Quiet the angry fans? Check.
Play with effort? Check.
Get revenge on Florida and spoil their homecoming? Priceless.
The Tigers beat Florida 17-16 on Saturday afternoon in the Swamp in a hard-fought, ugly game which featured two offensively challenged teams that struggled mightily to stretch the field in the passing game.
Both teams scored two touchdowns with a field goal. But the difference was on one of Florida’s touchdowns, they missed the extra point – a point which ended up being the difference in the game.
With the win, the Tigers are now 4-2 and 1-1 in SEC play. For at least one week, they silenced the angry
masses who were up in arms after last week’s loss to Troy.
“It was a rough week in our building,” coach Ed Orgeron said after the game. “We fought. We competed.
It was the mindset of our football team to not be denied.”
The Tigers did gut one out – an ugly, physical win in a hostile environment.
LSU struck first on one of their most impressive drives of the season – an 11-play, 86-yard trek capped by a 30-yard touchdown run from Russell Gage on a jet sweep.
After that, the pace of the game stalled and defenses ruled the rest of the half. Florida got their only points on a short field goal from Eddy Pineiro (remember his name for later) to cut the lead to 7-3 with 4:01 to go in the half.
LSU answered those three points with three of their own – a 38-yard kick from Connor Culp just before halftime which gave the Tigers a 10-3 edge at the break.
The third quarter was a bit up and down.With the first possession of the second half, LSU marched – a 9-play, 75-yard drive capped by a play action touchdown pass from quarterback Danny Etling to fullback Tory Carter, which put LSU up 17-3.
Etling wasn’t amazing, but he played with heart. He completed 9-of- 16 passes with 125 yards and a score. He also got a couple first downs with his legs, rushing 9 times for 26 yards.
True freshman Myles Brennan didn’t play any snaps in the game.
“Danny is a winner,” Orgeron said after the game.
After LSU took the 14-point lead, the rest of the game was spent just sort of hanging on.
Florida started controlling the line of scrimmage in the second half and halfback Lamical Perine scored two touchdowns on consecutive possessions to get Florida back in it.
But that’s where the game got goofy.
On the first touchdown, the extra point was good, which cut the lead to 17-10. But on the second, Florida muffed the hold on the extra point, sending Pineiro’s kick wide of the goalposts, allowing the Tigers to preserve a 17-16 lead.
It didn’t seem like much at the time. But in the fourth quarter, LSU’s defense stiffened, stopping all of the Gators’ scoring opportunities, allowing the Tigers to run out the clock and seal the win.
Florida’s last gasp at victory started on a drive at their own 3-yard- line. The Gators got a little up the field, but the drive never amounted to much. The last straw was a fourth down pass, which the Tigers deflected to the turf to seal the win.
After the game, Orgeron said he was proud of the team after a week of turmoil which followed an embarrassing loss. He said the Tigers approached the game with a good mindset and got better – a progression the coach said he hopes continues next week before a home date with Auburn.
“We got close as a football team and as a staff,” Orgeron said. “I am so happy for our football team.”