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Initial Impressions: LSU 19, Florida 27

Rock Fight!

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

The only way Florida could win this game was by turning it into rock fight. Well, they succeeded on that part. This was like watching two giants hurl mountains at one another. Florida brought LSU down into the muck with them, and LSU couldn’t get out of it.

Joe Burrow hadn’t thrown an interception all season, then threw two in the final two minutes of the game, sealing a defeat in front of an emotional Florida home crowd.

But twice in the fourth quarter, LSU asked for its defense to make plays. The first time, the defense failed, allowing a long TD drive after LSU took the lead. The second time, the defense allowed two first downs, but stiffened on the next sequence and forced a punt with about two minutes left, giving LSU one last chance to win the game. Even if they would start on their own 12.

It would not be enough. LSU would convert one fourth down, but then drop two passes which would have been first down conversions before Burrow threw his final panicked interception on the game’s final play.

LSU started the game with a brilliant drive. Ensminger effectively mixed in runs and passes, and Joe Burrow led the team down the field 75 yards in 10 plays, resulting in opening score.

The next drive of the game promised more of the same. LSU again marched down the filed with authority, getting down to the Florida 28 yard-line in just five plays. Then, disaster struck, which ultimately changed the game. Jachai Polite sacked Burrow from behind, knocking the ball loose, which bounced directly to a Gator defender.

The fumble itself didn’t lead to points, but the momentum palpably shifted. Florida would spend the next few drives in LSU territory, as LSU would go three and out twice on two drives, both starting inside the LSU 15. Field position would eventually pay off and Florida tied the game at 7-7.

The offense would manage just one decent drive the rest of the half, but an apparent first down run by Clyde Edwards-Helaire was pushed back a yard by a terrible spot that Orgeron decided wasn’t worth challenging for some reason. Kick Tracy would boot the field goal to give LSU the lead.

The defense would then stiffen up and force the Florida offense to… hahahaha, just kidding. Florida would go on its best drive of the half, a 10-play, 75-yard drive not even slowed down by a 10 yard penalty. Feleipe Franks made his best impression of a competent quarterback, carving up the LSU secondary, and then throwing for a go-ahead score before the half.

LSU still had a minute to respond, but decided that they would rather run out the clock and allow Florida to have a chance to extend its lead to start the next half. A decision that looked even worse when a hands to the face penalty tacked on to a 49-yard gain put Florida inside the red zone. Grant Delpit would save the day with an interception in the end zone to reverse the momentum.

It was the moment that the LSU defense woke up. They didn’t look like their normal selves on the first half, and Franks put together two huge touchdown drives in that first half. But after the Delpit interception, Florida would go three and out on its next three drives.

The best thing about the two-headed monster in the LSU backfield is that Orgeron an go with the hotter hand. Last week, it was Edwards-Heaire. This week, it was Brossette, who finished the game with 95 yards on 15 carries. More importantly, he had those two huge touchdown runs.

But when LSU had the ball with a chance to take the lead, Orgeron ran Clyde Edward-Helaire. Twice. He gained 3 yards on 2 carries. On third down, Burrow failed to convert and LSU had to punt it back to Florida, pinning them inside the five.

However, once LSU finally took the lead back in the fourth, the defense had its worst sequence of the second half. Florida responded by driving to the red zone, making a series of huge plays. A defense that had looked so good for the half just lost its way right when it needed to shut the door. Florida responded with a touchdown of its own to retake the lead.

LSU had a chance to respond with plenty of time on the clock, but simply couldn’t put together the plays on offense or on defense. They simply never found the rhythm they needed in this game, and seemed to be floundering in quicksand all night.

LSU got in a rock fight, and Florida lobbed one right square between the eyes. Feleipe Franks made plays, and Joe Burrow didn’t. That’s a sentence I never expected to type.