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Winners and Losers: Florida

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A thrown shoe and a school record boot

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Florida Brad McClenny-USA TODAY Sports

Can one win salvage a lost season? I suppose it’s a matter of perspective.

Saturday night’s win over the Florida Gators certainly doesn’t undo the thumpings LSU took from Alabama and Auburn, nor erase the head scratching losses suffered against Mississippi State and Missouri. It won’t heal Myles Brennan’s injury or make Terrace Marshall, Arik Gilbert or Ja’Marr Chase think “you know what, let’s opt back in.”

But Saturday’s win is arguably the most improbable, guttiest, funniest win in recent memory. A 23-point underdog with a depleted roster has no business beating a top-10 team playing for their playoff lives. And yet. AND YET! LSU punked the Gators in The Swamp and ruined any chance Florida may have had at getting into the College Football Playoff. I love it.

Screw it. Because this was as big of a team win as it gets, let’s have the most winners we’ve had all season.

Winner: Cade York

The longest field goal in LSU program history.

On the road.

In the fog.

Cade York: welcome to LSU immortality.

Winner: Kole Taylor’s left shoe

Arguably the most famous shoe in college football history. Give Kole Taylor’s left shoe the No. 7 AND No. 18 jersey next year. Give it the Heisman. Induct it into the LSU and college football hall of fame.

Winner: Max Johnson

The kid showed out huh? Johnson may not have been flawless but he didn’t turn the ball over and he definitely played well enough for LSU to win. Johnson completed 21 passes to eight different receivers and added another 52 yards on the ground. With LSU’s offensive line leaving...let’s just say a little to be desired, Johnson’s mobility was able to compensate for some of the line’s struggles. Even more amazingly, Johnson’s the first quarterback in LSU history to throw three touchdown passes in The Swamp.

AND HE’S LEFT-HANDED HELL YEAH MAX DOING IT BIG FOR ALL THE LEFTY HOMIES OUT THERE

Winner: LSU’s Future at the Quarterback Position

Don’t look now but LSU just may be set at the quarterback position for the foreseeable future. Assuming Myles Brennan comes back next season, LSU will have three legitimate options at quarterback, and possibly a fourth in top-100 commit Garrett Nussmeier.

That’s what the heavyweight programs have had. Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma have all cycled through quarterbacks and none of them have missed a beat. If LSU can keep the quarterback room stocked full of talent, the program ought to ascend to a new level.

Winner: Tre Bradford and Chris Curry

As customary we shoutout those who score their first career touchdowns on Winners and Losers and Tre Bradford did that in the fourth quarter. Congrats to the young running back, may it be the first of many.

As for Curry, he’s been the whipping boy this season. I’ve said several times that I believe Curry needs to be the third option behind John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price. Well as fate would have it both Emery and TDP left the game because of injury and you know what? Curry played like a No. 18. It wasn’t the most glamorous stat line (17 carries, 64 yards), but LSU needed Curry, just as they did last year in the Peach Bowl, and Curry was there for LSU.

That tweet right there? That’s why Curry’s an 18. Programs need guys like him.

Winner: Kayshon Boutte

For the second week in a row, Boutte balled out. No Terrace Marshall? No Arik Gilbert? No problem. Boutte’s caught 13 passes—against freakin Alabama and Florida no less—for 218 yards the last two games and is showing why he was a five-star prospect last season. Boutte’s just scratching the surface and who knows, maybe when his LSU career is over this No. 1 will look like the last guy to wear No. 1.

Winner: Eli Ricks

Another week, another interception for Elias Ricks and for the second time this season he scored a touchdown.

Was Ricks fortunate to not get called for taunting? Absolutely. Do I give a damn that he literally stopped on his way to the end zone to talk shit to Kyle Trask? Hell no I don’t. For the bulk of the season we’ve wondered do these dudes on the field care? I’ve never had that worry with Elias Ricks. Frankly, LSU needs that kind of energy and his play backs up the talk.

Give me a roster full of Eli Ricks.

Winner: Jaquelin Roy

Two sacks for the young buck at defensive tackle. Roy’s a difference maker and he’ll be really, really good once he pieces it all together.

Winner: The 2021 and 2022 LSU football teams

Go back and look at all those names I mentioned: Johnson, Boutte, Ricks, Roy. Y’all those are all true freshmen. Yes LSU has taken its lumps this year, but it might all be worth it next season and the year after with all the reps this freshman class has been getting. There’s still changes that need to be made but if Ed Orgeron can get the program back on track, LSU could be back competing for the CFP in no time.

Loser: Depth

It’s not anyone’s fault per se but LSU nearly ran out of bodies Saturday night. Derek Stingley was a late scratch and Cordale Flott got ejected in the first quarter for targeting which forced Darren Evans and Dwight McGlothern into action. The LSU secondary looked awfully similar to the group that played in the Fiesta Bowl.

As for the offensive line, well...

Roster management will be the big phrase surrounding LSU in the coming weeks. With early signing day starting on Wednesday and the season concluding Saturday, Coach O and his staff has a heck of a job in front of them in both holding on and filling out its 2021 recruiting class, and re-recruiting veteran players to come back to school next season.

Loser: The Defense (Still)

I mean come on, 609 yards and 34 points. Florida averaged eight yards a play and 16 yards a completion. Just gotta get through one more game, we can do this.