I think Kevin Minter played his butt off, He’s giving us great leadership ...” LES MILES, LSU coach
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — LSU junior Kevin Minter entered Saturday’s game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as the team’s leading tackler. He left it with a place near the top of the school record books.
Attacking the Florida offense from his middle linebacker position, Minter totaled 20 tackles — including 17 solo stops — in a 14-6 loss that ended LSU’s 18-game regular-season winning streak.
The 20 tackles were the most by an LSU player in a single game since Rudy Harmon registered the same number at Florida in 1988.
Minter fell only one stop shy of Al Richardson’s school record of 21, set in 1982 versus South Carolina. He joined Harmon and Toby Caston (who made 20 tackles against Georgia in 1986) at second behind Richardson on LSU’s single-game tackles list.
“I was just trying to get to the ball,” Minter said. “I was just trying to do what I can for my teammates.”
Minter had 10 tackles in the first half, then 10 more in the second.
He also forced a fumble by Frankie Hammond with about six minutes to play in the first half, a ball teammate Kwon Alexander recovered at the LSU 25 and returned 15 yards. The turnover thwarted Florida’s deepest penetration of the first half.
“I think Kevin Minter played his butt off,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “He’s giving us great leadership, and he’s a captain of our team. He’s exactly what you’d want from college football.”
Minter had a team-high 34 tackles for LSU through five games, but he hadn’t made more than 11 tackles in a game during his two seasons as a starting linebacker.
Not surprisingly, all that running around took a toll on the rangy junior.
Early in the third-quarter possession that would lead Florida to its first points, Minter limped off the field with LSU nursing a 6-0 lead. He was taken to the locker room with leg cramps and was treated with intravenous fluids.
“Both legs locked up on me,” Minter said.
He returned in time for Florida’s next offensive series, but by then the Tigers were seemingly out of gas.
Not even two-plus quarters of shutout football by the LSU defense — and a record night by one tackle-happy linebacker — could keep LSU out of the loss column.
The Tigers return home next Saturday to play South Carolina. Kickoff is 7 p.m.