VICTORY IN THE SWAMP! Defense Keys Huge Win, 17-16
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The LSU Football team showed resilience as the Tigers held on for a 17-16 victory over No. 21 Florida on Saturday afternoon in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. LSU (4-2, 1-1 SEC) built a two-touchdown lead early in the second half, took advantage of a missed PAT and held the nationally-ranked Gators scoreless in the fourth quarter for the key SEC win.
Linebacker Devin White batted down a fourth-down pass in Florida territory late in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. White led the Tigers with 13 tackles, including a sack. It was his fourth consecutive game with double-digit tackles.
The Tigers sacked Felipe Franks five times, as the Florida freshman quarterback finished the game with 108 yards on 10-of-16 passing.
Florida (3-2, 3-1 SEC) was held to 2-of-9 on third downs, while LSU out-gained the Gators in total offense 341-302 and won the time of possession battle at 33:50.
LSU quarterback Danny Etling was 9-of-16 passing for 125 yards and ran the ball nine times for 26 yards. Russell Gage scored LSU’s first touchdown and led the Tigers with 52 of the team’s 216 rushing yards.
LSU returns to action on Oct. 14 when the Tigers host No. 12 Auburn at Tiger Stadium. Game time is expected to be announced on Sunday, Oct. 8.
LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Florida began the first drive of the game on their own 17. The Gators were unsuccessful in moving the ball past midfield and forced to punt.
LSU WR Derrick Dillon was ejected at the 5:43 mark for targeting and missed the remainder of the game. Prior to his departure, he had one carry for a 30-yard gain that moved the Tigers into Florida territory for the first time in the game.
LSU RB Russell Gage carried the ball for 30 yards to put the first points of the game on the board with 1:22 left in the first quarter. Connor Culp kicked the successful PAT to put the Tigers up, 7-0. For Gage, it was his second touchdown of the season and the first rushing score of his career. It was also the 12th rushing attempt of his career. The score capped an 11-play, 86-yard drive.
End of 1st Quarter: LSU 7, Florida 0
Florida threatened in the second quarter, but was only able to get three points out of an 11-play, 70-yard drive at the 4:01 mark. Eddy Pineiro connected on the 25-yard field goal, 7-3.
LSU responded on the next drive as Connor Culp split the uprights for a 38-yard field goal with 25 seconds left in the half.
The last time LSU went on the road and held an SEC opponent without a first-half touchdown was Sept. 12, 2015 at Mississippi State.
End of 2nd Quarter: LSU 10, Florida 3
LSU took the opening drive of the second half 75 yards on nine plays to jump out to a 14-point lead. FB Tory Carter caught a two-yard pass from Danny Etling with 10:56 to go in the third quarter, followed by a successful PAT by Culp. The score was Carter’s first career touchdown on just his third career reception. Carter is also the first true freshman to score a touchdown this season. The last time a true freshman scored a touchdown was Derrius Guice against Texas A&M in 2015.
Florida scored on the next drive with a 2-yard run by Lamical Perine with 7:39 left in the third. Pineiro’s extra point was good, 17-10.
The Gators cut the LSU lead to one with 1:45 left in the third. Perine scored from one yard out and Pineiro’s kick failed to keep Florida from tying the score, 17-16. The missed PAT was the first against LSU since Oct. 24, 2015 by Western Kentucky.
End of 3rd Quarter: LSU 17, Florida 16
The teams traded punts until late in the fourth quarter. LSU stopped the final Florida drive on 4th and 3 at the Gator 25 with a huge pass break up by Devin White with 1:39 left in the game. The defensive stop preserved the win for the Tigers.
Final Score: LSU 17, Florida 16
- LSU has won 62 straight games when leading by at least 14 points; its last loss was in 2008 at Arkansas.
- The Tigers have also won 10 consecutive games during the month of October, a streak that dates back to the 2014 season. Seven of the 10 victories have come against SEC opponents.
- The one-point win marks the closest margin in series history. The previous margin was three points and there have been three ties (32-29-3, Florida leads).