Sunday October 7, 2007No. 9 Florida Football Falls at LSU, 28-24
Baton Rouge, LA
It came down to the final moments but the ninth-ranked Florida football team was downed by No. 1 LSU on the road, 28-24, Saturday night at Tiger Stadium. Florida (4-2, 2-2), retained the lead throughout most of the game until a 2-yard touchdown run by LSU’s Jacob Hester with 1:09 remaining sealed UF’s second loss of the year. A last-second UF desperation heave was batted down in the end zone as time expired.
Florida was impressive early as sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow (Jacksonville, Fla.) engineered a game-opening scoring drive that was capped by a Joey Ijjas (Clearwater, Fla.) 32-yard field goal.
Nursing a three-point advantage heading into the second quarter, Tebow orchestrated another scoring possession, ultimately finding running back Kestahn Moore (Arlington, Texas) on a two-yard pass to give UF a 10-0 lead.
The two-headed quarterback approach utilized by LSU saw its first positive results after Ryan Perrilloux put the Tigers on the board with a one-yard touchdown plunge. Tebow and the Gators countered back with another scoring drive capped off by a nine-yard scramble, his school-record ninth rushing touchdown of the season.
LSU opened the second half with a 10-point deficit but Keiland Williams closed it to three with a four-yard scoring run. Florida responded again this time with Tebow finding a wide-open Cornelius Ingram (Hawthorne, Fla.) in the middle of the field good for a 37-yard scoring strike. Ingram’s team-leading fourth receiving touchdown put the Gators up, 24-14.
The Tigers were able to rattle of 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to close the game as Flynn found Demetrius Byrd in the front of the end zone and complete the comeback as Hester scored.
Moore totaled a season-high 79 yards, averaging 6.6 yards on 12 carries. Tebow finished the game with three total touchdowns 158 yards passing and another 68 rushing.
Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham (Stone Mountain, Ga.) garnered a career-high and team-best 17 tackles while defending two passes. True freshman safety Major Wright (Miramar, Fla.) and sophomore linebacker Brandon Spikes (Shelby, N.C.) were active all night, recording double digits in tackles with 11 each.
True freshman cornerback Joe Haden (Ft. Washington, Md.) recorded a career-high 10 tackles and registered his first career interception at the expense of Flynn.
Tebow’s favorite target again was wide receiver Percy Harvin (Virginia Beach, Va.), who added four more receptions to his team-leading total of 32.
The Gators responded to the daunting task of facing the nation’s No. 1 run defense and moved the ball effectively on the ground for 158 yards against a unit that had allowed just 39 yards per game this season.
Florida significantly cut down on its conference-leading penalty totals, drawing its first yellow flag not until the midway-point of the third quarter and finishing the game with two.
The Gators have a bye next week before heading to Lexington to face Kentucky on Oct. 20.