Upset baby. Book it.
With a 16-10 win over LSU in Baton Rouge, the Gators advanced to Atlanta for the second year in a row. It would be hard to believe if you didn’t see it given all the Gators’ injuries, but they did it.
Here’s a look at how it unfolded:
It was over when… Derrius Guice was stuffed on fourth and goal from inside the one yard line. Florida’s defense got pushed around a bit, but they stood tall and made the game saving stop. Hats off to them.
Play of the game… Down 7-3, Florida appeared to be in a hole inside its own two yard line when Austin Appleby lofted a bomb to Tyrie Cleveland, who caught the ball at his own 40, shook a defender, and trotted the rest of the way for an unbelievably easy coast-to-coast touchdown pass. Appleby finished with 144 yards on the day, with 98 of them on this one play.
Game ball goes to… Everybody. Tyrie Cleveland gets one for breaking through with his 98 yard touchdown reception, Jordan Scarlett gets one for totaling 108 yards on the ground, everyone on the offensive line gets one for opening holes for Scarlett, and Appleby gets one for quarterbacking a team to a road win in Death Valley. Do the rounds on the defense, too. Teez Tabor broke up what would have been a huge completion down the field, Cece Jefferson came up with a huge sack of Danny Etling in the red zone, and Vosean Joseph lit Etling up near the goal line on a dive for the pylon to save a touchdown.
Stat of the game… 2. Jim McElwain has taken Florida to the SEC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons, something no coach has ever done before. Ever.
What to be proud of… Florida was licking their wounds after a bad loss to Arkansas, but they rebounded to win the biggest game of the year. It wasn’t always pretty, and LSU certainly helped by turning it over twice inside their own red zone and botching an easy field goal attempt, but give Florida credit. They made the plays they had to make in a game they had to win. Oh, and they won in Baton Rouge, a place they haven’t won in since 2009.
What to work on… Doug Nussmeier’s play calling was certainly strange. He elected to throw on a third and three despite Scarlett being unstoppable in short yardage situations. That didn’t work and LSU forced a punt. But the real head scratcher came on third and goal from the LSU two inch line. Instead of having Appleby try to sneak it in, he opted to have Appleby pitch it backward and give LSU time to snuff it out. The fact that the pitch was botched was immaterial, as it wouldn’t have worked anyway. Florida won, and that’s great, but I’m really starting to wonder about him as a play-caller. Let’s see what kind of game he calls against FSU.
Bottom line: Florida won the SEC East for the second straight year. Further analysis will come tomorrow. Let’s party.
|LSU||1st 2:36||Darrius Guice 1 yd run (PAT good)||0||7|
|FLORIDA||2nd 13:19||Eddy Pineiro 36 yd FG||3||7|
|FLORIDA||3rd 8:57||Tyrie Cleveland 98 yd pass from Austin Appleby (PAT good)||10||7|
|LSU||4th 12:18||Colby Delahoussaye 22 yd FG||10||10|
|FLORIDA||4th 4:37||Eddy Pineiro 36 yd FG||3||7|
|FLORIDA||4th 3:24||Eddy Pineiro 36 yd FG||3||7|