Terrance Magee

Late Jeff Driskel interception costs Florida as Gators snap defeat from jaws of victory

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Jeff Driskel was perfect in the fourth quarter – until he wasn’t. And his one moment of imperfection cost Florida as the Gators blew a late 24-20 lead to fall to LSU 30-27 at the Swamp on Saturday night.

Trailing 20-17 entering the final frame after Leonard Fournette‘s second rushing touchdown of the game at the 3:42 mark of the third quarter, Driskel hit five of his first six passes of the fourth quarter for 118 yards, including an 11-yarder to Demarcus Robinson to put the Gators up 24-20 with 6:10 to play, and a 73-yarder, again to Robinson, to move the ball to the LSU two after the Bayou Bengals had reclaimed the lead at 27-24 on an Anthony Jennings scoring strike to Travin Dural (which he happened to catch while battling pass interference).

With the clock nearing the tw0-minute mark, Brandon Powell rushed for one yard on first-and-goal, and Driskel carried for no gain on second-and-goal. With the ball on the one-yard line, Driskel found an open Tevin Westbrook in the end zone, but the pass clanged off his hands and fell incomplete. The Gators settled for a Francisco Velez field goal to tie the game at 27-27 with 1:49 to play.

After forcing a three-and-out, the Gators reclaimed the ball at their own 42 with 54 seconds to play. Driskel hit Brandon Powell out of the backfield on consecutive plays for 13 yards (making him 7-of-9 for 131 yards with a touchdown and a drop in the quarter….good, right?), Driskel forced a ball into coverage, and Rickey Jefferson snagged it for LSU and returned the ball 23 yards to the Florida 36.

Because of the Westbrook drop, a tie game meant LSU could play conservative knowing worst-case scenario meant overtime – instead of a touchdown do-or-die situation – and that they did. One Terrance Magee run and an incomplete pass set Colby Delahoussaye up for the 50-yard game-winning field goal with three seconds to play.

The win dropped Florida to a painful 3-2 on the season and 2-2 in SEC play, while LSU improves to 5-2 and avoids its first 0-3 SEC start since 1999.

Driskel completed 14-of-25 passes for 183 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions while carrying the Gators’ ground attack with 21 rushes for 71 yards. While Driskel dominated the stat sheet, Andre Debose was Florida’s best offensive player with two punt returns that totaled 115 yards, one for 62-yard touchdown that opened the scoring and a 53-yarder that set up Driskel’s touchdown pass.

Florida played most of the games without star cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, and lost wide receiver Latroy Pittman to a scary hit that saw him carted off the field.

Jennings played the whole way at quarterback for LSU, hitting on 10-of-21 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, while Fournette posted his best game as a collegian with 27 rushes for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

Florida will host Missouri next week, while LSU returns home to face Kentucky.

Manziel’s Heisman hopes fade in loss to LSU

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The odds of Johnny Manziel winning a second Heisman were always long. After all, there’s only been one two-time Heisman winner  — Archie Griffin of Ohio State back in 1974-75.

But No. 12 Texas A&M’s loss to No. 22 LSU in Death Valley on Saturday pretty much put the matter to rest, as the Tigers stifled the normally prolific Manziel and defeated the Aggies, 34-10. It’s the first time this year that Texas A&M has failed to reach 40 points.

With the win, LSU moves to 8-3 overall and 4-3 in the SEC. A&M dropped to 8-3 and 4-3.

Manziel completed just 16 of 41 passes for 224 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. He also added 54 yards on the ground. It’s a far cry from his usual production and marks the second year in a row that the Tigers have found a way to bottle him up.

The Aggies continued to struggle on defense, allowing the Tigers to pile up 324 rushing yards, which enabled them to possess the ball for a remarkable 40 minutes. Terrance Magee rushed for a game-high 149 yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries while quarterback Zach Mettenberger passed for 193 yards and two touchdowns as LSU pretty much had its way on offense.

