BATON ROUGE, La. – Weight loss was a main reason T.J. Finley did so well in his LSU debut. The Ponchatoula alum said he weighed 265 when he first came to campus, but after dropping 23 pounds (now listed at 242) during the offseason, head coach Ed Orgeron saw a different quarterback on Saturday.
“Night and day, and he didn’t move that well in high school. He loss some weight. I’m sure he’s jumping rope and working on his feet. He does everything he can. The guys is a workout animal. He loves football. I’m proud of him,” Orgeron said.
“I was huge. A lot of the guys messed with me and said I would move to d-tackle so I kind of took that to heart. When quarantine hit, COVID hit and we went into quarantine, I took it upon myself to trim down in weight, and it’s paying off well,” Finley added.
Finley also factored into the run game. The Tigers had a dominant night on the ground, racking up 276 rushing yards, but the QB had eight attempts for 24 yards and a touchdown.
“I think the run game helped. I think the RPOs helped. He’s tall. He can see everything. I thought he scrambled and made some big plays,” Coach O continued.
“It was a cold game, and to come out just pounding it like that, it woke up South Carolina, so proud of my O-line. I’m so happy. They stepped up big time this game, and that gave us a huge confidence boost,” sophomore running back John Emery said.
Emery had 18 rushes for 88 yards and a touchdown against the Gamecocks.
Finley and Max Johnson were supposed to alternate throughout the game, but after throwing just four incompletions (17/21 on the day). Coach O rode Finley’s hot hand to the win.
“He was on fire. I was planning on playing T.J. the first quarter and playing Max the second, if I could, and see who the best one was to end the game. T.J. got hot. I told that to both of them. I said ‘I’m a try to play both of y’all, but one of you hot, I’m not taking you out the game,” and T.J. was hot,” Orgeron said.
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