Bulk of Florida’s yardage against LSU came on two long drives
LSU’s defense allowed two long touchdown drives to Florida last week, but was dominant for the rest of the game.
The Tigers yielded just 237 yards for the game, but an 85-yard touchdown drive midway through the third quarter and a 77-yard touchdown drive on the Gators’ next possession, which ended early in the fourth quarter, provided all the scoring Florida needed in a 14-6 victory.
LSU allowed a total of 75 yards on the Gators’ other 11 possessions. Overall it was a strong performance for the defense a week after the Tigers yielded a season-high 22 points and 19 first downs in a victory against Towson.
The defense seemed to be affected by fatigue on the two scoring drives, which came well into a game played in 86-degree heat and high humidity.
“We were on field for a long time,” middle linebacker Kevin Minter said. “We did have a couple of miscues, but I felt like we improved a lot from the Towson game. I think this was probably our best game, especially considering the competition. Florida has ridiculous talent. To hold them to 14 points is a big deal.
“Although we didn’t come out of there with a win and as a defense you never want to give up 14 points, I feel like we did decent.”
LSU leads the Southeastern Conference in pass defense (122.5 yards per game), is second in total defense (221 yards per game), is third in rushing defense (98.5) and fourth in scoring defense (12.8).
“I thought the defense played a tremendous game and gave us every opportunity at victory,” Tigers coach Les Miles said.
“We’re not a team that puts our defense on the field for as long as we put them on the field in that game (37 minutes, 24 seconds).
“We have to execute better just in the fact that we are going to have a great defense. With them on the field stopping most offenses that we play, we need to control the ball more on the offensive side of the game.”
Turnovers lead to points
The second Florida touchdown came at the end of a drive that began after Tigers wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. lost a fumble. That continued a trend in which LSU turnovers lead to opponent’s points more than the norm.
The Tigers have the SEC’s highest percentage of points allowed that have come after turnovers.
Of the 77 points LSU has allowed this season, 44.15 percent (34 percent) have come after a turnover. By contrast, the Tigers’ opponent this week, South Carolina, leads the SEC with zero points allowed after turnovers.
The Gamecocks have committed eight turnovers and the Tigers have committed 11.
‘D’ struggles in red zone
One area where the defense has been lacking is inside its 20-yard line, “the red zone.”
LSU ranks last in the SEC in percentage of touchdowns allowed when opponents reach the red zone — 80 percent (8-of-10). South Carolina leads the conference with 28.6 percent (4-of-14).
Wing hears from UF fans
The Florida fans obviously remembered LSU punter Brad Wing’s performance in LSU’s
41-11 victory against the Gators last season in Tiger Stadium.
Wing ran for an apparent touchdown on a fake punt, but the play was negated when Wing was penalized for taunting a Florida defender as he scored.
The Gators fans started yelling at Wing when he went on the field for pregame warm-ups and never let up.
“I don’t know if I can repeat a lot of it,” he said. “It was pretty vulgar stuff. They were loud. They have great fans for their ball team. It was a good environment, but they were not happy with me, I can tell you that much. They were yelling pretty much the whole time.
“I definitely could hear what they were saying, but I had to pretend like I couldn’t hear. They were definitely throwing it at me. It was pretty straight to the point.”
Wing said he “definitely expected it” because Florida fans can been seen taunting him via Twitter and Facebook leading up to the game. “You can’t let affect your game,” Wing said. “I laugh at that stuff.”
Miles wants more Ware
Miles said the Tigers need to get running back Spencer Ware more touches.
With starting halfback Alfred Blue sidelined indefinitely because of a knee injury, LSU has multiple options to run the ball — Ware, Kenny Hilliard, Michael Ford and Jeremy Hill.
Ware had the most carries (eight) and yards (21) against the Gators, but the team ran just 25 times for 42 yards.
“He is a guy that in my opinion is a pretty dangerous weapon, and someone that we have to use more frequently,” Miles said of Ware.