GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida scored 16 points off three LSU turnovers and earned seven more on a short field following a safety, as the No. 5 Gators took advantage of the errors to win, 23-10, on Saturday afternoon at The Swamp in Gainesville.
LSU (4-2, 1-2 SEC) lost for the second time in as many road contests this season, both to teams ranked in the top 5. The Tigers return to action on Saturday, Oct. 14, when Kentucky visits Tiger Stadium for the first of two home games.
Florida (6-0, 4-0) took control of the SEC's Eastern Division by winning for the third week in a row at home.
A muffed punt, JaMarcus Russell's second interception of the season, and a safety on a muffed kickoff return led to a 1-yard rushing touchdown and a 1-yard passing touchdown by Florida freshman Tim Tebow for Florida's first 16 points of the game.
The Tigers also fumbled on the Florida 1-yard line, had a touchdown pass called back by penalty, had a punt blocked and threw two interceptions inside Gators territory.
Conversely, Florida' made mistakes -- a fumble in LSU territory, an interception and a blocked punt of its own. But, LSU could not do to Florida today what Florida did to LSU.
Russell, sacked once for 1 yard, finished 24 of 41 for 228 yards and a touchdown to Jacob Hester. Three interceptions and a fumble at the goal line, though, will be his memory from his final trip to Gainesville as a Tiger.
His favorite targets -- Craig Davis (eight catches for 85 yards), Dwayne Bowe (six for 50) and Early Doucet (five for 68) -- were productive. However, two of the interceptions were touched by Bowe before being pulled down by Gators.
LSU's Jacob Hester proved his worth as an all-purpose back, leading all rushers with 43 yards on nine carries while catching five passes for 25 more. He scored LSU's only touchdown from 2 yards out.
Florida was able to take advantage of LSU's turnovers thanks to Tebow. The 6-3, 229-pounder was the right change of pace against an LSU defense that gave Chris Leak fits.
Tebow was 2-for-2 passing for 36 yards and two touchdown passes, while rushing for a touchdown to account for 18 of the 23 Gators points. He was one yard short of being the team's leading rusher, behind Moore's 36 yards.
LSU won its sixth coin toss in as many games, and elected to defer until the second half as usual.
Florida completed passes on its first three plays from scrimmage to three different receivers for 27 yards. With a 15-yard run by the middle by Moore, the Gators entered LSU territory with little resistance.
Russell converted on third down by scrambling to his right and tossing over two Florida defenders to Craig Davis to advance into Florida territory. A personal foul on Florida gave LSU a first down at the Florida 16-yard line.
Four plays later, Russell found Hester wide open on a play-action pass from the 2-yard line to give LSU the early lead with 6:45 to play in the opening quarter.
The LSU defense stepped up to the challenge on its opening drive, however, Chevis Jackson looked into the sun and muffed the punt to allow Florida its first points of the game.
Tebow scored from the LSU 1-yard line on fourth down to complete a 19-yard scoring drive with 11 seconds to play in the quarter.
The points were the first allowed by the LSU defense in the first quarter this season.
In the second quarter, LSU's first punt of the game was downed at the Florida 1-yard line. However, a procedure penalty against LSU forced another punt. Jackson's lesser attempt landed out of bounds 28 yards farther up field.
The second major field position mistake of the game didn't cost LSU, as Jackson redeemed himself by snaring a Leak pass on the next play at the LSU 24-yard line.
Another pair of mistakes on the part of the LSU offense plagued a 17-play, 75-yard drive that ended at the Florida 1.
A holding penalty by Herman Johnson nullified a touchdown catch and run by Davis. Four plays later, after a Hester run was reviewed and spotted at the 1, Russell fumbled the center exchange to give the Gators possession.
Though Florida quickly went three-and-out, Russell's long pass toward Brandon LaFell on the next play was picked off to setup Florida's second touchdown of the half.
The Gators converted a third-and-15 from their 23-yard line to build momentum. On second-and-goal at the LSU 1, Tebow ran toward the line, jumped and double-pumped a pass to stumbling tight end Tate Casey in the back of the end zone.
The point after touchdown gave Florida a 14-7 lead at the half.
The second half started exactly wrong for the Tigers.
In the first five minutes of the half, the following went down:
Florida scored a quick strike touchdown from Tebow to sophomore wide receiver Louis Murphy (12:05).
Finally, LSU had a punt blocked when Florida's Reggie Nelson broke the LSU "wedge" and got to Chris Jackson (10:10).
The nightmare finally ended when Florida placekicker Chris Hetland missed a 37-yard field goal -- his fourth miss in as many attempts in 2006.
