GAINESVILLE, Fla. — One week after its best performance of the season against one of the worst defenses statistically in the Southeastern Conference, LSU’s offense ran head-on into one of the nation’s best Saturday.
It was a much different outcome this time; the Tigers went from celebrating a dominant offensive performance to watching their five-game winning streak come to an end.
After rolling up 573 total yards and putting 45 points on the scoreboard against Ole Miss — both season-highs for No. 5 LSU — the Tigers couldn’t find their groove in a 27-19 loss to No. 22 Florida in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
LSU gained 7.6 yards per play in pounding Ole Miss, but Saturday in Florida, which ranked 19th in the nation in allowing 311.0 yards per game and gave up just 4.6 yards per play this season, provided a much tougher test — as expected.
On Saturday, Ed Orgeron’s team didn’t help itself much with three turnovers on a pair of interceptions and a lost fumble on a sack of Joe Burrow.
They also committed two crucial penalties, both in the second half.
Most of all, a patched-up LSU offensive line that used a sixth different starting lineup in six games struggled against Florida’s active and aggressive front seven most of the sunny and humid afternoon.
“We couldn’t drop back to pass,” Orgeron said. “Our guys were getting beat one-on-one. We tried every protection we could. When we did (protect), we dropped balls.
“It wasn’t a good night for the Tigers,” he added, “and I put that on me.”
Florida was simply too much, especially against the left side of LSU’s offensive line.
Left tackle Saahdiq Charles was playing for the first time in three weeks, and Adrian Magee, who started the Sept. 2 opener against Miami at right tackle, slid in at left guard to replace an injured Garrett Brumfield. It was Magee’s first career start at guard.
But as Orgeron pointed out, it was a tough day all around for the Tigers.
"We didn't win the line of scrimmage," he said.
The Gators’ stat line as a team was packed with big numbers: They recorded five sacks, eight quarterback hurries, two interceptions — one for a pick-six that virtually iced the win — and one fumble recovery. They also had 11 tackles for loss.
LSU was just 4 of 17 on third down, complicating matters even more.
“They’re a team that brings a lot of pressure,” LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry said. “We have to be better than this next week.”
It was a rough afternoon for Burrow, who completed 19 of 34 passes for 191 yards with two interceptions.
“I’ll have to go back and see what was going on on film,” he said. “I might have held it too long a couple of times. I’ll have to look at it on film.
"We knew they were going to be good on defense. They made some really good halftime adjustments, honestly. We didn't capitalize on a lot of opportunities."
LSU finished with 371 total yards and averaged 4.9 yards per play, but the inability to capitalize on good field position and move the ball in the second and third quarters came back to haunt them in the end.
It started on its second possession, just after the Tigers took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 10 plays to a 4-yard touchdown run by Nick Brossette.
Then, after forcing a punt on Florida’s first series, LSU moved the ball to the UF 28 and had a first down when Burrow was sacked by outside linebacker Jaichai Polite and nose tackle Kyree Campbell recovered.
“That (turnover) was devastating,” Orgeron said. “It shouldn’t have been, but it was. We didn’t take care of the ball down there.”
After picking up 108 total yards on its first 14 plays, LSU’s next 40 snaps, starting with Polite’s sack-fumble, netted just 149 yards over the next nine possessions through the end of the third quarter.
All they managed in that time were six points on two Cole Tracy field goals.
Tight end Foster Moreau had a 26-yard catch to the Florida 32 to start a drive early in the third quarter, but it was negated by a holding penalty on Charles.
Later in the quarter, right tackle Austin Deculus had a false-start penalty that wiped out a 10-yard pass from Burrow to Moreau that would have produced a first down.
Moreau said: “Mistakes ... penalties ... turnovers. We came out ready to play. We had the right stuff coming out. ... We may have lost our edge as the game progressed.”
Florida sealed the game with two picks of Burrow in the final two minutes, including a 25-yard interception return for a score by strong safety Brad Stewart, a New Orleans native, that pushed Florida’s shaky one-point lead to 27-19 with 1:45 remaining.
“We stress ball security, so it was upsetting that we lost the ball in positive territory,” Moreau said. “We just have to keep fighting and keep putting points on the board.”
Cushenberry added: “We know we can’t turn the ball over. It’s a tough loss … we made some mistakes we can’t make. But I promise we’ll be back.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As day gradually faded to night and shadows marched across the face of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium — much more inexorably tha…
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Joe Burrow's first interception of the season was no surprise to the Florida defense on Saturday -- at least not how they tell it.
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