The No. 17/18 University of Florida football fell victim of a top-three team for the second consecutive week, falling to No. 1/2 LSU Saturday afternoon, 41-11, at Tiger Stadium.
The early storyline surrounded the Gators entering the game with a true freshman at quarterback, just not the one everyone figured, with Jacoby Brissett making his first career start despite not having taken a snap prior to this game.
As the game started, however, the Gators never got into a rhythm offensively, nor could they stop the LSU offense, as the Tigers pounced on Florida early and never looked back.
The Gators went three-and-out on their first possession, rushing twice before a short dump-off pass on third down forced a punt. The Tigers wasted little time, as on their second play Jarrett Lee hit a wide open Rueben Randle for a 46-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Florida posted similar results on its second drive, this time with Trey Burton under center, going three-and-out again. After a punt, LSU start its second drive on its own 44 and marched 56 yards on 10 plays and scored on a 2-yard run by Spencer Ware to move ahead 14-0.
The next time they got the ball the Gators put together their best drive. Florida converted a 4th and 1 at its own 28-yard line, gambling and coming up with a first down. A 25-yard run by Chris Rainey was minimized by a 15-yard personal foul on the Gators. Facing a 4th and 6 at their own 44, the Gators gambled again, faking a punt, but a run by Trey Burton came up short.
The Gators appeared to force the Tigers to punt, but punter Brad Wing faked the punt and went untouched 52 yards for an apparent touchdown. Wing was flagged for a taunting penalty at the 8-yard line, however, and the score was negated and LSU still wound up with a first down a the UF 23-yard line. Moments later Drew Alleman connected on a 35-yard field goal to increase the Tigersí lead to 17-0.
The Tigers added to their lead mid-way through the second quarter when Spencer Ware scored from 8 yards out to cap a lightning quick two-play drive. Jordan Jefferson hit Russell Sheppard with a 37-yard pass on the drivesí first play to set up the touchdown.
Florida mounted its best drive of the half on its final possession, finally getting on the board on a 34-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis. The Gators marched 59 yards on 14 plays, including a pair of third and long conversions by Brissett, one a 10-yard pass to Burton, and the other a 14-yard connection with Frankie Hammond to help move the Gators into the red zone for the first time on the day.
Alleman kicked his second field goal of the day, a 23-yard with 4:40 left in the third quarter to push LSUís to 27-3.
Florida scored its first touchdown on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Brissett to Andre Debose late in the third quarter, the second straight week in week Debose has scored on a 65-yard strike. Rainey converted a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 27-11.
LSU immediately responded, with Lee hitting Randle for a 57-yard gain to set up a 3-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Jefferson to Mitch Joseph to make it 34-11.
Alfred Blue added a 2-yard touchdown run with 1:27 left to close out the scoring.
The game was decided on much more than Florida starting a freshman quarterback. Brissett finished 8-of-14 for 94 yards, the touchdown to Debose and a pair of interceptions. Michael Gillislee led Florida in rushing with 56 yards on nine carries, while Rainey had 52 yards on 13 rushes.
The Gators surrendered 453 yards of total offense to LSU: 215 through the air on just 14 passing attempts and 238 yards on the ground.
The road ahead doesnít get much easier for the Gators as they travel to No. 15 Auburn next Saturday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN.