Tigers inch past Gators, UF drops second straight

The Swamp was rocking Saturday night, orange jerseys were worn for the first time since 1989 and redemption was on their minds, but the No. 12/14 Florida Gators (4-2, 2-2 SEC) failed to stop the No. 9/12 LSU Tigers (6-0, 4-0 SEC) on their final possession. Through a fake field goal and 62-yard game-winning drive, LSU defeated Florida 33-29 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Tigers quarterback Jarrett Lee threw a three-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Terrence Toliver with six seconds left in the game for the win. The opportunity presented itself after LSU successfully converted a fake field goal attempt on 4th and 3 from Florida’s 36 yard line with 35 seconds remaining. They advanced to the Gators’ three after Tolliver caught a short pass and turned it into a 28-yard gain.

Both teams started slow in the first quarter with LSU striking first on a 45-yard field goal from kicker Josh Jasper. Florida redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard pushed LSU back a bit on its opening drive with a big tackle for loss on first down before the score. On the ensuing possession, Gators freshman WR Andre Debose mishandled a kickoff, putting the offense in a hole. Redshirt junior QB John Brantley was nearly sacked in the end zone but two LSU penalties gave Florida some breathing room.

Punting the ball after stalling on their own 42, the Gators would get it back quickly as redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins intercepted Tigers QB Jordan Jefferson, returning it 47 yards to the LSU 17. Five plays later, redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed rushed for a one-yard touchdown, giving UF a 7-3 lead to start the second quarter.

Louisiana State would answer right away, utilizing big rushes by running backs Stevan Ridley and Michael Ford to complete a 13-play, 77-yard drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by Jefferson.

Florida’s offensive line struggled to protect Brantley on the next series (as well as most of the game), forcing them to punt once again. Luckily for the Gators, Patrick Peterson muffed the punt while receiving pressure from Florida cornerback Cody Riggs; it was recovered by safety Ahmad Black and gave UF its second turn in the red zone as the result of a turnover. The Gators capitalized with a rushing touchdown from freshman QB Trey Burton to go back up 14-10.

After a defensive stand, Florida junior CB Janoris Jenkins returned a punt nearly to midfield that was called back to the Gators’ five after concurrent block in the back and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties (Jenkins spiked the ball upon getting up). Stuck near the goal line, Brantley was nearly sacked in the end zone again as the offensive line continued to be overwhelmed by the Tigers.

LSU would end the first half strong, scoring on a short field via a 38-yard pass to Tolliver and capitalizing on a fumble by Florida redshirt senior RB Emmanuel Moody by kicking a 39-yard field goal to go into the locker rooms with a 20-14 lead.

The Gators started the second half with gusto, putting together a 15-play, 70-yard drive in which Burton accounted for 30 yards. However, two missed field goals by senior punter/kicker Chas Henry (the first was negated by a holding penalty) left Florida without a single point. On UF’s next possession, Brantley had a pass deflected at the line that was intercepted inside the 40. The Tigers capitalized with Jefferson rushing for his second touchdown of the game just eight plays later.

Down 12 things looked bleak for Florida, but Debose answered quickly for the Gators with an electric 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Four possessions later, Brantley hit redshirt senior WR Carl Moore for a huge 51-yard gain to get Florida inside LSU’s 30. Sophomore WR Omarius Hines ran a reverse into the end zone, but a block in the back by sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. negated the score. However, the Gators kept the pressure on and scored two plays later on a rushing touchdown by sophomore RB Mike Gillislee to complete the 10-play, 80-yard drive. Hammond would catch a two-point conversion attempt from Brantley to give Florida a 29-26 lead with 3:21 remaining on the clock.

Up three points all the Gators hoped for on the next drive was a defensive stop, but the Tigers resisted by getting over a big defensive play on 3rd and 1 from Florida’s 34 with the fake field goal and subsequent touchdown pass to Tolliver.

