BATON ROUGE — With a near perfect passing performance from Joe Burrow and a pair of red zone stops in the fourth quarter, No. 5 LSU held off No. 7 Florida, 42-28, in a matchup of undefeated teams from the Southeastern Conference
With the victory LSU improves to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in SEC play and with No. 3 Georgia being upset earlier in the day, the Tigers will likely now climb in the polls released on Sunday.
How It Happened: After LSU’s opening drive ended with a 44-yard field goal miss by Cade York, the Tigers needed a mere 32 seconds to put points on the board on its second possession.
After LSU’s defense forced a three-and-out by Florida, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire took a handoff for 57 yards and then Burrow found wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase for a 9-yard touchdown.
Florida though responded with a 12-play, 75-yard drive which was capped with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Trask to Trevon Grimes.
The two teams would then trade three-and-outs to end the opening quarter.
LSU began the second quarter with another quick scoring drive as the Tigers needed only five plays to go 82 yards. Justin Jefferson, who made the drive’s longest play with a 36-yard reception from Burrow, finished it off with a 7-yard touchdown from Burrow.
Florida would answer right back.
The Gators marched down the field on a methodical 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ate 7:20 off the clock. Florida capped it with a 1-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Emory Jones to Lamical Perine.
LSU’s fast-paced offense struck right back with a 4-play, 75-yard scoring drive that saw Edwards-Helaire score on a 39-yard rushing touchdown.
That left plenty of time for Florida to put together its third 75-yard scoring drive of the game. This one took 11 players and 3:51 off the clock as Trask found Van Jefferson for the 6-yard touchdown.
The two undefeated teams founds themselves knotted up 21-21 at halftime.
Florida took the opening drive of the second half and once again produced a scoring drive of at least 75 yards. Trask found Jefferson for the second time on a 2-yard touchdown throw that gave the Gators their first lead of the game.
LSU would answer yet again with a more conventional lengthy drive.
The Tigers put together a 8-play, 75-yard scoring drive with Edwards-Helaire scoring from 5 yards out. But after forcing Florida to punt, LSU got back to its speedy scoring drives as the Tigers found the end zone again with a 4-play, 54 yard drive capped by a 33-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Tyrion Davis-Price.
LSU’s defense which had given up long scoring drives after long scoring drive came up big in the red zone. With less than eight minutes remaining, Florida was in the red zone and looking to tie up the game. Freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. dove in the end zone to intercept Florida’s Trask.
LSU then capitalized by adding another touchdown as Burrow found a wide-open Chase down the right sideline for a 54-yard touchdown reception.
LSU’s defense stood tall a final time late in the fourth when Florida put together a 15-play, 71-yard drive (aided by a roughing passer penalty that nullified an interception). With the ball at the 2-yard line, Florida tried an option play on fourth down but Trask was tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
LSU took over on downs and ran out the clock for the victory.
Big Number: 87.5
Joe Burrow put on quite the show on Saturday night as he threw for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns against Florida. The most impressive number was the Heisman Trophy candidate’s completion percentage. Burrow ended the night completing 21-of-24 passes for a completion percentage of 87.5 percent.
Player of the Game: Derek Stingley Jr.
LSU’s defense was tested by Florida’s offense all night eventually giving up 457 yards, including 310 passing yards and 3 touchdowns to Trask — the Gators backup quarterback who suffered a MCL sprain a week earlier. With Florida driving in the red zone midway through the fourth, Stingley came up with a game-changing play as he dove to intercept Trask in the end zone. That swung the momentum back to LSU for good.
Next Up: October 19th at Mississippi State. Kickoff TBD.