The nine quick Florida points gave the Gators a 23-7 lead.
However, LSU couldn't take advantage of the miss, as Colt David pushed a 41-yard field goal of his own with 2:46 left in the third quarter.
Later, David knocked through a career-long 45-yard field goal with 11:53 left in the game to reduce the Florida lead to 23-10.
It was too little, too late.
LSU's last gasp into Florida territory ended when a ball intended for Bowe careened into the air and was intercepted at the 23-yard line by cornerback Ryan Smith.
The Tigers had worked their way from the LSU 6 to the Florida 38 in just over 60 seconds.
LSU found a ray of hope in a blocked punt by LaRon Landry with 3:17 to play, but Russell's pass into the endzone on the first play was tipped by Bowe and intercepted by Tony Joiner.
The series of events were fitting of the Tigers' day.
The crowd of 90,714 was the second-largest in Florida history, trailing only the Sept. 17, 2005, game against Tennessee which had two more attendants.
LSU at Florida
Oct. 7, 2006 – Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Gainesville, Fla.)
1. LSU’s game captains were 2 JaMarcus Russell, 16 Craig Steltz 30 LaRon Landry and 41 Chris Jackson.
2. LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Florida received the opening kickoff.
a. LSU has won the toss in all six games this season.
3. Tigers extending their consecutive starts streak today were: FS LaRon Landry (41), CB Chevis Jackson (19), DE Chase Pittman (12).
4. LSU’s streak of 48 straight trips into the red zone was snapped in the second quarter after LSU fumbled the ball on the 1-yard line. The streak dated back to the Auburn game in 2005 (40 touchdowns and eight field goals).
5. LSU has now scored on its first possession in five of the six games this season. The loss at Auburn was the only game this season the Tigers did not score on their first possession.
6. LSU has recorded at least one sack in 12 straight games after a first quarter sack by Ali Highsmith in today’s game. The last time LSU’s defense did not record a sack was against North Texas last season.
7. LSU has recorded at least one interception in seven straight games after a second quarter interception by Chevis Jackson. The last time the Tigers failed to intercept a pass was against Georgia in the 2005 SEC Championship game.
8. LaRon Landry blocked the Tigers’ first punt of the season in the fourth quarter. It was the first blocked punt for LSU since the Arizona State game on Sept. 10, 2005.
9. With a tackle early in the first quarter, FS LaRon Landry extended his tackles in consecutive games streak. The senior, who finished the day with a season-high 12 stops, has now made a tackle in 45 straight games.
10. With a tackle in the first quarter, SS Jessie Daniels extended his tackles in consecutive games streak. The senior has now made a tackle in 35 straight games.
11. WR Craig Davis pulled in a 27-yard reception in the first quarter to extend his consecutive games with a reception streak to 29 (every game in which he has played).
a. Davis finished the day with a career-high eight receptions for 85 yards.
12. WR Dwayne Bowe pulled in a 7-yard reception early in the first quarter to extend his consecutive games with a reception streak to 18 straight games.
13. With one PAT today, PK Colt David has extended his consecutive successful PAT streak to 58 straight. The streak moves him into third place in school history.
14. QB JaMarcus Russell tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to RB Jacob Hester with 6:45 left in the first quarter. The TD pass was Russell’s 35th of his career and the 11th of the season.
15. RB Jacob Hester caught a 2-yard pass from QB JaMarcus Russell with 6:45 left in the first quarter. The TD reception was Hester’s second of the season and fifth of his career.
16. CB Chevis Jackson picked off a Chris Leak pass early in the second quarter for his first interception of the season and second of his career.
17. PK Colt David kicked a career-long 45-yard field goal with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter. His previous career-long was 42 kicked against Auburn.
a. David is now 7-9 in field goal attempts in his career and 3-4 this season.
LSU Head Coach Les Miles Quotes
Florida vs. LSU
On the game:
“We started out well, we were sharp going down the field except for the early punt return fumble. The fumble was a big turn of events, along with several penalties, that lead to a long drive to them the lead before the half. It really swung the momentum. At half time, I felt like our team wanted to come back out and play like they’re capable, but the on ensuing kickoff and two-pointer certainly didn’t help us. We made mistakes in a number of spots, and its work to do. We’re a good football team but we didn’t play like it today, and we’re all disappointed.”
On a 17 play drive with no results:
“There’s no question that it certainly affected the momentum. We would’ve never thought we would go into the half behind.”
On Tim Tebow:
“He’s a rock’em-sock’em kind of runner. He’s a big strong kid, a competitive guy. He plays hard inside the tackles. Florida used him to their advantage today.”
