What we learned: LSU beats inconsistent Florida after botched extra point

By Adam Silverstein
October 7, 2017
What we learned: LSU beats inconsistent Florida after botched extra point

Image Credit: @GatorsFB / Twitter

The No. 21 Florida Gators fell at home on Saturday for the second time in head coach Jim McElwain‘s tenure. Making matters worse, Florida lost to the reeling LSU Tigers on homecoming by a single point in a game that the Gators had been seething to win after the chaos surrounding the 2016 fiasco.

OnlyGators.com breaks down UF’s loss below.

It was over when: Florida turned the ball over on downs with 1;39 to play. The Gators were out of timeouts at that point and started their final drive of the game from their own 4-yard line. UF did pick up one first down but threw incomplete on third and fourth down to end the game at its own 25.

Exceptional efforts: The running backs were tremendous again as was the offensive line blocking for them. Freshman Malik Davis led the way with 90 yards on 14 carries, and sophomore Lamichal Perine picked up 70 yards and two touchdowns on 12 hard runs. The Gators called 32 runs to 22 passes but went away from what was working in the fourth quarter while the Tigers’ defense was gassed and susceptible to being shredded.

Important injuries: Redshirt senior defensive back Nick Washington re-injured his shoulder in the game and did not return late in the contest. Florida was forced to insert yet another true freshman in the secondary, though it did not appear to harm the defense that much. Still, Washington’s experience is desperately needed by the young unit. Freshman sensation Kadarius Toney also hurt his shoulder and shin in the game, though he tried to tough it out late. Sophomore DB Chauncey Gardner injured his ankle, and redshirt senior gunner Garrett Stephens appeared to suffer a serious knee injury.

Odds and ends: The Gators set the nation’s longest streak of scoring points in a game at 366 consecutive contests … Florida lost at home for just the second time under McElwain (13-2) … the Gators are now 18-2 against unranked opponents under McElwain … this was just the 12 time since 1990 that Florida lost while giving up 21 points or fewer in a contest … UF is now 2-6 against LSU since 2009 … Florida is 2-4-1 all-time against LSU on homecoming

What it means: The Gators’ astronomical chances of competing in the national title race are kaput and their hopes of winning the SEC East have taken a massive hit. With Florida’s biggest rival in Georgia playing lights-out football, UF likely needed an undefeated SEC record heading into the rivalry contest in three weeks just in case it suffered a head-to-head loss in the game. Instead, the Gators are now one game behind the Bulldogs in the SEC East race and seem prepared to be blown out in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Of course, Florida has to get past a tough Texas A&M team first, one which is competing hard against Alabama.

Tough takeaways: Redshirt freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks has done a good job not making catastrophic mistakes (10-of-16 passing, 108 yards), but his lack of big-play threat on Saturday coupled with his inability to make multiple reads per play are detriments. With this season basically lost, better to let Franks learn on the job going forward … Gardner stepped up in a major way after his tackling was much-maligned for the first month of this season. He made numerous big hits on runs and passes and deserves major kudos for his improvement … Redshirt junior kicker Eddy Pineiro should not be blamed for the missed extra point. It was a bad snap and a botched hold that led to him kicking a ball that was falling down … Florida’s defense did step up in the second half, though it was finding success against an awful quarterback. The Gators have not created a turnover in three games and dropped at least two interceptions on Saturday … Forget the missed kick, Florida’s return game on both kickoffs and punts is an absolute disaster … Only five Gators caught passes on Saturday one week after 10 hauled in receptions … Florida went 2-of-10 combined on third and fourth down, which is wholly unacceptable even against a good defense … Junior cornerback Duke Dawson had a rough night. He was hurdled after a reception, had a holding penalty on third down in what wound up as a touchdown scoring drive, dropped two interceptions, had another potential pick ruled a 50/50 ball for a long gain, and missed a crucial tackle

By the quarter

First: Perine ran for a first down on the opening offensive play and immediately fumbled, though it was recovered by Florida. LSU wide receiver Derrick Dillon got ejected from the game for targeting on third down, but the Tigers converted on the next play backed up near their own end zone and continued their drive. Aided by a third-down holding penalty on Dawson, LSU took the next play 30 yards on the ground into the end zone for an easy touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.

Second: Backed up after a punt, the Gators pieced together an 11-play, 70-yard drive with some big-time runs late in the second quarter but could only muster a 25-yard field goal Pineiro after stalling inside the 10-yard line. LSU responded with a field goal before the half as it benefited on an extended drive as referees called an absurd pass interference on Florida and missed a false start on LSU. Dawson then dropped an interception on third down to give the Tigers an opportunity to retake a touchdown lead with halftime approaching.

