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.


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