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First Impressions: LSU 17, Florida 16

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Hard-fought win.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Florida
Guts
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Give the team credit, this was a motivated effort. LSU needed to come out big, and this team responded.

It wasnt pretty, and it was barely encouraging, but it was a win. And this team needs wins more than anything. And when the tough got going, LSU stiffened up and made the big plays to win the game.

All things considered, the first half went pretty well. Both teams played it close to the vest, minimizing the number of possessions. Both teams scrupulously avoided mistakes, which is also a way to avoid scoring.

LSU found the end zone first, on one of about a billion jet sweeps. Russell Gage found so much open space, he couldn't believe his good fortune as he trotted into the end zone.

Florida responded with a long drive, marked by big gain after big gain. However, the Tiger defense stiffened up once the ball got inside the 10 and the Gators had to settle for a field goal.

LSU almost successfully managed the end of the half drive coupled with getting the ball to start the second, but Danny Etling was lucky to not throw a pick on two different occassions. Fortunate to have not turned the ball over, LSU happily took the end of half field goal.

Connor Culp must have taken that no field goal kickers on the roster thing personally.

Heck, the second half started off perfectly as well. DJ Chark won possession on a simultaneously possessed deep ball, and then LSU went full power to score a huge touchdown. At 17-3, given Florida's offensive struggles, the game seemed close to over.

Instead, Florida responded with consecutive long drives, both for a touchdown. The offense spotted the team to a lead, but the defense let them down. And then, providence. Eddy Piniero, one of themost reliable kickers in the country, missed a PAT.

This radically changed the fourth quarter from a battle to break a tie to LSU desperately defending a one point lead. Matt Canada dropped all pretense and ran the ball on virtually every play, needing to run clock, but also having no faith in the passing game.

The defense stiffened up and while they never looked like defenses of Tiger past, they gamely kept the Florida offense in check. Finally, a fourth down pass was knocked away by Devin White, securing victory.

It wasnt pretty, but it was a win. Hey, Florida, how was your homecoming?