NEW ORLEANS – The Brian Kelly era at LSU got off to a wild start Sunday night against Florida State.

It happened inside a sold-out Caesars Superdome in front of an enthusiastic crowd that was much closer to being evenly split than the Tigers would have preferred.

The Allstate Louisiana Kickoff was coordinated by the Sugar Bowl but featured two teams that looked far inferior to the ones that traditionally compete in the real Sugar Bowl on New Year’s.

Maybe 1 or both of these teams will be bowl worthy down the road.

But on this night the average team that already had played a game was better than the average team that hadn’t.

The Seminoles escaped with a 24-23 victory against Kelly’s mistake-prone Tigers, whose late comeback came up just short.

Until the final, furious moments, LSU had very little offense, restricted virtually all of its defensive effectiveness to first and second down, and had a series of special teams blunders.

Along the way it lost starting defensive tackle Maason Smith to a knee injury and starting defensive end Ali Gaye to a targeting penalty.

The biggest question of the preseason was finally answered a few hours before kickoff when word leaked that Jayden Daniels would start at quarterback over Garrett Nussmeier.

Choosing the Arizona State transfer was not a surprise, but Kelly had declined to announce the decision he made last weekend.

It was easy to see why Kelly opted for Daniels, who is a more explosive runner than Nussmeier. Daniels not only made several significant gains with his running, but often was forced to do so because of the Seminoles’ consistent penetration into the backfield.

In fact Daniels’ running was virtually the entire LSU offense. He completed 25-of-34 passes for just 207 yards and 2 TDs. It took until the final 5 minutes for Daniels to connect with star receiver Kayshon Boutte. Their first completion on 4th-and-2 went for 7 yards and a first down. Soon after, Daniels hit Jaray Jenkins on a crossing route for a TD to pull LSU within 24-17 with 4:07 left.

LSU committed an unsportsmanlike penalty on the ensuing kickoff, however, giving FSU the ball at its 40. LSU forced a 3-and-out, but Malik Nabers again fumbled the punt. FSU recovered, seemingly to seal the win.

But the Noles fumbled and LSU recovered at its own 1 with 1:20 left. LSU had one final chance and Daniels bravely drove them all the way to FSU’s 2-yard line with 1 second left. After a lengthy review, Daniels hit Jenkins to make it 24-23 as time expired.

OT seemed inevitable, but then, for the second time, FSU blocked the PAT to steal the win.

The Tigers trailed just 7-3 at halftime, but the Seminoles drove 68 yards in 14 plays on the opening possession of the second half and Ryan Fitzgerald’s 25-yard field produced a 10-3 lead that felt much bigger even with a quarter and a half to play.

LSU went 3-and-out on the ensuing possession and Jay Bramblett’s 31-yard punt set up FSU at its 43.

Then Jordan Travis and Ontaria Wilson connected for their 2nd touchdown of the game (a 27-yarder) and the Seminoles had a 17-3 lead as Gaye was ejected on the scoring play. He’ll miss the first half of next week’s game against Southern.

The Tigers finally reached the end zone as Noah Cain’s 1-yard run and 4th-and-goal trimmed the lead to 17-10 entering the fourth quarter.

FSU answered almost immediately as DJ Lundy’s 1-yard touchdown run capped a 12-play, 79-yard drive and produced a 24-10 lead with 9:04 remaining.

LSU was aggressive at the outset.

The Tigers won the coin toss, chose to take the ball and received a bonus when the kickoff went out of bounds, setting them up at the 35-yard line.

Daniels took off from the pocket on the first play and gained 25 yards, and the Seminoles gave them another boost with a personal-foul penalty that moved the ball to 25.

LSU got a 1st-and-goal at the 5, but the drive fizzled on a snap over Daniels’ head in the shotgun, leading to a 14-yard loss. Damian Ramos kicked a 37-yard field goal.

FSU drove into scoring range, but missed a 47-yard field goal and the 3-0 lead held up through the end of the quarter, though the Seminoles were marching when time expired.

On the fourth play of the second quarter, FSU ran a flea-flicker and Travis threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Wilson for a 7-3 lead.

LSU responded with a drive that reached the Seminoles’ 8, but it stalled and Ramos’ 30-yard field goal was blocked by Jared Verse.

The Tigers gave FSU a great scoring opportunity when Malik Nabers fumbled a punt a Wyatt Rector recovered at the LSU 16. But 3 plays netted just 8 yards and Travis threw an incompletion on 4th-and-2.

That kept the Tigers within striking distance, but it didn’t matter for an offense that didn’t strike often enough.