LSU accounted for 385 yards of total offense in the game with 111 coming from Tolliver, 88 from Ridley, 150 combined from Jefferson and 124 on 9-of-11 passing from Lee. Moore led the way for Florida’s offense with 95 yards on four receptions. Burton gained 35 yards on the ground and Brantley completed 16-of-24 passes for 154 yards as UF totaled 243 yards. The Tigers also outgained the Gators in first downs (20-9), rushing (161-89), passing (224-154), time of possession (34:08-25:52) and sacks (3-1).

Florida hopes to rebound from back-to-back losses for the first time since 2007 next week as they face Mississippi State on Saturday during homecoming in Gainesville, FL. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., and the game will air live on ESPNU.

Photo Credit: John Raoux/Associated Press

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11 Responses to “Tigers inch past Gators, UF drops second straight”

  1. El Meester says:

    What up Adam

    The Swamp was indeed rocking all night. The crowd was great all night, except for maybe the boos we started to hear when the crowd grew wary of the EXTREMELY predictable 1st down calls of dive plays going nowhere. However, it is very frustrating to watch our offense thrive on 3rd down, but do absolutely nothing on 1st or 2nd. We call plays as if we don’t have the better talent on the field–trying to stretch the field east/west instead of north/south. Come on guys, that’s what talentless teams do. We have the talent (at least I think we do) to be able to run a north/south offense and light up the scoreboard. Proof? Look at our general success with passing the ball downfield on 3rd down–the most predictable passing situation for opposing defenses. No reason why Urban Meyer and Steve Addazio should be out-coached by Les Miles and Billy Gonzalez…

  2. John S says:

    El Meester , very good analysis sir.

  3. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Well, atleast this isn’t the end of the world.

  4. cline says:

    Sack up and beast MSU!

  5. npgator says:

    This is the worst performing Gators team since 1989 which is the last time we wore orange jerseys.

  6. John S says:

    The problem is that Meyer and Addazio spent 3 years teaching Brantley how to be Tebow Lite, instead of John Brantley, despite our assumptions to the contrary. So we don’t have the plays to support that type of game plan. We don’t have many true intermediate passing routs, just some garbage ones to open up other things. If the offensive line was capable, we would be able to get away with it most of the time, like last year, but we’d never really be a a threatening offense.

    Given the past mistakes of the coaching staff, a quick fix in play calling unfortunately isn’t possible. Our offense hasn’t been trained for it.

  7. Aligator says:

    The problem is that we have business recruiting a kid like Brantley, when he does not fit the system and will not thrive like he should … God Bless Him. We will have to wait for another crap year, Brantley to graduate and for Addozzio to gt a HC job elsewhere. So in 2012 we should be rolling again.

    Let’s all have fun and enjoy this 9-3 year and be thankful that we have a good team to watch.

  8. travis ritch says:

    go back and look at 2005. this season is shaping up almost the same. then look at 2006.

  9. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Aligator – how do you figure 9-3?!?! If we keep on and NOTHING CHANGES ( which is what Meyer is saying – he will stick with the plan come hell or high water) we will lose to Miss state, So Car, and Fsu! That is 5 losses at a minimum. THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS WE WILL RUN A SHITTY LITTLE DIVE PLAY FOR 2 YARDS ON 1ST DOWN, TRY A PITCH ON 2ND DOWN, AND THEN THROW ( OR FUMBLE THE SNAP) ON THIRD. We have a very lean year ahead if we keep on doing what we are doing. You gotta blame the 6 million dollar man – he is the one to decide when to say when….

  10. Aligator says:

    Gatorgrad 79-

    Because just like with Kentucky and USF our team is more talented than those teams by a greater margin than we were with LSU. The reason Alabama beat us so bad as we were on the road and they were really on us. Had that one been at home, it would have been a little closer.

    When we get Demps and a few others back over the next few weeks we will be better. So 9-3 and a trip to the Outback or Citrus bowl is more than a reality.

  11. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Aligator,
    Depends on the intestinal fortitude of this team. Can they regroup and play tough? DO NOT underestimate the desire of Miss state, So car, Ga, or Fsu to beat us – they have a fire in their belly we are not demonstrating yet. Then again, there is the whole O-line and D-line issue, which may just take a year of growing up to solve.

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