First, the good news. LSU is now in no danger of finishing the SEC season winless. That was always a rather panicked outlook, but it's nice to put that thought to bed. It wasn't pretty, and it's not a game you'll want to put on the highlight reel, but it's a win. And right now, LSU needs all the wins it can get.
However, LSU is starting to look a bit more like the LSU teams we all know under Les Miles. The defense had to make two huge stops to bail out an offense that was guided by nearly incompetent quarterback play. Anthony Jennings got the start, and all of the snaps, and proceeded to show little of why Miles has placed so much faith in him. He threw for 110 yards on 10 for 21. At least he took care of the ball and didn't throw any picks.
The defense looked fairly stout throughout the night before the old bugaboo of big plays came up and bit them on the rear. A 73 yard pass play to Demarcus Robinson with 2:08 left seemed like the kind of play that would ruin a pretty good night for the defense by grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory. Of the 306 yards allowed on the night, 73 were on one play with the Tigers clinging to a three point lead.
But the defense rose to the challenged and made a huge goal line stand, admittedly aided by a pretty egregious drop by Florida in the end zone. LSU held Florida to a field goal and looked to be headed to overtime. Before, somehow, Florida got the ball back at midfield with a chance to win in regulation. Rickey Jefferson intercepted a pass and returned it just long enough to set up the game winning the field goal.
The final three minutes of the game had enough excitement for a full game (and a horrific injury scare). LSU scored 10 points, kicked off by a truly amazing one-handed grab by Dural in the end zone. The fact each team still had two more possessions seemed unfathomable at the time. Some poor clock management, and even worse QB play, gave Florida a chance to win the game, which they gave right back to the Tigers.
This seems a lot like the old blueprint for winning LSU football minus one huge ingredient: special teams play. A traditional strength for Miles' teams, the special teams nearly cost LSU the game tonight. A missed extra point actually ended up being sort of beneficial to LSU, but two Andre DeBose punt returns killed LSU. One resulted in a TD, and one was merely a TD delayed by two plays. You cant spot a good team 14 points to a good team and expect to win.
Fortunately, Florida is not a terribly good team. Tehir offense sputtered and stalled, and then they handed the game winning play to LSU. Colby Delahoussaye, after missing a PAT, calmly drilled a 49 yarder to win. Just like you draw it up, right?
The best news of the night was the emergence of Leonard Fournette. After showing just flashes of his ability, tonight he had his coming out party. He was the best player on the field, except maybe DeBose. He rushed for 140 yards on 27 carries. He also scored two impressive looking TD's. He put the offense on his back all game and kept this team in the game. If he's not our star player yet, he's about to be.