Da Boot Sports
By: Jason Watson Jr.
BATON ROUGE, LA- The SEC added another chapter to the history books on Saturday night when LSU defeated the Florida Gators 52-35 in front of a sold-out 102,321 paid-attendance crowd in Death Valley.
The story of the game was offense or the lack of defense. LSU and Florida combined for 1,189 total yards of offense. Florida running back Trevor Etienne finished the night with three touchdowns on the ground, but LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels was the overwhelming star of the night.
Daniels finished 17-26 through the air for 372 yards and three touchdowns. He was also the team’s leading rusher by a mile, as he added another 234 yards on the ground and found the end zone twice more. Daniels joined Johnny Manziel as the only two in SEC history to finish with over 200 yards, passing and rushing in the same game. He also became the first player in FBS history to record 350+ passing yards and 200+ running in the same game.
Wideouts Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. are also both worth noting. They finished with six receptions each and tallied 132 and 150 yards, respectively. Thomas also hauled in two of Daniels’ touchdown passes.
Florida won the coin toss and deferred the ball. Both teams came out aggressively on the opening drive, but LSU’s offense and the elite chemistry between Jayden Daniels and Malik Nabers was on display early. The Tigers went 75 yards in 7 plays that took just over three minutes off the clock. Josh Williams, starting in place of the injured Logan Diggs, found paydirt with a 1-yard touchdown run to put LSU up 7-0.
LSU’s poor defensive effort continues as they allow Florida to respond with a 9-yard TD pass on their first offensive series. Eugene Wilson III made the snag and finished running it in.
The Tigers drove down the field on their next possession but were not fortunate this time. The Gator defense held up with a goal-line stand. LSU attempted four straight runs but could not punch it into the end zone.
Florida couldn’t take advantage of their stout defense. The Tigers D proceeded to force a strip-sack on Graham Mertz and earn the takeaway.
Tempers began to flare as the first quarter winded down, but neither side could put more points on the scoreboard. 7-7, headed to the second.
LSU struck first in the second quarter. They faltered in the red zone and had to settle for three, as Ramos notched a 28-yard field goal, capping off a 79-yard drive and putting the Tigers up 10-7.
With 8:34 to go in the half, LSU took over from their 15-yard line. They take possession after a Harold Perkins forced fumble on third down that Florida retained and punted away. It wouldn’t take long for them to score.
LSU’s Heisman hopeful Jayden Daniels showed off his wheels as he scampered for an untouched 85-yard touchdown run that sent Death Valley into an absolute frenzy. The touchdown put the Tigers up 17-7.
Controversial penalties and disgruntled players and fans were the story of the second quarter. LSU linebacker Andre Sam got ejected on a targeting call that drew jeers and boos alike from the LSU faithful. A few moments later, defensive tackle Jacobian Guillory got flagged for unnecessary roughness after the play. These calls extended Florida’s drive and led to an eventual 7-yard rushing TD by Trevor Etienne. The Gators drew within a score, 17-14.
LSU would send a punt back to Florida before the clock ran down. LSU and Florida headed to the locker rooms with the Tigers up 17-14.
The Tigers' defense came out of the break on a mission and forced a three-and-out. Jayden Daniels thanked their effort by leading a 6-play, 81-yard drive that resulted in a Kaleb Jackson 5-yard rushing touchdown. LSU extended their lead to 10, going up 24-14 with 11:05 remaining in the third quarter.
Florida bounced back with a 33-yard pass from Mertz to Ricky Pearsall and back-to-back long runs of 18 yards and 21 yards; the ladder resulted in a touchdown. This rush made the score 24-21 LSU.
As if things couldn’t get worse, true freshman Jackson muffed the following kickoff, enabling Florida to take the lead on a 1-yard rush from Graham Mertz. Florida silenced the crowd in Tiger Stadium as they went up 28-24.
Who needs running backs when your quarterback can do it all? Jayden Daniels put a definitive stamp on why he deserves to be at the Heisman ceremony at the bare minimum. “The Kid” bobbed and weaved his way through defenders for a 51-yard TD run, his second of the evening. Daniels put LSU back in front 31-28 with 6:09 to go in the third.
Jayden Daniels connected with Brian Thomas Jr. for a deep 59-yard pass to set them up inside the Florida red zone after the Gators had to punt the ball away. LSU’s offense got their third red zone touchdown off a 6-yard pitch and catch from Daniels to running back Noah Cain. The Tigers’ lead grew to 10.
Although Florida closed the third quarter driving the football, chants of L-S-U were deafening going into the fourth. The teams headed for a fantastic finish in Baton Rouge.
Florida took just over four and a half minutes off the fourth quarter clock and capped off a 13-play drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown from Etienne. Etienne would finish with three scores on the night. The Gators made it a three-point game, 38-35 LSU.
Jayden Daniels drove the Tigers 75 yards down the field in just three plays. The LSU QB hooked up with Thomas Jr. for a 37-yard touchdown as the response. The second score through the air made it 45-35, Tigers. The offense would get the ball right back after LSU’s defense forced a turnover on downs on the ensuing Florida possession.
LSU would rub salt in the wounds of Billy Napier’s Gators by scoring once more before the final horn sounded. The Tigers found Brian Thomas on a 7-yard TD catch, making it 52-35.
It was an unbelievable night in Death Valley capped off with the playing of both schools’ alma maters as the remaining fans trickled out of Tiger Stadium.
Your LSU Fighting Tigers are back next Saturday as they take on Georgia State in Baton Rouge at 7 pm CST. Geaux Tigers!
Don't forget to tune into 'Talking Tigers Podcast with Da Boot Sports' on our YouTube Channel on Tuesday night, November 14TH at 7:30pm CST as David Penn, Ron Sancho and our special guest Brian Kinchen & Nick Bucholtz will review the Tigers big win over Florida and preview the upcoming Georgia State contest. It's gunna be a great show! Don't miss it!
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