No. 1 LSU Way Too Much for No. 17 Florida, 41-11
LSU Sports Interactive
BATON ROUGE -- No. 1 LSU ran for two touchdowns, passed for two more and posted its largest margin over the No. 17 Gators in 40 years, 41-11, on Saturday afternoon in Tiger Stadium.
LSU (6-0, 3-0 SEC) beat its fourth ranked opponent -- its first on the hallowed grounds of Death Valley -- and did it in style. The Tigers became bowl eligible for the 12th-straight season in front of the third-largest crowd in stadium history, 93,022.
The next opponent for the Tigers is Tennessee on Oct. 15 in Knoxville. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.
Offensively, the only thing that kept the Tigers out of the endzone was a new taunting penalty on a would-be 52-yard fake punt for a touchdown -- and perhaps some conservative play calling with a big lead.
Defensively, the Tigers were again quick to the ball and difficult to move against, holding the freshmen-led Gators to 213 yards of total offense on only 48 plays. Florida needed the full width of the field -- and more -- to score its only touchdown, a 65-yard catch and run by a receiver who was pushed out of bounds only to re-enter the field of play and score.
After the score, LSU added two more fourth-quarter touchdowns to cap its largest victory over Florida since a 48-7 win in Tiger Stadium in 1971.
Quarterback Jarrett Lee started on another windy afternoon and completed 7-of-10 passes for 154 yards including a 46-yard bomb to Rueben Randle on LSU's first possession. Jordan Jefferson entered in the second quarter and played in four drives, all of which resulted in scores. The senior backup was 3-of-4 passing for 61 yards and a 2-yard jump pass touchdown to tight end Mitch Joseph.
Randle led the Tigers with four catches for 127 yards and the touchdown from Lee. Russell Shepard added 41 yards on two catches.
Running back Spencer Ware led the Tigers potent ground attack, which totaled 238 yards on 49 attempts. Ware accounted for 24 carries and 109 yards and two touchdowns. Alfred Blue added 70 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown.
LSU had 453 yards of total offense and held the ball for 35:40 including more than 24 minutes of the second half.
Florida (4-2, 2-2 SEC), which played without injured quarterbacks Jeff Brantley and Jeff Driskel, was one-dimensional offensively and had as much trouble moving the ball as any of the Tigers' opponents. Florida ran on 32 of 48 plays and netted only 113 yards. The Gators used three quarterbacks, including speedy running back Jeff Demps in a "Wildcat" formation.
Freshman starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett finished 8-of-14 passing for 94 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked once and had a 65-yard touchdown pass. Trey Burton had five running attempts and two passes for a total of 13 yards. Demps ran only twice for no yards, while Mike Gillislee had 56 yards on nine carries. Chris Rainey added 52 yards on 13 carries.
Wide receiver Andre Dubose had the big-strike touchdown pass from Brissett.
LSU kicked off to open the game for the fifth time in six games this season, deferring the decision until the second half and defending the south endzone.
With a stiff southeast wind at his back, specialist James Hairston kicked four yards into the endzone where Florida's Andre Dubose took it out to the 19. The gold-clad Tiger Stadium crowd was on its feet and loud, as the Brissett and the Gators gave up five yards on a false start and never recovered against the swarming Tigers defense. Punter David Lerner's 42-yard effort was advanced three yards by Mathieu, and LSU began its first drive from midfield
On LSU's second offensive play, Lee's play-action fake gave Randle one-on-one coverage on the right side of the field. Lee hit the receiver in stride for a 46-yard catch and run for a touchdown. With 12:39 left to play in the opening quarter, LSU led 7-0.
With Burton under center, Florida gained only four yards and punted for the second time in as many possessions. A 32-yard punt gave the Tigers positive field position at its 43.
After burning the Gators deep on the previous drive, Miles and the Tigers elected to stay on the ground for its second scoring drive. Ware picked up 24 yards on three carries before giving way to Blue for runs of 13 and 11 yards to the Gators 3. Ware tip-toed into the endzone on second down and LSU led 14-0 with 6:40 left in the quarter.
It took a measurement on fourth-and-1 for the Gators to garner a first down on its ensuing drive. Rainey then found a crease for a 25-yard run, but just when Florida looked to gain forward momentum they were charged with a dead ball personal foul. The mistake pushed Florida to their 40 rather than the LSU 45. Three plays later, Brissett was pressured by LSU defensive end Lavar Edwards and overthrew a covered receiver in the middle of the field. On fourth-and-6 from its 44, Burton took a snap in punt formation but came up short of the marker when linebacker Luke Muncie and safety Brandon Taylor closed the hole. LSU took over at the Gators 47.
A penalty put LSU behind in down-and-distance, and another on Wing's punt that was downed at the Gators 8 caused the Tigers to punt again. Seeing that Florida quickly turned and ran away from the Aussie punter, LSU ran a fake of his own. Wing went through the punting motion but held on to the ball and had an escort of blockers into the endzone. However, after a 52-yard run, Wing was flagged for taunting at the Florida 8 and the touchdown was called back.
The penalty cost the Tigers four points, as LSU gained only five yards on the next series. Drew Alleman's 35-yard field goal try was good and LSU led 17-0 with 13:22 left in the half.
Florida suffered consecutive penalties and found itself with first-and-22 at its 25. Brissett looked for wide receiver Frankie Hammond deep into LSU territory, but found the waiting arms of Taylor who returned the interception to the LSU 47.
LSU and Florida traded punts, but Wing's 36-yard kick was downed on a bounce by Ron Brooks at the Florida 2.
The Tigers took advantage of the change of field position, starting its next drive at the Florida 45 and scoring in two plays.
Taking the field for the first time, Jefferson connected with Shepard for 37 yards to the Florida 8, where Ware scored for the second time. LSU led 24-0 with 6:50 remaining in the half.
Florida answered with its most effective drive of the game, a 14-play, 59-yard drive that ended in a 34-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis on the final play of the half. The Gators converted two third-and-9 plays to keep the drive alive, and decided to put points on the board rather than attempt a fourth-and-2 from the LSU 11.
Florida trailed 24-3 at the break after being outgained 210-120.
LSU overcame a pair of false start penalties with a 22-yard pass from Jefferson to tight end Deangelo Peterson to the Florida 43. Florida then gave LSU 25 yards in penalties to setup first-and-goal at the 6. However, the Tigers couldn't pound it in and settled for a 23-yard Alleman field goal. LSU led 27-3 with 4:40 to play in the third quarter.
With LSU attempting to take the air out of the ball and run down the clock, Florida's quick strike touchdown seemed to energize the Tigers. After the Gators scored on a 65-yard catch and from by Dubose from Burton, LSU quickly answered with a scoring drive of its own.
Lee again found Randle streaking down the sideline for a 57-yard catch and run to the Florida 3. On third-and-goal from the 2, the Tigers used a classic Gators play -- a jump pass from Jefferson to Joseph -- for a touchdown and a 34-11 lead with 12:20 left to play.
A 37-yard kickoff return by Dubose and a personal foul gave the Gators a start in LSU territory at the 47. On the first play, Brissett looked for another quick strike to Jordan Reed in the right corner of the endzone. Mathieu -- a 5-foot-9 cornerback in coverage against the 6-foot-3 tight end -- went high and took away the would-be touchdown from the Gator for his second interception of the season.
Later in the fourth quarter, after an 11-play, 76-yard drive, Blue capped the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run with 1:27 remaining.