(Photo credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
The defense kept them in it, but the offense was never quite able to get on track as the No. 17 Florida Gators (4-2, 3-1 SEC) lost to the LSU Tigers (6-1, 3-1 SEC) 17-6 on Saturday in Baton Rouge.
Florida got the scoring started with a 14-play, 60-yard drive in the first quarter that resulted in a 44-yard field goal by walk-on Francisco Velez. However, LSU responded with two rushing touchdowns in the second quarter and then controlled the game throughout.
After a promising opening drive, Florida’s offense wasn’t able to get anything going the rest of the way. Quarterback Tyler Murphy played easily the worst game of his young career, completing just 15-of-27 for 115 yards. He did not receive much help though, as Florida’s offensive line looked overwhelmed against LSU’s pass rush and surrendered four sacks on the day. The Gators ground game struggled too, as it managed just 11 yards on 40 carries, good for 2.8 yards per rush. One bright spot for the rushing offense may have ben the play of freshman running back Kelvin Taylor, who stepped in when starter Matt Jones went down with an injury. Taylor finished the game with 52 yards on 11 carries.
With the offense struggling, Florida’s defense did its best to keep the Gators in the game, but ultimately played its worst game of the season. The headline entering the game was the matchup between Florida’s secondary and LSU’s receivers. But that battle never came to fruition as the Gators were dominated up front, allowing LSU running back Jeremy Hill to rush for 121 yards on 19 carries, the most rushing yards by any player against Florida all year. The defense also helped extend each of LSU’s scoring drives by committing costly penalties.
It may not be what Florida football fans want to hear right now, but despite the loss the Gators still control their own destiny in the SEC East. Next week the Gators will travel to Columbia to take on the undefeated Missouri Tigers, with an opportunity to regain control of the division.