The two week lead up to this game featured ridiculous report after ridiculous report with ESPN reporters standing outside of hospitals and medical clinics giving every up-to-the-minute updates about the status of Tim Tebow who had suffered a concussion against Kentucky. They were filled with juicy morsels like, "Tim Tebow's status will be a game time decision." "Tim Tebow is just going through his normal game day routine today." "Tim Tebow elected for scrambled eggs this morning, but went with the sausage links instead of bacon. Sausage futures on the New York exchange skyrocket. Chinese bacon factories declare this aggression will not stand."
The 93,000 soggy fans in attendance at Tiger Stadium didn't care. All they cared about was beating Florida and returning LSU to the top of the SEC.
The Tiger defense was stout as usual holding the Gators to their lowest point total in ten years. Florida was held to just 327 total yards, but 193 of them came on the ground. LSU played some remarkable bend-but-don't-suck defense as every Florida drive entered LSU territory. But the Tigers forced a punt, a missed field goal, a turnover on downs, and got an interception to keep the score close.
But it wasn't enough this day, and the woes of the LSU offense finally caught up with them. Jordan Jefferson had a frustrating day with only 96 yards on 11-of-17 passing. He was intercepted once and sacked five times in the second half. The running game wasn't much better as LSU only managed 66 yards on 30 carries. Charles Scott was the leading rusher with 53 yards on 13 carries. LSU's lone scoring drive went 78 yards in 12 plays, but was greatly aided by two personal foul penalties on the Gators. Florida ultimately stopped them at the two yard line and forced them to take the field goal. LSU was a dismal 1-of-9 in third down conversions, and 1-of-3 in fourth down conversions. Oddly, Russell Shepard, who had given the LSU offense an occassional spark in previous games, did not see the field leading many LSU fans to wonder what the coaches were thinking.
Quotes From The Game
"Three points on offense. We just got to play better."
- Les Miles -
The team did not play loose. It did not play like a team with nothing to lose. It was, in fight, the tightest I've ever seen our offense play in memory. It was, in fact, a lost opportunity to develop team character, to be a fun and inspiring team to watch.
A team with nothing to lose doesn't leave Russell Shepard on the bench all game. A team with nothing to lose does not abandon the downfield passing game. A team with nothing to lose does not kick a field goal from inside the 1 yard line. A team with nothing to lose puts on a show, and if it must take the loss it does so with style and gusto.
The coaching staff appeared to be playing not to get blown out. It tried nothing innovative. It tried nothing to try to put the Florida defense off-balance, I suppose out of fear of making a big mistake. With Florida being bound and determined to play the game just as conservatively as they could, we had an opportunity to take advantage of their play by trying to pile up points quickly. Sure, it could have backfired and put us out of the game early, but so what? The game did not really matter.
Yes, it was a poorly played game for our offense. No, Jordan Jefferson did not play particularly well. And it is correct that it is difficult to mark any improvement in his play from the beginning of the season to now. Do I think another QB should be given a chance? I'm not sure on that yet, but I am definitely thinking about it.