Fake Field Goal, Fournette Foil Florida, 35-28
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BATON ROUGE -- While LSU running back Leonard Fournette carried a career-high 31 times for 180 yards, it was a 16-yard catch-and-run by placekicker Trent Domingue that foiled Florida's rally on a raucous Saturday night in Tiger Stadium, 35-28.
Domingue was the recipient of a lateral pass from holder Brad Kragthorpe on a fourth-and-13 fake field goal with 10:40 remaining in the game that provided the final margin and pushed the sixth-ranked LSU Tigers to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in SEC play.
The sixth win made LSU bowl-eligible for the 16th-straight season, though the Tigers have more lofty goals as the only remaining undefeated SEC team.
Florida (6-1, 4-1 SEC) took an early 7-0 lead following a fumbled punt in the LSU red zone before the Tigers scored three unanswered touchdowns - two by Fournette and a perfect pass and catch from Brandon Harris to Malachi Dupre. The Gators scored two third-quarter touchdowns including a 72-yard punt return to knot the game at 28-28 before Les Miles dug into the bag of special teams tricks.
Led by defensive end Lewis Neal's 10-tackle, three-sack, three-hurry effort, LSU's defense kept the Gators in check for most of the evening. Linebacker Deion Jones also had 10 tackles with 2.5 behind the line, as the Tigers managed five sacks and nine tackles for loss with five passes broken up.
LSU quarterback Brandon Harris finished 13-of-19 passing for 202 yards with two touchdown passes in the final 5:00 of the first half. Malachi Dupre caught both TD passes and finished with 115 receiving yards, while Travin Dural caught five passes for 65 yards.
The Tigers ran 41 times for 221 net yards against a Florida defense that entered the game ranked 12th in the nation in rushing yards allowed. Harris wasn't sacked. LSU had 423 yards of total offense, was 7-of-14 on third down and scored on all four of its redzone trips.
Florida managed 326 yards of total offense, with 157 coming on four long throws by quarterback Treon Harris. The sophomore signal called for the Gators was 17-of-32 passing for 271 yards and two touchdowns. He was Florida's second-leading rusher with 20 net yards, as Kelvin Taylor led the way with 25 yards.
Florida rushed 31 times for 55 yards.
Blow-by-Blow Recap by Bill Franques
The Gators grabbed a 7-0 lead with 10:13 remaining in the first quarter when quarterback Treon Harris connected with tight end Jake McGee on a four-yard touchdown pass to culminate a four-play, 13-yard drive. The Gators' march began after LSU returner Tre'Davious White muffed a Florida punt that was recovered at the LSU 13-yard line.
LSU tied the game at 7-7 at the 12:23 mark of the second quarter on a two-yard scoring run by Leonard Fournette. The touchdown capped an 11-play, 88-yard drive for the Tigers that featured a 15-yard completion from quarterback Brandon Harris to wide receiver Travin Dural on third-and-nine at the Florida 32.
After a Florida three-and-out deep inside Gator territory, the Tigers drove 67 yards on nine plays with the march ending on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Harris to wide receiver Malachi Dupre.
Fournette extended LSU's advantage to 21-7 with 2:24 left in the first half with a six-yard TD run. The Tigers' drive, covering 58 yards on two plays, featured a 52-yard pass from Harris to Dupre that gave LSU first-and-goal at the Florida six.
Florida reduced the deficit to 21-14 with 1:34 left in the half on a 19-yard strike from Harris to McGee, capping a four-play, 80-yard march. The drive was highlighted by a 48-yard pass from Harris to wide receiver Antonio Callaway that gave the Gators a first down inside the Tigers' 20.
LSU responded 15 seconds before the half with a 50-yard strike from Harris to Dupre to culminate a 75-yard drive on five plays, as the Tigers took a 28-14 lead into the locker room.
Running back Kelvin Taylor's 2-yard scoring run at the 8:03 mark of the third quarter narrowed the gap to 28-21 as the Gators moved 66 yards on 10 plays to reach the end zone.
Florida knotted the contest at 28-28 on a 72-yard punt return by Callaway with 1:04 left in the third period.
The Tigers didn't have a first down in the third quarter, but LSU roared down the field early in the fourth period to take a 35-28 lead on a textbook Les Miles special teams trick play. Placekicker Trent Domingue was lined up to attempt a 33-yard field goal, however, he took a lateral from holder Brad Kragthorpe and dashed 16 yards for the touchdown behind blocks from Darrel Williams and Colin Jeter. The score, coming with 10:40 left in the game, capped a 75-yard march on 11 plays.
Florida came right back at the Tigers, gaining 18 yards to the Gators 43 on a catch by Powell. On third-and-2 from the LSU 49, Taylor earned just enough to move the chains. A 38-yard catch and run by Demarcus Robinson gave Florida a first down at the LSU 23, however, Harris was sacked by linebacker Deion Jones and charged with intentional grounding. Two imcomplete passes - including a ball knocked from a receiver's hands by nickelback Dwayne Thomas in the endzone - and the Gators punted to the LSU 1.
Fournette gained a first down with a 12-yard bruising run to get the Tigers away from the goalline, but Harris' third-and-8 pass fell in front of Dural and the Tigers punted out of bounds at the Florida 38 with 3:47 to play.
Florida used its final timeout on the ensuing drive and the Tigers ran the clock to 1:33 before punting to the Florida 10.
Despite a 41-yard catch by Callaway on third-and-12 from the Florida 8, Florida tossed four-straight incomplete passes with a capacity crowd of 102,321 carrying the Tigers defense to victory.