Now that was LSU football.
It wasn't pretty, but it sure was beautiful. LSU won a hard fought, classic, SEC-style battle that involved lots of hard hitting and not a lot of scoring.
LSU's bugaboo this season has been some dismal 2nd quarters, but today, the team outscored Florida 14-0 in the second frame. That was pretty much the difference in the game as Les Miles spent most of the second half sitting on a two score lead and trying to salt the game away.
It wasn't the kind of game that impresses the neighbors, but that was LSU football. The defense repeatedly answered the call, making stop after stop in the second half while the offense sort of sputtered. It was like watching the "old" LSU team. Just as we got used to a high flying offense and a defensive sieve, the offense was quiet in the second half while the defense made all of the big plays.
Let's not get too ahead of ourselves here. Florida's offense is not exactly Georgia's. The LSU defense made some big stops, but Florida also stopped themselves a few times. The LSU defense started to grow up this weekend, but the key word there is "starting". There's still work to be done.
However, this was a big, big win for the Tigers. LSU gets through the Eastern gauntlet 1-1 and now controls its own destiny in the West. LSU just has to beat its divisional rivals, and this team is back in Atlanta. That's no small thing. Win the things that you can control.
Also, this team looks more capable of beating Alabama than it did a week ago. We don't need this defense to be the second coming of the 2011 team, but it was huge that we kept asking for them to make stops, and they kept making them. That wasn't happening a few weeks ago.
While the offense struggled in the second half, let's not pretend they had a bad outing. Florida dominated time of possession, so when LSU drives stalled out, the offense sat on the bench for a long period of time.
But LSU needed the offense to come through as well, and it did. Right after Florida completed an 11 play drive to cut the lead to a score, the offense responded with a nine-play, 61-yard gem that pushed the lead back up to double digits. When LSU's defense made a big stop near the end of the game, Jeremy Hill ran the ball down Florida's throats and ran out the clock.
It wasn't glamorous, but this was an old school football win. This was exactly the kind of win we needed. LSU proved it could win when the offense didn't play perfectly, and that the offense could run the ball, and run out the clock, when it needed to.
Old LSU showed up today. We're still gonna need the new one.