For the second week in a row, the No. 7 Gators played in the game of the week in college football. Last week, it was a homecoming win over a top-10 Auburn team that left Gator fans smiling from ear to ear. UF fans packed the Swamp, were extremely loud and impacted the game.
The tables were turned on Saturday in Death Valley, as No. 5 LSU defeated Florida (6-1, 3-1 SEC) 42-28. The Tigers’ (6-0, 2-0) potent offense gave UF’s defense fits throughout, and the Gators’ offense couldn’t keep pace in the second half.
Here is our Instant Analysis.
It Was Over When: Trailing 35-28, the Gators took over at their own 8-yard line. Quarterback Kyle Trask led them 76 yards on 11 plays to the LSU 16-yard line. On third-and-1, Trask rolled to his ride and threw to a covered Freddie Swain. Tigers freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. jumped in front of the pass and intercepted it.
On the Tigers’ ensuing possession, quarterback Joe Burrow connected with Ja’Marr Chase for a 54-yard touchdown to put them ahead by two scores. Game over.
They Stole the Show: Burrow was as good as advertised, completing 21 of 24 passes for 293 yards and three scores. He added 43 yards on the ground.
LSU had a pair of 100-yard receivers. Justin Jefferson caught 10 passes for 123 yards and a score, while Chase made seven receptions for 127 yards and two scores.
Tigers running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 134 yards and two scores on 13 carries.
On the other side. Trask played well other than his fatal interception, completing 23 of 39 passes for 310 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.
Tight end Kyle Pitts had another huge night, as he caught five passes for 108 yards. Van Jefferson made eight receptions for 73 yards and a pair of scores.
There wasn’t much defense played in this one, but Stingley came through when it mattered most.
The Stats Don’t Lie: LSU out-gained Florida 511 to 457, including 218 to 146 on the ground. The Tigers averaged 10.6 yards-per-play and 9.1 yards-per-rush.
The Gators weren’t able to affect Burrow, as he wasn’t sacked and threw only three incompletions.
The Tigers ran only four third-down plays, as they stayed ahead of the chains throughout the night.
UF ran the ball a bit better in the first half than they had all season, but they finished the game with just 146 yards at 3.7 yards-per-carry.
Florida punted four times, while LSU punted just twice. Those two additional punts proved to be the difference.
Oh What A Play: Just when it looked like the Gators were about to tie the game, Stingley made his diving interception. It looked like Trask had Tyrie Cleveland open on the other side of the field. Instead, he forced it into coverage, and the freshman made him pay.
These Matchups Proved Key: LSU’s offensive line dominated UF’s defensive front, as they recorded no sacks and just one tackle-for-loss.
Things didn’t go any better on the back end for the Gators, as LSU receivers ran free throughout.
On the other side of the ball, the Tigers’ defensive line limited Florida’s rushing yards and harassed Trask just enough to make a couple of key stops.
Up Next: All of the Gators’ goals – winning the SEC and even a national championship – are still attainable, as a win over Georgia in three weeks would likely put them in the SEC Championship Game. Before that though, UF will try to get back on track next Saturday when they travel to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks (3-3, 2-2), who stunned No. 3 Georgia on Saturday. The time and television network for that game will be announced late Saturday night or Sunday morning.