March 6, 2021

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SOLE DESTROYED LSU BEATS UF 37-34

After a tackle Florida Gators defensive back Marco Wilson (3) throws the shoe of LSU tight end Kole Taylor (87) which resulted in a personal foul penalty against Wilson, during a game against the LSU Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. Dec. 12, 2020. Florida lost 37-34 to the Tigers. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

The Tigers travel to Gainesville this week to take on SEC East rival Florida. In what many have predicted to be a one sided scoring affair for the Gators. The Tigers come into the game as 24 point under dogs, the second highest this season. However, when these two teams meet throw all records out the window. The Tigers are 30-33-3 all-time against the Gators, but have won seven of the last ten, including a 42-28 victory last season in Baton Rouge.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask has been on a Heisman like campaign all season long, many commentators have likened his season to Joe Burrow’s 2019 Heisman winning crusade. Trask has completed over 71 percent of his throws and over 3200 yards with 38 touchdowns coming into tonight’s game. The Tigers will be without starting corner Derek Stingley who was a late scratch due to an injury from last week’s game against Alabama. Replacing him will be no easy feat.

The Tigers start on defense and look impressive, keeping the Gators out of the end zone on a goal line stand on fourth and short at the one yard line. Even after giving up a big pass of 50 yards, the Tigers regrouped and found themselves. They seemed to right the ship and kept the Gators from scoring on a big short yardage situation.

Max Johnson gets the start tonight for the Tigers at quarterback.

LSU would punt after a 3 and out.

Florida would get on the board with their next possession. A five play 52 yard drive capped off by a one yard plunge by Trask into the end zone. The drive itself consumed less than a minute and a half, with nearly a third of the yardage coming off a targeting penalty by Cordale Flott.

The Tigers would be down both starting corners in a little over five minutes of play into the game.  

LSU would get into the scoring mix on its next possession. Max Johnson would toss a beautiful touch pass to receiver Jaray Jenkins and the kick by Cade York would tie things up. UF 7- LSU 7

Florida would go back on the offensive, trying to put more points on the score board, and pad Trask’s resume. However, this IS the LSU vs Florida game, and early in the second quarter with Florida driving, Trask was picked off by safety Eli Ricks at the LSU 32, who raced 66 yards up the left side line, and when he got to the two yard line, turned around and walked in, backwards. Waving at Trask as he did it. Tigers take the lead, their defense and offense both scored touchdowns? Is this real life? LSU 14 UF 7

 The Gators again would get the ball back and be set up in scoring position by a long run from Toney of 26, and any impressive catch by Grimes for 50. However, those big plays would be quickly forgotten as one of the most insane interceptions I’ve ever seen took place on the next play. Trask was looking for an open receiver on the sideline, it went through the receivers hands, bounced off the helmet of Dwight McGlothern and a prone Jay Ward was able to spring back up to his knees and get back in bounds to secure the ball for the interception.

Unfortunately, LSU would go three and out on that possession and be forced to punt. Punter Zack Von Rosenberg would boom a 51 yarder to Florida 40 that was returned to the LSU 49. The Gators drive would stall and they would be forced to kick a field goal. LSU 14-UF 10

The Gators weren’t backing down so quietly. Trask put together a great seven play 66 yard drive, ending with a passing touchdown to receiver Copeland from 19 yards out to Copeland to put the Gators back on top. UF 17-LSU 14.

Quarterback Max Johnson was electric both running and passing the ball. “Coach Ensminger put me in the right positions,” said Johnson. “The backs did great, and the O-Line blocked great for me.” Johnson led the Tigers down the field in less than two minutes on a nine play 75 yard drive. The Tigers regained the lead 21 – 17 over UF, and with the defense stepping up in a huge way, Ray Thornton was able to get a strip sack on Kyle Trask and BJ Ojulari recovered it at the UF 25 and carry for about six more yards.

Cade York would come in right before half time to kick a 39 yard field goal. A chip shot for him at this point. Tigers would take the lead going in at half-time LSU 24-UF 17

After halftime, the Tigers received the ball, and were looking to run the ball against this big defensive unit. LSU ground out a long 17 play 63 yard drive, but stalled at the 12 yard line. The Tigers would settle for a field goal to expand their lead by two scores. LSU 27 – UF 17

But this is Florida, playing in the Swamp. Kyle Trask wanted to show why he belonged in the Heisman conversation. After a 15 yard PI on Dwight McGlothern moved the Gators to the 40, Trask dropped a bomb to Toney for 49 yards setting them up with perfect field position. Trask would get the sneak from one yard out, putting the Gators down by just three. LSU 27 – UF 24

The Gators tightened their grip on the next drive, forcing the Tigers to a three and out. After getting the ball back UF needed just five plays to go 81 yards in just over two minutes. UF back on top 31 – 27

Max Johnson played with fire tonight, accomplishing something no other LSU player has ever done. He threw three passing touchdowns in The Swamp. “I saw a lot of scrambling from Max tonight,” said Ed Orgeron. “A lot of crisp throws, he’s got some stuff he’s got to clean up. But I think he’s a great QB, him and TJ.” Johnson would throw a four yard flat route to Tre Bradford out of the backfield for a touchdown that capped a nine play 84 yard drive. LSU 34 – UF 31

Florida still hanging around, was able to get within scoring distance, and kicked a 31 yard field. Tying the game up LSU 34 – UF 34, with just under three minutes left to play. Many LSU faithful were praying that the game didn’t go into overtime.  

Tigers got the ball back knowing they needed a score. First down, Johnson incomplete to Moore. Second down Johnson rushes for no gain. On third down needing a first Johnson badly, Johnson looked off his receivers who looked to be running freely behind their defenders, and threw the ball to his check down in Kole Taylor. Taylor was tackled after a gain of four. Florida DB Wilson was hit with an unsportsman like conduct penalty after ripping off and throwing Taylors shoe “for 20 yards” according to the official.

This penalty kept the drive alive. Chris Curry and Johnson combined on the ground to get the ball to the UF 39 yard line setting up the longest field goal in LSU Football History. Cade York kicked a 57 yard field goal through dense fog, and wasn’t able to see the uprights either. “I couldn’t really see the ball,” said York. “It went down the middle, right?”

The Tigers went from 24 point underdogs to outright winners.

Final score LSU 37 – UF 34