A hard fought game late at night under the lights in Death Valley saw Jim McElwain lose for the first time as the Gators’ head coach. Here’s a look at how it unfolded:
It was over when… Treon Harris’s last second desperation heave fell incomplete. You could also say the sack he took on the first play of that last drive was the play that really did Florida in.
Play of the game… Locked in a 28-28 tie in the fourth quarter, Les Miles dug into his bag of tricks and pulled out the same play he used five years ago to beat Florida- the fake field goal toss to the kicker. Once again, it worked to perfection, as Trent Domingue took the toss from his holder and ran it in for the game winning touchdown.
Game ball goes to… Leonard Fournette, who ran for 180 yards on 31 carries. You could also make a case for Malachi Dupree, who hauled in a Hail Mary throw from Brandon Harris at the end of the first half and navigated his way an additional seven yards into the end zone for a devastating end of half touchdown.
Stat of the game… 1-1. LSU only attempted one fourth down conversion, but they converted it and it was a killer- the fake field goal touchdown to Domingue.
What to be proud of… Florida was left for dead following the Hail Mary to Dupree to make it 28-14 at the end of the first half, which came right after a “response” drive that ended in a touchdown from Treon Harris to Jake McGee. But instead of folding, Florida fought back to tie it with a touchdown drive and then a punt return TD from Antonio Callaway. On the road at night in Death Valley. Against the 6th ranked team in the country. That’s certainly… different than how a Will Muschamp team would have responded.
What to work on… Florida’s defense was great for three quarters, but absolutely horrid in the second quarter- so horrid, in fact, that it directly cost them the game. The Gators surrendered 28 points in that second quarter, and looked just as bad as that stat makes them seem, giving up the aforementioned bomb to Dupree with 15 seconds left in the half. And while Treon Harris did some good things, he’s got a lot of work to do. He held the ball too long at times. He took a sack in a two minute drill. He ran away instead of stepping up into the pocket, which resulted in more sacks. And he short armed throws to receivers that ranged from semi-open to wide open. The good news is that now he’s got two weeks to regroup and learn from his mistakes.
Bottom line: Florida didn’t play well by any means, had some blown calls go against them and was faced with utter disaster- yet the Gators were very much in this game the entire way. And the Gators still control their own destiny to win the SEC East. But now there’s no two ways about it. Florida must beat Georgia two weeks from now. And if they do, then this was nothing more than a learning experience, one which will make Florida a better team in the long run now that they see for themselves that merely playing “OK” won’t cut it in the big games.
|FLORIDA||1st 10:13||J. McGee 4 yd pass from T. Harris (PAT good)||7||0|
|LSU||2nd 12:23||L. Fournette 2 yd run (PAT good)||7||7|
|LSU||2nd 5:00||M. Dupree 9 yd pass from B. Harris (PAT good)||7||14|
|LSU||2nd 2:25||L. Fournette 6 yd run (PAT good)||7||21|
|FLORIDA||2nd 1:35||J. McGee 19 yd pass from T. Harris (PAT good)||14||21|
|LSU||2nd :15||M. Dupree 50 yd pass from B. Harris (PAT good)||14||28|
|FLORIDA||3rd 8:01||K. Taylor 2 yd run (PAT good)||21||28|
|FLORIDA||3rd 1:04||A. Callaway 72 yd punt return (PAT good)||28||28|
|LSU||4th 10:40||T. Domingue 16 yd run (PAT good)||28||35|