For the third straight game, injuries forced LSU to play a shell game with its offensive line.
Once again, it seemed to make little difference.
Despite using its fourth straight different offensive line combination, the No. 1-ranked Tigers ground out season highs with 238 yards rushing and 453 total yards in a 41-11 rout of No. 17 Florida.
“We’re able to mix and match and continue to get results,” LSU coach Les Miles said.
Will Blackwell had to start at left guard for an injured T-Bob Hebert (concussion two weeks ago at West Virgnia), moving Josh Williford to Blackwell’s usual spot at right guard.
Then center P.J. Lonergan went down with 6:50 left in the second quarter with an apparent ankle injury, sitting out the rest of the game. That pressed Hebert, normally a guard, back into service at center.
“We didn’t plan to play T-Bob unless we had to,” Blackwell said. “He did a great job.
“Any time we rush for 238 and put up 41, you’re happy.”
Danielson likes offense
While some Tigers fans may wish for their team to employ a more flash-and-dash type offense, CBS college football analyst Gary Danielson said the Tigers’ attack is well-suited to an elite program like LSU.
“The spread is fine to produce a lot of big yards, but you’re dependent on having one great player,” Danielson said before the game. “The future is what Les is doing, and what you’re seeing at Oklahoma, Michigan, Alabama. You’ve got so many great players, you need a steady offense. For the big powers, you need a steady attack.”
Asked for his opinion on LSU as a national power this year, Danielson said: “You don’t need to have been watching college football for 20 years to see that. They’re probably better than advertised.”
Chad Jones honored
Former LSU safety Chad Jones got a huge ovation when he was introduced on the field during the first half of Saturday’s game.
Jones, who suffered debilitating leg injuries in a car crash in New Orleans 15 months ago, celebrated his 23rd birthday Wednesday by running a timed 4.84 40-yard dash before about 300 onlookers at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie. Jones ran a second 40 in 4.90 seconds.
Jones was drafted in the third round in 2010 by the New York Giants, who still retain his rights. Jones has said his goal is to be ready for NFL preseason camp in 2012, though he said he needs about six more months of rehab work.
The accident in 2010 left Jones with severe nerve and muscle damage in his left leg, along with a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula.
Tune in Monday
LSU likely will learn Monday of TV plans for its next home game, Oct. 22 against Auburn. CBS will televise LSU for the second straight week when the Tigers play Saturday at Tennessee at 2:30 p.m.
Miles said he believes Lonergan’s injury (ankle) is not exceptionally serious, though he may be day-to-day for now.
Strong safety Brandon Taylor also went down with 2:42 left in the second but was merely cramping up and later returned.
Defensive end Sam Montgomery went off after he sacked Florida quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the fourth quarter. Montgomery said Brissett stepped on his left arm and that it temporarily went numb, but he was suffering no ill effects after the game.
Crunching the numbers
This was LSU’s most lopsided victory over Florida in 40 years. The last time LSU beat the Gators by more than 30 was a 48-7 romp on Oct. 9, 1971.
Crunching the numbers II
Long noted for being playing poorly in day home games, LSU is now 26-25-3 in day home games in Tiger Stadium since 1960. Since 2000, however, LSU is 16-6 in daytime home games.
This was also LSU’s 14th straight home victory, dating to a 13-3 loss to then No. 1 Florida in 2009.
Johns sees first action
LSU linebacker Josh Johns saw his first action of the season Saturday when he went in on kickoff coverage in the second quarter.
Johns was indefinitely suspended from the team in August after he was arrested on a count of second-degree battery for his alleged role in an Aug. 19 bar fight near the LSU campus. A grand jury on Sept. 28 declined to press charges against Johns, leading Miles to reinstate him immediately.
Dutchtown High standout Landon Collins, considered the state’s top 2012 football prospect, attended the game on an unofficial visit, according to Scout.com. … Florida netted 113 yards rushing, the first team to rush for over 100 yards on the Tigers this season. … LSU has won two straight over UF, but the Gators still lead the series 30-25-3. … LSU is 16-3 when ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll. Florida is 3-9 against No. 1 teams. … Saturday’s attendance of 93,022 was the third largest in Tiger Stadium history. … LSU is bowl-eligible for the 12th straight season, extending a school record. Before 2000, the Tigers’ longest bowl streak was five games. ... This was LSU’s third straight game without a turnover. The Tigers have committed just three this season.