin did a great job of changing up coverages, I think when he really started identifying some of their trap two and three, and the mixtures. [The offensive line] did a really good job with protections. He was clean all day. I don’t know if he was sacked at all.

“But I think once he got a good sense of what was going on out there, the speed of the game. You saw him later in the game — he made some really good checks, he changed protections, and it just took some time for him to get there. I knew eventually he would, it was just a matter of we needed to slow him down on defense, and we did, and he was able to get our offense going. The big throws down the field, the 98-yard drive was the big one where that’s what he can do. He can get the ball down the field.”

In the end, Nussmeier completed 31 of his 45 passes for 395 yards and three touchdowns while only throwing one interception. The Tigers trailed Wisconsin by two scores early in the matchup, but behind Nussmeier’s lead, LSU overcame the deficit and outscored the Badgers 35-17 — which was capped by a 98-yard game-winning drive.

“I can’t underestimate how important this win is for not only him but our entire football team and our defense,” Kelly continued. “They needed some confidence, and they needed some key stops. All of this builds towards confidence and evaluating what you need to do in the offseason to be the kind of defense and offense to win a championship.”

The performance was a sign of positive things to come for LSU, who have not been entirely aggressive while hunting for a quarterback in the transfer portal. Sure, they signed former Vanderbilt QB AJ Swann, but after his bowl performance — he seemingly has the keys to the offense in Baton Rouge next year.