Third: LSU opened the second half with a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive aided by a 47-yard reception by DJ Chark that was simultaneously caught by Dawson but ruled the Tigers’ ball. The Gators immediately responded with a similar seven-play, 75-yard drive with Franks converting a big 12-yard run and Perine finding the end zone after a 23-yard run earlier in the series. A rare defensive stand got the ball back for Florida, which trucked 76 yards on nine plays with Perine finding the end zone once more. Unfortunately, a bad snap led to a bad hold by redshirt senior punter Johnny Townsend; Pineiro had no chance to make the extra point, and UF trailed 17-16.

Fourth: The Gators’ defense stepped up in the second half, but the offense was unable to muster anything like it did one quarter earlier when it picked up 151 yards on 16 plays. Florida had an average starting field position of its own 19 and ran just 13 total plays for 36 yards, turning the ball over on downs with 1:39 to play. UF went away from its playmakers and instead asked Franks to throw the ball more, a tough task and mind-numbing decision when the Gators were having such great success running the ball down the Tigers’ throats. Add in sophomore wide receiver Freddie Swain giving up a first down in an effort to gain more yards and there were miscues aplenty. Regardless, Florida had three chances to take the lead in the final 13 minutes and failed on all three opportunities.


  1. J G Lopez says:

    A disaster is how I see it. LSU is an average team and Gators maybe a notch worse. Would not give Pineiro a free pass as top kickers can work through bad snaps and holds and still kick true. A mediocre team and coaching staff going nowhere is my assessment. Not up to Gators standard by a long shot.

    • The ball was falling down. You’re wrong.

    • corey mulvihill says:

      JG Lopez, with the ball falling forward off of the holder’s finger, there’s absolutely no way for the kicker to adjust what he’s doing with his leg already moving forward, much less see the ball falling off of Townsend’s finger. The only way anyone knew was the replay on TV showed it happen, and that was in slow motion.

  2. Mike says:

    I don’t understand why McElwain did not use their last time out in the first half to set up some plays to “TRY” and get into field goal range. With a weapon like Pineiro it would not of taken much. McElwain mentioned he wanted to see his players to start playing with a “Sense of Urgency”. Could that not be said for the play calling also. Why did we not go for less than a yard fourth downs? I understand the location on the field. But he has to believe in the men he has in there to execute the play successfully.

  3. Steve Whitlow says:

    I’ll have to agree with JG Lopez ” Not up to Gator standards & prior to Muschump (6 years), we have been Handicapped by selecting terrible coaching & staffs & the overall playcalling ( not even high school level ). Now did anyone listen to Coach Mac’s speech in the coaches reply to the game result’s , this speech was a wandering reply of ous & ows & alot of delays in some of the answers, now what this reminded of was a ” FAREWELL SPEECH “, for him or Nussy or both ?? Now for the last 2+ years what have we seen in the playcalling== NOTHING LIKE THE OBC PLAYS, “FUN N GUN” or shock n awe type of plays NO WILD PLAYS !!!! Now we all know that we have also been handicapped by 9-12 of the players, chosing to abuse their credit cards & with all the paper trails thinking they would not be caught, these people who were in charge of the cards should ALL BE FIRED & possibly jail & fines. Haven’t these kids ever been under an AUDIT ? A hard way to learn the ways of the world. I feel for the Gator Bulls, the fans, and about 80+ football players who are HANDICAPPED at this time frame of GATOR FOOTBALL. So until we see some positive changes in this situation I will just be a regular fan & not make such a big deal of watching the Gators get out coached which has been going on for 6+ years, I don’t blame the players, they are playing their hearts out, but we REAL GATORS ARE GETTING SHORT CHANGED…5-6 wins WILL NOT DO THIS YEAR OR ANY GATOR YEAR….Thanks SC Whitlow, a die-hard GATOR FAN SINCE GATOR RAY ( alot of years ). I’ve seen alot of great coaches here at UF but more of the other………..GO GATORS 2017, maybe someone should ask SOS for some of his advise, after all the football field is named after him, he could miss a little of his golf game to get The GATORS BACK ON THE TRACK !!!!!!

  4. Alex says:

    This is Florida football.

    This is what we are. All you have to do is listen to the clown during his post-game press conference.

    Ahhh shucks, ya know what? Gee golly…

    Silver lining is we won’t have to endure another fools gold East title

    • G2 says:

      Yes, at least we’ll be spared the traditional beat-down by Bama!
      Guessing we get that from UGA instead.

      • 1974Gator says:

        By my calculations there is still a lot to play for. If we beat Georgia and don’t lose again to another SEC team, we go to the SECC game. Am I wrong? Not that I want that. It would feel an awful lot like the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl walking into The Benz and playing Bama for the third time in a row.

  5. Scroud says:

    While it was a disappointing loss, I think people are too hard on the coaching. You have to work with what you’ve got. We are missing a top RB, top two receivers, Del Rio would have been the QB and look at how many freshmen are playing everywhere. It’s easy to fault the coaches, but they can’t call plays that won’t be executed. Same on the D, probably play it conservative to minimize the risk of the big play. I agree with Adam that we have to let Franks develop. I think next year the Gators will be much stronger and will have a good season. But for this season, expectations have to be realistic; Spurrier was a great coach but the recruiting wasn’t there at SC, and the teams were mediocre because of it. Next year will be the year the Gators are back on top.

