The LSU Tigers 2022 season was a huge step forward for the program. The hiring of former Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly sent shockwaves through the college football world. After an abysmal end to the Ed Orgeron era, the Tigers had finally found the next leader of the Purple and Gold. Coaching staff changes were not the only ones made within the program. The Bayou Bengals brought in a plethora of transfers, highlighted by former Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels. While a rough schedule awaited, the Tigers prevailed and beat the odds projected before the 2022 season.
LSU Tigers 2022 Season Review
Transfer Additions: Offense
The addition of Daniels electrified the offense. Going from Max Johnson to Daniels was received with mixed reviews from the fan base. Myles Brennan would ultimately decide to end his football career after not being named the starter in the Fall. Daniels put forth a solid season, as he passed for 2,913 yards with 17 touchdowns and three interceptions. His ability to utilize his feet to pick up yards netted him an additional 890 yards and 12 scores.
Aside from Daniels, LSU brought in former Louisiana wideout Kyren Lacy, who recorded 24 catches for 268 yards. In the backfield, the Tigers brought in hometown product Noah Cain from Penn State. In 2022, Cain competed for the starting role. However, he ultimately finished the season with 409 yards and 10 touchdowns. On the offensive line, former FIU lineman Miles Frazier provided depth on the front line.
New Offense Under Mike Denbrock
When Kelly was hired in Baton Rouge, he tabbed Mike Denbrock as his offensive coordinator. It turned out to be a solid hire, as the Tigers’ offense helped lead the team to a 9-3 record that brought forth an SEC West title. Under his leadership, the Tigers finished with a total of 6,344 yards and an average of 453 yards per game. Thanks in part to Daniels being a dual threat, LSU was able to extend drives with the more balanced offense.
Starts on Defense
LSU has been known to have outstanding defenses in the past few decades. 2022 was no different in terms of pure athletic talent. On the defensive line, Jaquelin Roy, BJ Ojulari, and Ali Gaye were constantly disrupting opposing offenses on every single down. Freshman phenom Harold Perkins Jr. led the team in sacks with 7.5 on the season. As the year went on, Perkins improved in every game. He finished the season with 72 tackles, one interception, and five pass breakups.
In the secondary, Jay Ward held strong with 56 tackles, four passes defended, and an interception. Greg Brooks Jr. was Ward’s counterpart covering the open space. The former Arkansas Razorback had 63 tackles to go along with two interceptions and two passes defended.
The linebacker spot was the Tigers’ strongest unit on defense. Led by Greg Penn III and Micah Baskerville, the dynamic duo proved to be one of the best linebacker duos in the country. Penn finished 2022 with 77 tackles, which notched him second on the team. As for Baskerville, he led the program with 89 tackles, eight passes defended, and an interception.
SEC Championship Run
Before the season started, LSU was projected as a seven or eight-win team. But, Kelly and his staff dialed up the right play calls and the team executed them to perfection to finish the regular season 9-3. Wins over Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, Auburn, Arkansas, and Ole Miss in conference play took the Tigers to Atlanta. The win over Bama is presumably the best win of the year. An overtime thrilling one-point win at home in Tiger Stadium against an arch-rival. There really is nothing better for Tigers fans to witness.
The non-conference schedule saw the Tigers face Florida State in New Orleans and lose 24-23 on a blocked extra point with no time remaining. Wins over New Mexico, Southern, and UAB rounded out the non-conference slate. The final game of the regular season saw the Tigers travel to College Station to face a struggling Texas A&M team. In short, this was a game the Tigers were not supposed to lose. But, anything can happen in college football and LSU lost at Kyle Field. A 9-3 regular season finish was a strong start for the Kelly era. Even if it meant missing out on the College Football Playoff, the Tigers exceeded expectations through 12 games.
Solid Postseason Finish to the LSU Tigers 2022 Season
The SEC Championship game against top-ranked Georgia saw the Tigers pass for over 500 yards and keep it a close game for a while. But in the end, the Bulldogs pulled away and left their backyard in Atlanta as SEC Champions with a 50-30 win. The loss for LSU put the Tigers into a New Year’s Six Bowl. Had the team beat Texas A&M, a win over the Dawgs would have put LSU in the CFP.
Nonetheless, the Tigers faced off against Purdue in the Citrus Bowl. The Boilermakers finished runner-up in the Big Ten following a conference championship loss to Michigan. Both teams were without multiple players for the game. Purdue was without its quarterback and top receiver. That gave LSU the momentum it needed.
To finish with a 10-4 record, LSU routed the Boilermakers 63-7 in the Citrus Bowl. Both sides of the ball stepped up and played a solid game. The LSU Tigers 2022 season culminated in an NY6 bowl win for a storied coach that looks to take the Tigers back to the top. As college football ends for the season, it’s time to turn to 2023 and what lies ahead for the Tigers. If 2022 was any indication, next season could be spectacular for Brian Kelly and the program.