LSU Player Quotes
Florida vs. LSU
Junior Quarterback JaMarcus Russell
On the bad snap:
“It was a sneak and the center had a guy hit up on him too soon, and I didn’t really get a chance to get the ball.”
On the rest of the season:
“We have to play for ourselves. Even though we have two losses we have to stay committed to each other.”
On playing at The Swamp:
“It’s pretty tough. It was on ourselves the way things turned out.”
Senior Strong Safety Jessie Daniels
On the rest of the season:
“We have our team to play for. We are still a team, and we are going to come back Monday and play just as hard.”
On defending Tim Tebow:
“I don’t think it’s that hard if you’re looking at your keys. It’s not that hard to determine if he is running or passing the ball. We knew what they were going to do when he got into the game. He’s a tough guy to tackle -- he can take a hit.”
2006 Florida Football
Post Game Notes
Florida vs. LSU
October 7, 2006
- Florida has now won 13 straight games at home. That is the sixth longest win streak in the Swamp in school
- The Gators have now won eight straight games, their longest streak since 1996.
- Head Coach Urban Meyer ties with former Gator coaches Steve Spurrier and Charles Backman as the second
fastest to reach 15 career wins at Florida. Each of the three coaches earned their 15th win in their 18th game as a Gator. Galen Hall was the quickest, reaching 15 wins in 16 games.
- Florida is now 60-20-2 in Homecoming contests and has won 17 straight.
- With three interceptions today, the Gator defense has intercepted 11 passes this season, including six in the last two games. Last year the Gators intercepted 16 passes the entire season.
- Three different Gators have multiple interceptions on the year, Reggie Nelson and Ryan Smith each have four and Tony Joiner has two. Last season the Gators finished the year with four players with multiple interceptions. Vernell Brown finished the year with three and Earl Everett, Jarvis Herring and Kyle Jackson each had two.
- The Gators scored 16 points in 3:17 from 0:22 in the first half to 12:05 in the second half.
- Florida’s safety on the opening second half kickoff was its second of the season. Florida also scored a safety on September 9 versus UCF, when Tony Joiner had a tackle in the endzone.
- All of Florida’s points in the first half came off LSU turnovers.
- Florida scored a touchdown following their recovery of a LSU fumble in the first quarter and following an interception in the second quarter. The Gators have scored six touchdowns off opponent turnovers this season.
- Florida held the ball for 10:11 in the first quarter, while LSU only had it for 4:49. It was nearly even by the end of the first half though, as Florida had the ball on 4:58 in the second quarter.
- LSU’s touchdown in the first quarter was the first given up by the Gator defense in six quarters of play.
- The Florida Sports Information Office issued 577 credentials for today’s game, including credentials for national media outlets CBS Sports (TV), CBS Sportsline, USA Today, New York Times, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine,
ESPN GameDay and Westwood One Radio.
- The University of Florida football team hosted the inaugural Captain’s Legacy Weekend to coincide with Florida Homecoming festivities. 51 former Gator football captains attended Friday night’s team dinner. The former captains also had the chance to attend all Florida Homecoming activities and support their alma mater’s 100th season of gridiron action. Those in attendance at the Inaugural Captain’s Legacy Weekend include: Frederick Abbott, Tom Abdelnour, Scott Armstrong, William Owen Bartruff, Lamar Bruce Bennett, Rodney Brooks, Vernell Brown, Mark Campbell, Bill Carr, Derrick Lamont Chambers, Ed Chester, Brian Clark, Harvin Clark, Alvin Cowans, Ray Criswell, Brad Culpepper, Bruce Culpepper, Terry Dean, Guy Dennis, Chris Doering, Bill Dorsey, Douglas Drew, Dwayne Ferguson, Jimmy Fisher, Napoleon Green, Jr., Bam Hardmon, Charles Hatch, David Hitchcock, Scott Hutchinson, Terry Jackson, Douglas Johnson, Jr., Vince Kendrick, Larry Kennedy, Jr., Shane Matthews, Wayne McCall, Eugene McCaslin, Lee McGriff, F. Graham McKeel, Henry McMillian, Jack O'Brien, Jason Odom, Keiwan Ratliff, Willie Rodgers, Dwayne Thomas, Charles Ware, Fred Weary, Thomas John Wiegmann, David Williams, Elijah Williams, Angus Williams and Lawrence Wright.
- Today’s attendance of 90,714 was the second largest crowd in UF history. The only crowd larger was 90,716 against Tennessee last season. Each of the four highest attended games in UF history have come under Urban Meyer.
