Sunday, October 12, 2014

Football Heartbreaker: LSU vs Florida

I'll start by saying that tonight's game against the LSU Tigers was a roller coaster of emotions. Not only that, it was a clear example of highway robbery as the refs helped LSU win the game 27-24.

Let me elaborate. In the third quarter, the Gators stopped LSU twice on defense and both those times the refs bailed out the Tigers with phantom pass interference and defensive holding calls. The end result was a touchdown, when at the very least LSU should have only came away with a field goal.

Then there is the chaos that ensued at the end of the game! After picking off a Jeff Driskel pass and taking it back to the Gator 33-yard line, LSU ran the ball to try to get some yards. They had no timeouts and the clock was winding down after the run. 

As the clock approached zero, the refs somehow stopped the game and put 10 seconds back on the clock! I don't know what happened or what allowed the refs to do that, but I'm pretty sure they can't just stop the clock at will just to bail a team out. Either way, LSU was able to spike the ball with eight seconds left and set up walk on kicker Colby Delhoussaye's game winning 50-yard field goal.

I was in sheer shock after seeing the game end the way it did and at this point I don't even know what to think about Driskel, Muschamp, or the offense. I also came to learn via Twitter that running back Kelvin Taylor might consider transferring because he was underused this game. All this game did was stir up more controversy, especially with Treon being suspended for the entire contest due to fictitious sexual assault allegations.

Although I am a strong supporter for Treon Harris as the next Florida QB, Jeff Driskel did not do too bad tonight.  He completed 14 of 25 passes for 183 yards and one touchdown. On the ground, he carried the ball 21 times for 71 yards and a touchdown. He also did not get sacked at all this game, which is a testament to the solid play of the offensive line.

However, a chunk of Driskel's passing yards came on his 73-yard pass late in the fourth quarter and he threw two interceptions in the game. The first one was under thrown and the second one was an ill-advised throw on a slant route that set up LSU's game winning field goal. He also fumbled the ball early in the first quarter and that led to an LSU touchdown.

Driskel played like he wanted to keep his job, but unfortunately he could not get it done in crunch time. I'm all set and ready to jump into the Treon era of Gator football, but I cannot completely blame Driskel for the offense's woes.

The Gator receiving core once again hurt Driskel as they dropped about eight balls tonight. The drop that killed the most was tight end Tevin Westbrook's drop in the end zone on third down and goal after Demarcus Robinson reeled in a 73-yard pass to get the Gators to the LSU 2-yard line! Out of every play from this game, I can easily say that this one hurts the most every time I think about it.

Just so we can leave the receivers on some type of high note, I'll spew out some stats. Demarcus Robinson was the leading yard getter with 104 receiving yards and he had the lone Gator receiving touchdown on the night. True freshman running back Brandon Powell had the most receptions with six and had 66 total receiving yards in the game.

Even though Westbrook should have caught that ball and the Gators should have won 31-27, it's not entirely his fault. The fact that the Gators could not punch it in from the 2-yard line is a testament to how horrific this offense is! The running backs did nothing this game! They did absolutely nothing! Like I mentioned earlier, Driskel was the leading rusher and the only other Gator rusher to crack over 20 yards was Andre Debose who had 35! Keep in mind he is a wide receiver/kick returner!

If it was up to me, I would have put Kelvin Taylor in for that goal line series because I know he would have found a way to punch it in. I feel so bad for the guy. His father, Fred, was a legend at Florida and after a solid freshman campaign, many of us thought Kelvin would be the bonafide starter this season. 

Unfortunately, it's been the complete opposite as Kelvin rarely sees the field and when he does, he is lucky to see one series at the most! If Kelvin is serious about transferring, I honestly don't blame him and I wish him the best of luck wherever he ends up playing.

Now to my favorite part of these articles: the Gator defense. The defense allowed 305 yards of total offense and was unable to force any turnovers this game. It also didn't help that the refs were giving LSU so many second chances with ridiculous penalty calls that simply did not exist. But I talked about that already, this is about the defensive stars.

Junior linebacker Antonio Morrison and defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. were absolute beasts tonight as they recorded double digit tackles. Morrison led the team with 14 tackles while Fowler had 11 tackles (1 tackle for loss) and one sack. 

Speaking of sacks, the Gators had four of them tonight. Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Alex McCalister was the team leader tonight with 1.5 of them. The other 0.5 of a sack can be credited to junior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard. True freshman cornerback Jalen Tabor also recorded a sack for the second straight week.

The Gator secondary had five pass breakups this game but unfortunately all I can think of is Vernon Hargreaves III's injury and the blown coverage on 3rd down and 25. Thankfully, I have heard Muschamp say that VH3 will be fine for next game. 

However, the problem of blown coverages in the secondary still remains. What's even worse is that this is happening AFTER timeouts! I feel like after talking it over for a minute there should be no confusion whatsoever! 

I will put it into perspective though. It was the only notable blown coverage of the game and the Gators had committed a penalty on the play that would have made it a first down anyways. Still, these late game blown coverages gotta stop.

The defense did all they could considering they had to carry the offense yet again this game. They got hosed on some terrible calls, but I still stand up and applaud their valiant effort against LSU. If anything, it is this Gator defense that has me coming back each week.

Finally, we have special teams. I'm not even going to start with the legend Kyle Christy here. No, this is about Andre Debose. This redshirt senior was going to be "the real MVP" had the Gators won tonight because I am not lying when I say this man was a SPARK! He took his first punt of the night back 62 yards to the house for a touchdown and made LSU completely adjust their kicking game.

He almost had a second punt return touchdown when he took a punt 53 yards all the way to the LSU 9-yard line. But just like Robinson's catch, this just resulted in a Gator field goal. Debose's 115 punt return yards and 184 all purpose yards make him my player of the game despite the loss. If anything, he is building his draft stock for the NFL!

For the rest of special teams, the kicking game was on point. Francisco Velez was two of two on field goals with his longest being 34 yards. Kyle Christy showed up like he does every week and punted four balls for 190 yards. He averaged 47.5 yards and managed to put one ball inside the 20.

Like I said earlier in the article, I am still surprised how this game ended. The Gators (3-2) had a chance to win with a touchdown in the red zone or a game winning field goal and they wasted both those opportunities. There's nowhere to look but forward now. Missouri (4-2) is coming to town for Homecoming next week and I know they aren't too happy after getting drubbed by Georgia at home 34-0. This game will be at 7 p.m. next Saturday.

LSU (5-2) is still pretty much out of the SEC West hunt but I know they feel good after beating the Gators, especially in The Swamp. They will now turn their attention to Kentucky (5-1) as the Wildcats head to Death Valley next week. If Kentucky is as legit as people are saying, this might actually be a good game! Game time is 7:30 p.m.

*All stats accredited to

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