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LSU head coach Ed Orgeron greets LSU wide receiver Justin Jones (31) and LSU defensive back Eric Monroe (30) as they come off the field in the first half against Florida, Saturday, October 7, 2017, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — All of those meetings last week did get LSU on the same page after all.  

The Tigers turned it — in a big way — on Saturday.

LSU’s offense, finally, burst out to a quick start, and a young, stingy defense stuffed No. 21 Florida late for a rousing 17-16 victory at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, a momentum-swinging road win for an embattled squad.

A week after losing at home to Sun Belt Conference foe Troy, the unranked Tigers (4-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) roared to life at the hot, muggy Swamp, delivering coach Ed Orgeron his first SEC road victory as a permanent head coach. He entered 0-13.

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LSU capped a contentious and drama-filled week with a fiery exclamation point, jumping out to a 17-3 third-quarter lead before holding on defensively. 

Multiple players-only meetings took place late Saturday night and into Monday following the 24-21 loss to the Trojans.  Even administrators got involved. Athletic director Joe Alleva met with offensive coordinator Matt Canada and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda on Monday, a meeting that ended, they said, positively and with LSU “on the same page,” Orgeron said.

His Tigers avoided the program’s first 3-3 start since 2000, snatching an unlikely victory in this heated rivalry and sending LSU players sprawling across the field after a week in which they were blasted by doubting fans. 

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"If you're with us, you're with us, and if you're not, you're not," tight end Foster Moreau said. "We don't like roller coaster fans, so hop on board and let's see where this ship goes."

What was more impressive than anything? The Tigers played for much of the final three quarters without their two starting tackles, forcing coaches to use, at one point, three true freshmen at one time. Meanwhile, starting safety John Battle missed the fourth quarter with a stinger, and defensive end Rashard Lawrence limped around late in the game on a bad ankle.

The youth on the O-line struggled at times, and LSU was forced to punt on its last four possessions. The defense stepped up, stopping the Gators (3-2, 3-1) on their final three drives. The last was the most important, and it followed a booming 48-yard punt from Zach Von Rosenberg that pinned Florida inside its own 5.

Cornerback Donte Jackson forced an incompletion on third down, and linebacker Devin White sealed the victory. He batted away a fourth-down pass from Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks, the longtime LSU commitment who flipped to the Gators in November 2015.

"When I was a recruit, I called him out on Twitter when he de-committed," White said afterward. "I wanted to back all those words up."

LSU ran for 216 yards, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda's unit nearly held the Gators under the 300-yard mark (302) and the Tigers led the entire game. Oh but this was an emotional place on this day.