- Tony Joiner’s interception in the fourth quarter was his second of the season and third of his career.
- Ryan Smith’s intercepted a second pass in the fourth quarter he now has two interceptions in each of the last two games.
- Reggie Nelson blocked a LSU punt in the third quarter. It was the second blocked punt by the Gators this season, as Ryan Smith also blocked one against Kentucky.
- Tebow’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Murphy was his longest pass completion this season.
- Louis Murphy caught a touchdown pass from Tim Tebow in the third quarter to put Florida up 23-7. It was his first career reception.
- On the second half kickoff, Riley Cooper forced an LSU fumble and Jermaine McCollum tackled the Tiger receiver in the endzone for a safety.
- Percy Harvin caught the second pass of the game. It was his first receptions since the game at Tennessee on Sept. 16.
- Junior defensive lineman Lutrell Alford recovered the LSU fumble on a punt return in the first quarter. It was the first fumble recovery of his career, in his first game on the punt team.
- Tim Tebow’s touchdown in the first quarter was his third of the season. That ties with DeShawn Wynn for the team lead in rushing touchdowns.
- Brandon Siler recovered an LSU fumble at the Gator 1-yard line in the second quarter. It was his first fumble recovery of the season and eighth of his career
- Jemalle Cornelius’ 26-yard catch at the end of the second quarter was his eighth of the season for 20-yards or more.
- Tim Tebow’s touchdown pass to Tate Casey to end the first half was the first of his career. It was also Casey’s first touchdown catch of the season in only his second reception of the year.
- Chris Leak did not throw a touchdown pass today. The last time he did not throw a touchdown pass was against LSU last season.
2006 Florida Football
Florida Head Coach Urban
Meyer Post-Game Quotes
“A lot of the questions that were asked of me last year were about what I learned about the SEC, and the answer to that is you better bring your defense. The team that we played today has to be one of the most talented teams in America. Our special teams played phenomenal. Our punt and kickoff coverage units were great today. We held LSU to minus-10 yards on punt returns, and we really kept them in check. The other telling statistic today was turnovers. Today was a great day for Florida football, and this was one of the best environments that ever been a part of. I’ll put our Homecoming up against
anyone in America’s after today.”
On the play of the running backs:
“We have to find a running back. I’m the guilty one, because I want the ball in DeShawn Wynn’s hands. Kestahn Moore’s still young. As a coach, we remember the bad things, and that’s why we used Tim Tebow a lot.”
On being creative offensively:
“You look at how we’re scoring points right now, and it’s a lot of different ways. I’m awful proud of that. I’m not a betting man, but I’d be on that team in the white right now.”
On the momentum in the second half:
“Lou Holtz always tells me that the last five minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half determine the outcome of the game. If you had to say what was the checkmate point today, it was the first five minutes of the second half.”
Florida Player Quotes
Florida vs. LSU
Freshman Quarterback Tim Tebow
On his touchdown pass to Tate Casey:
“We ran a tight end pop. We figured they would load the box trying to stop the run. I was just able to throw it up there and Tate Casey made a play.”
Junior Tight End Tate Casey
On his touchdown reception
“Tim (Tebow) made a good play. I sort of stumbled back but I concentrated on the ball and made sure I brought it in. It felt like the ball was up there for an hour.”
Sophomore Wide Receiver Louis Murphy
On his 35-yard touchdown reception, the first of his career
“It was so amazing. I saw the ball up there. I was so nervous, but (Tim) Tebow made a great pass and I was able to bring it in. I’m just out there trying to help this team win, but it’s great to have my first catch go for a touchdown.”
Junior Cornerback Ryan Smith
On his second straight two-interception game
“We came into this game trying to stop the deep ball and when our secondary needed to make plays, we were able to get turnovers, not only getting the offense the ball but shifting the momentum in the process.”
Freshman Wide Receiver Riley Cooper
On his forced fumble for a safety to open the second half
“I was able to get down the field quick. When I saw that he juggled the ball, I put it into another gear and made the hit. Whenever I get into the game I’m just trying to help this team win.”
Senior Quarterback Chris Leak
On today’s victory
“This was a very special and emotional moment for us seniors. We are going to remember this for the rest of our lives. It is special being a Gator. To beat a great team like LSU means a lot. The senior class, we go out and play hard and we take a strong work ethic to the practice field and we work for the good of the team.”
On the amount of playmakers on the team
“There’s a lot of great guys with a lot of speed and talent. We like to spread the ball around and get the ball in the hands of different guys who can make plays.”