GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida beat LSU the way the Tigers regularly beat their opponents: using a great defense and a physical running game. Mike Gillislee ran for 146 yards and two second-half touchdowns to give the Gators a 14-6 victory at Florida Field on Saturday afternoon.
Here are the good and the bad from the Gators’ first victory over the Tigers since 2009.
Tough enough: Florida's offensive line proved that it was tougher and stronger than last season by handling LSU's defensive line, which features three players who are projected first round NFL draft picks. LSU was giving up 86.0 yards per game rushing heading into Saturday's matchup, but the Gators ran for 97 yards in the third quarter alone. The Gators wore the Tigers down and the holes started getting bigger and bigger and Gillislee's runs got longer and longer as the game wore on.
In your face: The Gators pressured LSU QB Zach Mettenberger all day, sacking him four times and intercepting him once. The Gators had just five sacks coming into the game. In the two games the Gators have played against pro-style passing teams -- Tennessee and LSU -- they have recorded seven sacks.
Third down mastery: Florida's defense held LSU to 1-for-13 on third downs. The only conversion came on a screen pass that went for 20 yards on third-and-18 in the fourth quarter. UF forced six three-and-outs, including a stretch over the first and second quarters in which the Tigers went five consecutive possessions without gaining a first down.
Turnovers: WR Frankie Hammond and QB Jeff Driskel each had costly fumbles in the first half. In Hammond's case, LB Kevin Minter knocked the ball loose on the sideline at the LSU 20-yard line and the Tigers returned the ball to the LSU 40. That cost the Gators at least a chance to tie the game with a Caleb Sturgis field goal. Driskel fumbled on UF's next possession when he was sacked by DT Bennie Logan at the UF 18-yard line. The Tigers eventually recovered on the 7 and kicked a field goal to take a 6-0 lead.
Driskel regressed a bit: Driskel had been solid all season until Saturday, when he turned in his worst performance as a starter. He held onto the ball too long early and tried to scramble too much instead of taking off and running. Of the five first-half sacks, Driskel was at fault for three of them, including the one on which he fumbled. Driskel finished 8-of-12 for 61 yards. UF coach Will Muschamp said early last week the Gators didn't need a super human effort from Driskel. It appears Driskel was pressing.
Return game still struggling: The Gators tried De'Ante Saunders as the punt returner but he ended up fair catching three punts in the first half. He could have returned all three, including one in which he had about 15 yards between him and the nearest tackler. Andre Debose fared no better. UF's kickoff return team didn't do much, either. UF has to start making big plays in the return game.