One week after being upset in Death Valley, LSU found a measure of revenge by taking down its cross-division rival Florida on the road in The Swamp. The Gators outscored the Tigers 13-7 in the second half, but a botched extra point did not allow the home team to pull even with the visitors late in the game.
Here are four things to take away from the Tigers' thrilling win over the Gators.
1. Matt Canada should be given full autonomy to run his offense: LSU coach Ed Orgeron admitted after his team lost to Troy last week that he meddled in the offense, telling his new coordinator to limit the pre-snap motions and shifts. Saturday, it was Canada's show -- and, oh, did it work so well. Florida was completely befuddled by the Tigers' offense in the first half, as Russell Gage and D.J. Chark feasted on the edge of a Gators defense that wasn't ready -- due in large part to the fact that Canada hadn't been able to do much all year and there wasn't much tape to work off.
This is the new-look LSU. This is dangerous. This is what Canada was hired to do. If Orgeron sticks to this plan, rumors of LSU's death might have been greatly exaggerated. If you can combine this type of edge action on the ground with a bruising running game that is effective even without a full strength Derrius Guice -- thanks to Darrel Williams -- that's enough to make the Tigers a threat against SEC West big boys Alabama and Auburn.
Are they still limited a bit by quarterback Danny Etling? Sure. Etling is more of a game manager than a difference-maker, and it's unlikely that he'll be able to throw the Tigers out of a hole should they find themselves in one. But he's smart, has guts (as he displayed on several occasions when he took off on third downs) and knows what Canada expects of him. The new-look Tigers are dangerous. It's a shame it took till October for them to show up, though.
2. Jim McElwain doesn't trust Feleipe Franks: Look, I get it. Franks, a redshirt freshman, lost his job to Luke Del Rio two weeks ago and isn't as refined as McElwain hoped. But goodness, Gators, let the kid sling it a little bit. Franks only attempted five passes in the second half prior to the final drive when they went into desperation mode and most of those were underneath and ultra-conservative.
So guess what happened when the game was on the line and the Gators were in the shadow of their own goal post needing to get into field goal range to set up for a potential game-winning field goal? Franks got happy feet. He got flustered. He was clearly uncomfortable because, in part, he was being asked to do something relatively new.
Part of that is on Franks, but most of it is on McElwain. Sure, running backs Malik Davis and Lamical Perine were monsters in the second half, but if you're one-dimensional by necessity, eventually it comes back to bite you. The Tigers bit the Gators for that very reason Saturday afternoon.
3. LSU's defense found itself: Aside from a needless late hit out of bounds by Arden Key, this was the first time all season the Tigers defense looked like, quite frankly, what they should look like. They held Florida to just 302 total yards, 2 for 9 on third downs, and routinely had players in the backfield either forcing Franks to move or disrupting runs behind the line of scrimmage.
This despite the fact that Key was clearly not 100 percent, injuries ravaged them throughout the game (including when star defensive end Rashard Lawrence was forced to leave for a while) and youth and relative inexperience dominated the depth chart heading in. Bottom line: The Tigers have their identity back. When combined with the suddenly dangerous offense, it makes them at least a threat in the SEC West.
4. Don't blame Gators kicker Eddy Pineiro: The former YouTube sensation missed an extra point late in the third quarter to keep the score at 17-16 -- which is exactly where it would finish. That's uncharacteristic for Pineiro, who had made all 46 of his extra point attempts prior to the miss during his two-year Florida career. And it remains uncharacteristic for him because this miss was not his fault.
The snap started wide. Punter/holder Johnny Townsend corralled it and spun it in time, but he let his finger off the ball before Pineiro made contact. Therefore, the ball fell forward, and by the time Pineiro's toe hit leather, it had no chance of going through the uprights. Pineiro will be on all of the highlights because he, ultimately, will be charged with missing the kick. But it wasn't his fault.
CBS provided live coverage of the game Saturday afternoon. If you are unable to view the updates and highlights below,.
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