LSU 17, Florida 6: Three and out

Associated Press photo by GERALD HERBERT -- LSU coach Les Miles yells from the sideline in the final minutes of a 17-6 win over Florida on Saturday at Tiger Stadium. Show caption
Associated Press photo by GERALD HERBERT -- LSU coach Les Miles yells from the sideline in the final minutes of a 17-6 win over Florida on Saturday at Tiger Stadium.

1 What we learned

Yes folks, LSU has a defense. The unit that is traditionally the pride of Tigers football was reduced to a punch line after a 44-41 loss at Georgia two weeks ago and was in full retreat during the first half the previous week at Mississippi State. But since then, the Tigers have allowed just three field goals over the past six quarters. No one is going to confuse Mississippi State or Florida’s offenses with Oregon or Baylor, but it’s a start. The tackling still needs work, but the quarterback pressure (four sacks) was better and the coverage was improved.

2 TRENDING NOW Old-fashioned football. Fancy passing attacks are all the rage, but some things remain true about football: If you control the line of scrimmage, you are likely going to win. LSU did that, rushing for 175 yards and allowing no sacks of Zach Mettenberger while sacking Florida QB Tyler Murphy four times and harassing him throughout the game. LSU’s running game was also potent (Jeremy Hill rushed 19 times for 121 yards) and while UF’s rushers (led by Mack Brown with 15 carries for 56 yards) never got up a head of steam.

3 FINAL THOUGHTS LSU’s offense has been brilliant all season long, but there are times you have to win games like this. Sometimes teams make you slug it out in the trenches, grind it out, make first downs feel like scores and field goals feel like touchdowns. This was that kind of game, and Florida was that kind of opponent. The Gators showed why they had the SEC’s No. 1 ranked defense, but the Tigers showed they could adapt. Not a perfect win by LSU standards, but perhaps a necessary one with the tests still to come.

Scott Rabalais