Saturday, October 06, 2007

5 reasons why LSU beat Florida



1. FLORIDA REFUSED TO ADJUST PASSING PHILOSOPHY: Tim Tebow ran the ball 16 times (and managed to get Kestahn Moore 12 carries) and hit a long 37-yard strike for a touchdown, but he didn't throw the ball particularly well on short passes (many of his passes were quite wobbly, and several were dropped). “They did a good job with their blitzes,” Tebow said of LSU’s pressure. “We were picking them up and moving away from them and making some big plays with it. In the second half we were doing the same thing but the two turnovers killed us.” Tebow himself was personally responsible for avoiding two big sacks due to his athleticism, and the UF coaches seemed content to let him make the plays rather than adjust what they were doing. Florida incorrectly assumed LSU would give them the underneath routes, but they didn't. It resulted in at least one pass interference call as LSU was overzealous on the crossing patterns, but the Tigers just refused to give them anything short. LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey didn't have a huge game like I predicted, but he caused just enough havoc with the other D-linemen. Telling stat: Florida didn't try a screen pass not once. LSU was ready for it all night.

2. FLORIDA'S TWO SECOND-HALF TURNOVERS: True, LSU only converted the second one into the points (the first one resulted in a missed field goal), but they were big momentum killers. The first one was a Kestahn Moore fumble (who had been gouging the LSU defense all night, and was on his way to 100 yards on the ground), and the other was a Tebow pass that bounced off the head of UF receiver Cornelius Engram and into the hands of an LSU defensive end Kirston Pittman. Florida coach Urban Meyer said that if they would have scored on either possession the game probably would have been over. “Whenever you have a two-score lead, I kept looking at that. We had a drive come up after that and we turned it over. If you go down and make it 31-10 … but that’s college football.” Also, the turnovers allowed LSU to outgain Florida 130 to 37 in the fourth quarter and kept the Gator defense on the field, keeping the crowd in the game.

3. THE USC LOSS: The score of the USC-Stanford game energized the LSU crowd and hyped the players up even more. Without that score being announced, it's debatable if LSU ever would have woke up from its slumber. Florida had a 10-point lead at the time and Tebow was making plays that he had to make, but instantly the game became more important because it would make LSU the indisputed No. 1 team in the country. Not only did just the LSU fans cheer but the Florida fans went bonkers as well since a win would catapult them right back into the thick of the national championship picture. LSU used the boisterous applause to their advantage because it made it that much louder on the field for the Gators.

4. LUCKY LES: Les Miles was desperately reaching for straws as early as the second quarter and as late as 1:50 left in the game: He went for it 5 times on fourth down and made them all, thanks to the stars being aligned. But at least 3 of theme were fundamentally bad decisions (at your own 45 with 7 minutes to go?) I guess he already knows he's a goat if they lose so he gambled to at least know he gave it his best shot. “[The fourth downs] were huge,” Jacob Hester said. “Coach Miles had the confidence to call them. The defense knew what was coming and the offensive line didn’t care. They went out there and played their technique and made holes for us.
“I don’t know if it’s gambling or just confidence.[Miles] didn’t blink an eye calling the fake field goal or any of the fourth downs.”

5. JACOB HESTER BULLED HIS WAY THROUGH: Not the most gifted athlete on the field, the stout tailback in a fullback's body literally carried the Tigers to victory. Hester said on one fourth down Florida defenders were calling his name and even pointing to the hole he was going to run to, but they couldn't stop him. On LSU's final drive he touched the ball more than any other player and actually ran over at least two Gator defenders for a first down. His number was called on a fourth-and-1 play that would have been a chip-shot field goal that might have forced overtime (kicker Colt David already had missed two attempts). Hester finished with 106 yards on 23 carries, both career highs.

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