    • CCH says:

      Look at what Kirby and Richt are doing in year two on offense, defense and recruiting. That puts into perspective where we’re at and what Mac really has done in 3 years. Our offense has gotten no better (you could actually argue it’s getting worse) and our defense has definitely gotten worse.

      • 1974Gator says:

        The defense is worse arguably because we are young and do not have the numbers at DB and LB because of injuries and suspensions. That’s not Shannon’s fault. Our D-line is playing lights out and we can expect they will continue to do so. If we run into a really hot QB with good receivers we will get shredded (like Vandy’s Shurmur did).

  6. Mike Simolo says:

    Do you watch other coaches on the sidelines fully engaged in what is going on. Mac never talks, gets emotional, nothing. Players take the personality of their coach. Our ain’t that neat atttitude will not cut it in the SEC. I hate watching this unprepared team. We are a middle of the road SEC East team. Scott Frost turns UCF around in year 2. Everyone plays freshman QBs and they are stars. Our coaches get nothing out of a redshirt freshman who even enrolled early. Love my Gators but this product stinks.

    • 1974Gator says:

      Yeah it stinks. Mac has turned over the offense to an extremely conservative coordinator whose only success (from what I can determine) was with nobody. He followed Mac at Bama and took credit for Mac’s development of AJ McCarron and AJ throwing passes to Kevin Norwood and Amari Cooper (all three are NFLers). You can get away with conservative at Bama because you have beasts steam rolling the opponent and creating truck lanes for running backs. Very few 3 and outs. We finally have a serviceable O line with quality running backs and play makers in space. Why would we ignore them and put the pressure on a baby duck QB to perform when we need to move the ball? I think it’s time for Mac to clue us in on what we don’t know is going on. Either that or Nussmeier needs to get his head out of his ass and grow a pair.

  7. Michael L. Jones says:

    I don’t understand the bizarre play calling and time management in our last drive. Hard to believe that is a second year QB in our system and that our passing attack isn’t more sophisticated than that. We were running the wildcat as part of our two minute offense . . I love Toney but do we really think that same thing that we have been running all game is going to work in the 2 minute drill? We can’t come up with more creative ways to get Toney out in space?

    And the intentional grounding call on Franks. . with the running back sitting there in the flat wide open. . no one around him . . and Franks sails the ball 30 yards over his head where there is not a receiver in sight? To get rid of the ball? And then flushes HIMSELF out of the pocket (our O-line had stonewalled their D-line on that play . . no one was near Franks when he bailed) on the goal line and then runs out of bounds with the ball? Scary.

    The last thing is that I don’t get the deal where our cornerbacks routinely get scared out in space and basically tackle the other team’s wideouts.

  8. CCH says:

    When do we call this what it is and that’s bad coaching and something we’ve gotten for 3 years under Mac. We can keep making excuces for him but he’s gets paid +$4M to get results and we’re getting worse! Champ’s defensive guys are gonna and I am sorry but Coach Shannon isn’t the answer to that side of the ball. He’s way too conservative and our kids look confused…the latter is a combination of youth and coaching. The offense needs no explanation because it’s a dumpster fire and the guy calling the plays should never have been hired…there’s a reason he was readily available. The fact he’s still employed or that a minimum his play calling duties have not been stripped from him, is an indictment on Mac and if he refuses to deal with it, then he’s definitely not the man for this job. I personally didn’t like the hiring of Mac, it was one of pure desperation and lack of big names being available and/or interested. Football under Mac is unbearable to watch, at least under Muschamp we knew we’d have elite defenses and that would give us a chance. I do believe Muschamp when he said that if he had hired Roper sooner, he’d still be our coach. Instead, what do we have now? What’s our identity…we have none. Look at what Kirby’s doing in year two…he’s coaching and recruiting at an elite level…we are not. Now, I will say that other than Nord (which for the life of me I cannot understand how he still has a job), I like what’s Mac’s done with the assistants, he’s gone all in on recruiting, with who he’s hired and retained (minus Nord). To offset that, the HC and the coordinators have to be elite and our OC is WAY below average and our DC is average at best and I have no clue what our HC is good at…it definitely isn’t offense or making really tough decisions.

    Something has to change and change soon or Mac needs to go but he’s either too dumb, arrogant or stubborn to do what needs to be done…may be a combination but it’s coaching that’s killing this team and it’s time we call a spade a spade.

  9. Owlykat says:

    Would you nay sayers be surprised to learn the last three years the second winningest SEC Team are the Florida Gators coached by Coach Mac? Coach Mac is being paid to win and he can still win his fourth SEC East Title and all he has to do is beat the remaining SEC Games on his schedule!

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