Player meetings. Coaches meetings. Athletic director meetings. Whatever it was, it seemed to pay off for LSU this week as they bounced back from a surprising loss to Troy to go into the Swamp and upset rival Florida 17-16 on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers put together several quality offensive drives early and squeaked out just enough from their banged up defense in the game to pull it all off, which was not a highlight reel for SEC football but nevertheless shakes up the standings and gives Ed Orgeron some breathing room after a very difficult week filled with plenty of speculation and second-guessing.
LSU quarterback Danny Etling threw for 125 yards and a touchdown in a solid if unspectacular outing that consisted of a passing game that lived on underneath throws. Still, the 341 total yards of offense was a big jump in efficiency for the team despite not being able to run the ball all that much (Derrius Guice finished with 50 yards on 17 carries).
The effort, a payback victory from last year’s final minute loss back in Baton Rouge after a goal line stand, should have been sent to overtime had it not been for a rather routine extra point that was shanked by Florida kicker Eddie Pineiro. That spoiled what should have been a 76-yard game-tying touchdown drive and instead handed the Gators a tough loss in the conference to hamper their SEC East title chances.
Not all was lost for the home crowd however, as the best moment from the Swamp on Saturday didn’t happen between the lines but throughout the stadium as fans honored Gainesville native Tom Petty all afternoon after the legendary rock singer’s tragic passing earlier this week.
We’ve come to expect the unexpected when LSU and Florida get together and, in a fitting fashion, that’s just what we saw on Saturday. No matter what sideline you were on however, chances are if you were a head coach leaving the field your seat was a bit warm after that game.