Well, losses don't get much worse than that. In fact, that was by far the worst and most embarrassing loss of the Les Miles era.
A lot of people are saying we weren't ready to play, and that may be true, but I am not sure. I think that this was a game where, even though the scoreboard was really lopsided, was decided by only a few plays.
The first two plays of the game, LSU's defense played well and put Florida in a 3rd and long situation. We forced an inaccurate throw on third down that our defensive back got a hand on. It should have either been intercepted or knocked down, forcing a punt. Instead, it was tipped up and into Percy Harvin's arms and there was no one to catch him. Instead of us getting the ball in decent field position with a defensive stop under our belts, we were behind 7-0 on a bad bounce and the Gators were riding high emotionally.
After that, we were unable to get anything going on our own possession. Our offensive line was unable to open holes for Charles Scott early, and Florida's offensive firepower prevented us from being patient with it as the game progressed. We had that bad offensive possession and had to give the ball back. At this point, we were really back on our heels and we had lost the emotional edge. We didn't get it back until we were behind 20-0.
I think if that pass to Harvin falls incomplete, the whole first quarter has a different tenor.
We fought back in the second quarter, but we were again plagued by a bad play here and there, especially the fumbled exchange between Jarrett Lee and Charles Scott. Getting that big touchdown headed into the locker room was huge, and getting that second touchdown to cut the lead to 20-14 in the third quarter was doubly huge. We really were right back in it.
Then the second really important play happened. I don't know if it was a really important play exactly, but it was a really important drive. When we gave the ball back to Florida having cut the lead to 6 points, had we gotten a stop there, we would have seized all the momentum and we could have played our game the rest of the way. Instead, we gave up the long pass to Louis Murphy, who had beaten Chris Hawkins, to set up the easy touchdown, putting us behind by 13 again.
That touchdown utterly deflated us. Maybe had we come right back and scored, we could have stayed in it, but instead we got a 3-and-out. At that point, the game was probably over. Florida, as they did against Arkansas, was able to pour on the points towards the end. Not that they ran it up, which they didn't, but they continued playing their game and we just didn't have it in us to keep fighting. That is what made the score lopsided.
One of the things I like about college football is that often, even in a game that ends up not being close, you can look back and say that it would have been different if one or two plays had gone differently. If Danny McCray is able to stop that pass to Harvin, and if Chris Hawkins had stopped that pass to Murphy, the entire game is different.
I'll have a post up another day about what this means to us, but I will summarize here. If we are able to recover emotionally from the loss and keep playing, we can be fine. The key will be to not get negative. We have another big game next week against a team that can beat us if we aren't sharp.