The 11th-ranked Gator
football team endured a 21-17 loss to 10th-ranked Louisiana
State on Saturday afternoon in front
of a record crowd of 92,402 fans at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. With the win, the Tigers improved
to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference play, while UF dropped to 5-2
overall and 3-2 in league play.
Tiger quarterback JaMarcus Russel was 14-for-22 for
236 yards and two TDs and running back Joseph Addai gained 156 yards on 32 carries, highlighted by a
three-yard touchdown run with 12:35 remaining in the game to seal the win. Florida failed to
capitalize on three fumble recoveries, two interceptions and 11 LSU penalties.
LSU scored on its
opening drive with a 43-yard reception by Bennie Brazell,
and later extended its advantage with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Russel to Dwayne Bowe to grab a
14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
With 8:44 remaining
in the second quarter, freshman running back Kestahn Moore (Arlington, Texas) rushed 32 yards into the end zone
for his first career touchdown. Following an extra point by kicker Chris Hetland (Leesburg, Ga.),
the Gators narrowed the gap to 14-7 with a drive that lasted 16 seconds.
An interception by senior
safety Jarvis Herring (Live Oak, Fla.) set up a
22-yard field goal by Hetland on UF’s
first possession of the second half to trim LSU's
lead to 14-10. During the drive, junior running back DeShawn Wynn (Cincinnati, Ohio) dashed 36 yards to move the Gators'
offense down to LSU's 10-yard line.
With 4:02 left in the
third quarter, Florida seized the lead following
an interception by junior Joe Cohen (Melbourne, Fla.)
that gave the offense field
position at the LSU 32-yard line. Wynn capped a three-play, 32-yard drive with
a one-yard touchdown. The junior accounted for all of the offense during the drive,
including a 20-yard toss from junior Chris
Leak (Charlotte, N.C.) on the first play. Hetland tacked on the PAT to put UF up, 17-14.
LSU answered with the
final points of the game with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended on a
three-yard rush into the end zone by Addai. The Bayou
Bengals took 6:27 off the clock and completed the
night’s scoring at 21-17.
Junior wide receiver Chad Jackson (Hoover, Ala.)
led the Gator receiving corps with five catches for 29 yards, extending his
streak to 19 straight games with a reception. Wynn finished with 93 yards on 16
carries, while Moore
had 37 yards on three carries. Leak was just 11-for-30 for 107 yards and zero
Junior linebacker Earl Everett (Webster,
Fla.) led the UF defense with a
career-high 14 tackles, and sophomore defensive end Jarvis Moss (Denton,
Texas) registered three sacks
and had a fumble recovery. Florida
has now forced 21 turnovers by its opponent through seven games this season.
Junior Eric Wilbur (Winter Park,
Fla.) continued to be a bright spot for
the Gators, averaging 43.2 yards during his 10 punts in Death
Valley. He pinned the Tigers inside of the 20-yard line on three
occasions and the Gators limited Skyler Green to just
one yard on punt returns.
Florida will have a one-week break before it meets Eastern Division
rival Georgia on Saturday, Oct. 29, in Jacksonville,
Fla. The kickoff time will be
released early next week.