LSU's Future Under Brian Kelly Deemed 'Scary' After Citrus Bowl Rout over Purdue

Adam WellsJanuary 2, 2023

LSU Brian Kelly watches practice before the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

LSU wrapped up Brian Kelly's first season as head coach in dominant fashion with a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl on Monday.

Despite some rough moments during the season, LSU finished with a 10-4 record. Its highlight win was a 32-31 triumph over Alabama on Nov. 5. It was just the second time the Tigers have defeated the Crimson Tide since 2012.

Aaron Murray @aaronmurray11

LSU on the way to 10 wins in year 1 with Brian Kelly. That's scary with all that talent on the roster

After both teams traded punts on their first offensive possession, the Tigers scored touchdowns on six of their next seven possessions. Their only non-touchdown during that span was a kneel-down at the end of the second quarter.

Kelly gave extended playing time to both of his top two quarterbacks. Jayden Daniels played five series, with Garrett Nussmeier in for four series. The result was so lopsided that wide receiver Malik Nabers got to make two throws on trick plays.

LSU Football @LSUfootball

😱 <a href="https://twitter.com/whyguard13?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@whyguard13</a> <br><br>📺 ABC <a href="https://t.co/1JehQu7SCS">pic.twitter.com/1JehQu7SCS</a>

dylan sanders @DillySanders

Broke: Brian Kelly 2-QB system<br><br>Woke: Brian Kelly 3-QB system

LSU had almost as many rushing yards (225) as Purdue had total yards (263). Nussmeier had 173 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception. Daniels finished 12-of-17 for 139 yards and one touchdown. He also added 67 rushing yards on six carries.

Coming into the bowl game, Kelly expressed his happiness with how this squad played all year after a disappointing 6-7 record under Ed Orgeron in 2021.

Shea Dixon @Sheadixon

Brian Kelly said going from "worst to first" in the SEC West in Year 1 at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LSU?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LSU</a> showed the foundation is set for the future.<br><br>"We maybe ran out of gas at the end. But the team found ways to win. They fought for four quarters. And that's what you are looking for."

Things only figure to get better for the Tigers next season. Daniels has already announced he is returning in 2023. Nussmeier, who was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school, could be back to provide high-ceiling depth in case Daniels gets injured.

The Athletic's Brody Miller reported on Dec. 31 that, "as of right now," Nussmeier plans to remain at LSU. The redshirt freshman made several big plays in the second half of the SEC Championship Game. He finished 15-of-27 for 294 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a 50-30 loss to Georgia.

With that depth at quarterback, assuming Nussmeier stays, LSU is poised to get back into the SEC's top tier in 2023. The Tigers are also expected to bring back their entire starting offensive line, along with wide receivers Nabers, Brian Thomas Jr. and incoming Alabama transfer Aaron Anderson.

SnappaDamus @RedringtonJr

Stirring it up works when you need some attention . Brian Kelly has LSU a 10 win season and headed in the right direction.

Boppa 🧟‍♂️ @ihatebbls

Brian Kelly year 1 was a 10 win season lmao "experts" in the preseason said it would be a miracle for us to get 8 wins

Big Game Boomer @BigGameBoomer

LSU will win the West again next year. Brian Kelly has what it takes to go the distance in the SEC. Tigers are about to dominate. <a href="https://t.co/mExXEfXNeE">pic.twitter.com/mExXEfXNeE</a>

Shea Dixon @Sheadixon

New: This time last year, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LSU?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LSU</a> had a losing season for the first time since 1999.<br><br>Now, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LSU?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LSU</a> won the SEC West and hit 10 wins in Brian Kelly's first season in Baton Rouge.<br><br>The Tigers put on a show at the Citrus Bowl in a 63-7 win over Purdue.<a href="https://t.co/vaCd2HViFA">https://t.co/vaCd2HViFA</a> <a href="https://t.co/aEJExPpElO">pic.twitter.com/aEJExPpElO</a>

In addition to all of the talent returning to Baton Rouge, 247Sports' composite rankings has LSU with the No. 7 recruiting class in 2023. The group is led by 5-star offensive tackle Zalance Heard.

Alabama and Georgia are going to be replacing a lot of talent. Bryce Young, Will Anderson Jr., Jahmyr Gibbs and Brian Branch all announced on Monday they were leaving the Crimson Tide to declare for the 2023 NFL draft.

It's not going to be hard for Nick Saban and Kirby Smart to replenish their rosters because they are such high-level recruiters, but Kelly has proved he isn't far behind them in that area.

The future looks very bright for LSU after it won double-digit games in a season for the first time since going 15-0 and winning the national title in 2019.