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Behind the Box Score: Florida Wins Battle of Field Position, Loses Game

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, the kicking game was great.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Florida
Heart doesn’t show up in the box score.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

At the risk of stating the obvious, this was the biggest win of the season. LSU’s season stood at the precipice, and a loss could have sent an emotionally fragile team hurtling over the edge. Instead, they stiffened up, play tough and hard, and came out with a much-needed victory over a much-despised foe.

It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but for what it meant, it was downright beautiful.

4. Number of LSU offensive possessions in the first half. This was a slow moving game in the first half especially, as each team bled as much clock as possible, as if to minimize the damage their offenses could do. LSU only scored 10 points on its four possessions, but its last three drives all lasted at least nine plays. The second half would open with another nine-play drive for 75 yards and a score. After that, LSU’s longest drive was six plays for 27 yards. Florida figured out the LSU offense, but a little too late.

L15. LSU’s average starting field position in the first half. It would get up to L25 by game’s end thanks to starting its final drive on the Florida 25 as the offense ran out the clock, but by and large, LSU had miserable field position all night. So even though the offense was churning out long drives for a bunch of yards, it didn’t result in many points thanks to field position. Again, hidden yards matter.

24. Florida yards of total offense in the fourth quarter. After two long drives (7-75 and 9-76) for touchdowns, it seemd like LSU’s defense had cracked and Florida was about to steamroll the Tigers defense. And then, the defense stiffened up. I’m not sure what Devin White said in his fourth quarter pep talk, but it clearly worked. Florida would only convert one first down for the rest of the game, and one of its three fourth quarter drives would actually move backwards by 6 yards.

13. Devin White had 13 tackles, one for a loss. He is a golden god.

0. Total turnovers in the game. Florida did turn the ball over on downs in its last possession, but both teams took care of the football and gave themselves a chance to win the game. Neither team was all that interested in taking big chances, and they weren’t going to give the other team that big spark. I’m not saying turnovers are a good thing, but they usually are a result of team taking risks. This was a cloes to the vest kind of game for both teams.

49.2. Florida’s average punt. In a game decided by a missed florida kick, the Gators still dominated the kicking game as opposing kickers kept up their run of being freakishly awesome against LSU. Florida punted five times, pinning LSU inside the 20 four times, and booting the ball over 50 yards twice. LSU needs to figure out a way to pressure opposing punters because they are absolutely destroying LSU this season.

52. Russell Gage’s yards rushing. He was LSU’s leading rusher. The receivers outrushed the running backs 105-85, and Danny Etling even got 26 net yards. LSU’s top three receivers were running backs. In fact, DJ Chark had one catch for 47 yards… it was the only catch by a wide receiver for LSU all game. Stats don’t matter, just win.

5. LSU sacks. Give the defense credit, they were able to apply pressure to the quarterback all game, causing good things to happen. Five different LSU defenders recorded at least a partial sack. None of them were named Arden Key.