No. 7 Florida’s defense figured to present perhaps the biggest challenge Joe Burrow and company would face all season long, fresh off their impressive 24-13 win over previously unbeaten Auburn last week in the Swamp. And if that’s indeed the case, look out.
Burrow completed 21-of-24 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns, LSU ran for 216 yards on 22 carries and the fifth-ranked Tigers rolled through the vaunted Gators defense like they have everyone else this season, scoring a 42-28 win on Saturday night. For those doing the math: that’s 509 yards of total offense — on 48 snaps — against the No. 1 scoring defense in the SEC.
Through the first half, though, the story was Florida’s offense, not LSU’s.
As the Tigers (6-0, 2-0 SEC) rolled up more than 12 yards a snap through the first two quarters, Florida put up methodical drive after methodical drive. In fact, Florida answered all three of LSU’s touchdowns with long touchdown drives of their own: 12 plays, 75 yards; 13 plays, 75 yards; and 11 plays, 75 yards.
The second touchdown drive was the craziest of them all, as Emory Jones found running back Lamical Perine on a deflected fourth-and-goal pass.
The third touchdown drive was punctuated by a 6-yard Kyle Trask pass to Van Jefferson with four seconds left in the second quarter, evening the game at 21-21. While LSU gained 12 yards per play to Florida’s 5.72, the Gators remained in the game because they snapped the ball 43 times to LSU’s 22.
The Gators (6-1, 3-1 SEC) accepted the ball to open the second half and again marched down the field, going 76 yards in eight plays this time and taking their first lead on a 2-yard toss from Trask to Jefferson.
This time, though, LSU answered, going 75 yards in eight plays and knotting the score at 28-28 on Clyde Edwards-Helaire‘s second touchdown run of the night. He rushed for 134 yards and two scores on 13 carries.
After the Tigers’ defense forced a three-and-out — their first since Florida’s opening possession — LSU re-gained the lead on a 33-yard scoring dash by Tyrion Davis-Price.
Trailing 35-28, Florida appeared primed to notch its fourth game-tying touchdown drive of the night, moving from its own 8-yard line to the LSU 16 when, on a 3rd-and-1, Trask threw into the end zone and was intercepted by Derek Stingley, Jr. LSU’s defense finally held serve, and the offense took advantage, breaking open the game with a devastating 4-play, 80-yard drive that cashed in on a 54-yard toss from Burrow to J’Marr Chase, putting LSU up two touchdowns with 5:43 left in the game.
Florida — again — went 75 yards in an attempt to get back in the game, but LSU again turned the Gators away scoreless, as K’Lavon Chaisson slammed Trask to the turf on a fourth-and-goal option keeper from the LSU 2 with 49 seconds left to shut the door on a last-gasp comeback attempt.
Trask finished the game 23-of-39 for 310 yards with three touchdowns and an interception