The Tigers defense put in a sterling effort all game long. Besides keeping Manziel from going crazy, they held the Aggies to 75 rushing yards and just 5 of 14 on third down conversions. Star receiver Mike Evans couldn’t get untracked, either, as he caught just four passes for 51 yards.

This wasn’t Johnny Football brightest hour, but he’ll have another chance to redeem himself next Saturday against Missouri in what could be his final regular season game as a collegian.

Report: Les Miles still vague on status of RB Jeremy Hill

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LSU head coach Les Miles still won’t reveal whether Tigers running back Jeremy Hill will play against Alabama-Birmingham this week, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on Tuesday.

“We’ll put him on the field, I guess I should say, when we’re ready,” Miles told the Times-Picayune. “I think he’s coming. I think his time is in front of us.”

Hill was suspended from the team over the summer for his role in a bar fight, but was reinstated during fall camp after his teammates voted to bring him back. Miles said at the time that Hill would face ‘internal discipline’ and sat him for LSU’s opener against TCU, even though Hill suited up and took part in pregame warmups.

The Tiger running game was fine without Hill against the Horned Frogs, as the duo of Alfred Blue and Terrance Magee combined for 184 yards and two touchdowns.

Hill, a sophomore, led the team with 755 yards and 12 touchdowns last year and he is considered the program’s most talented back. But LSU could probably get through another couple games without him, since Kent State follows UAB on the schedule.

What we do know is that Miles will march to the beat of his own drummer, which means Hill could start this Saturday….or spend another couple weeks on the bench.

 

LSU holds off TCU, wins 42nd non-conference game in a row

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No. 12 LSU used a balanced offense and a stingy defense to hold off No. 20 TCU, 37-27, at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Saturday. With the win, the Tigers extended their non-conference win streak to a record 42 games in a row.

It wasn’t easy, though, as TCU kept things close for most of the game.

LSU’s edge in physicality made the difference…as it usually does. The Tigers pounded the proud Horned Frogs defense to the tune of 197 yards on the ground as Terrance Magee led the way with a game-high 95 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger hit on just 16 of 32 passes, but he produced 251 yards through the air and completed several clutch throws. The Tigers ran 80 plays, held the ball for 35 minutes, converted 13 of 19 third down attempts and piled up 448 yards. All in all, it was a pretty good debut for new LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs couldn’t seem to get anything going in the passing game. Casey Pachall, TCU’s 2011 starter who sat out most of last season, started the game and completed just nine of 16 passes for 75 yards and an interception in the first half. Trevone Boykin took over in the second half and wasn’t much better, completing six of 12 for 70 yards.

Despite holding the TCU offense in check, though, LSU couldn’t pull away as the Frogs took advantage of a second-quarter B.J. Catalon 100-yard kickoff return to stay within striking distance. The Tigers led, 16-10, at the half despite outgaining the Horned Frogs 254 to 104.  LSU then dominated in the third quarter as  Magee’s two touchdown runs sandwiched another score by Catalon and the Tigers appeared to be in control heading into the fourth quarter, leading 30-17.

That quickly changed.

A TCU punt backed the Tigers up on their own one-yard-line and two plays later a bad exchange between Mettenberger and running back Alfred Blue resulted in the Horned Frogs taking over at the LSU six. Waymon James punched it in and, suddenly, the Horned Frogs were back in business. A 39-yard field goal by Jared Oberkrom made it 30-27 with over seven minutes to play.

But Odell Beckham return the ensuing kickoff 75 yards to the TCU 25-yard line and Mettenberger then found Jarvis Landry on a 20-yard touchdown pass and the margin went back to 10. TCU failed to rally and Les Miles escaped with his 31st-straight non-conference win in his time at LSU.

You have to feel good about this win if you’re an LSU fan. For the first time in a while it looks like the Tigers offense could be showing signs of life. It wasn’t always pretty, but Metternberger made the plays he needed to make in order to beat a quality opponent.

So while many figure Texas A&M to be the main challenger to Alabama in the SEC West, maybe they shouldn’t sleep on LSU just yet.