LSU vs. Florida: Postgame Grades from the Tigers' Loss vs. the Gators
Will Muschamp has been waiting for his first statement win since taking over the head-coaching duties at Florida.
He got it here today as Florida put on a defensive show in a 14-6 upset victory over LSU.
The Gators' defense flustered Zach Mettenberger and this LSU passing game all day long in the biggest win for the Gators since Tim Tebow left the program.
On offense, it wasn't pretty for either team, but Mike Gillislee and the Florida backfield did just enough to get it done in this SEC showdown.
Let's go ahead and hand out some final grades for the Tigers' loss to Florida.
Zach Mettenberger has had his struggles early on this season, but this was his worst game yet as LSU's starting signal-caller.
After going 3-of-3 on his first drive of the game, Mettenberger went on to 8-of-25 and finished with just 161 yards and an interception.
Mettenberger wasn't able to handle the pressure from Florida's pass rush and often seemed rushed and out-of-sink when he was pressured.
Of course, his receivers did have some drops. Mettenberger made a great pass to Odell Beckham Jr. late in the game, but it was dropped, and that put an end to LSU's possession. Going 11-of-25 isn't going to cut it against a solid SEC defense like Florida.
Final Grade: C-
Heading into this game, I truly believed that LSU had the most talented and deepest backfield in the nation.
I take back that statement.
The Tigers' backfield was next to invisible against Florida, managing only 42 yards on 25 carries, which is a lousy average of 1.7 yards per carry.
The Tigers were averaging near 200 yards per game heading into this contest, giving anyone an idea of how shocking this was to see.
Spencer Ware led the group with 21 yards, which also goes to show how poor this group was today.
There really aren't any positives you can take from this group's performance today.
The lack of a big-play downfield threat really hurt LSU in this game.
I mentioned earlier that Mettenberger struggled today, but his wide receivers did not help him.
Kadron Boone dropped two passes in the first half, and Odell Beckham Jr. dropped at least two, if not three, in the second half.
Russell Shepard remains a non-factor for this LSU team, and without those three, there really isn't much more of a passing game.
Without a big-play receiver, Beckham has to be the deep threat for this team, and he just wasn't tonight, despite racking up 81 yards. He had one big play late in the game, but in the end, that lack of explosive playmakers in the passing game cost the Tigers in this game.
This is a solid group, but they got banged up good today.
Alex Hurst, P.J. Lonergan and Josh Williford, all went down with injuries at different times today.
The group did a descent, but not great, job of protecting Mettenberger. But where this group didn't do their job was in run-blocking.
As I said, normally, this is one of the top units in the country. But with the constant injuries and guys coming in and out of the game, it was tough for this group to really find any type of solid rhythm.
You will see better days for this LSU offensive line.
Make no doubt about it.
It's hard to fault the defensive line in a game like this.
In fact, despite the loss and Florida racking up some big yards on the ground, this LSU defensive line was outstanding for the most part today.
As a unit, LSU had six sacks in the game.
Anthony Johnson and Bennie Logan were fantastic from the defensive end position. Johnson recorded a big sack early, and Logan forced a fumble.
The defensive ends, Mingo, Montgomery and Edwards, were all solid as well.
This group was special; the rest of the team was not.
The defensive line might have been the best unit in this game for LSU, but Kevin Minter was LSU's defensive MVP.
Minter was outstanding, recording double-digit tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble as well.
The other linebackers were good but not great.
True freshman Kwon Alexander got the start and played well before getting hurt in the second half.
Lamin Barrow also played solid, but as a whole, the group just couldn't hold Florida's rushing game in tack late in the game.
That really made the difference.
LSU's secondary played good for the most part, but you can just tell that this group misses having a big-time playmaker like Tyrann Mathieu.
This unit held Florida QB Jeff Driskel in check most of the day as the UF signal-caller completed just eight passes for 61 yards.
But, this group never could make that big play they needed to change momentum in the fourth quarter.
A big sack, an interception, a fumble...those are all things that Mathieu brought to the table, and you just didn't see any of that here today with this unit.
Still, holding Florida's passing game to less than 100 yards is pretty darn good.
Special teams was pretty good for the most part in this game.
Brad Wing is a phenomenal punter, but he had a ton of action in this one. The Australian punter booted it seven times 319 yards, which is an average of more than 45 yards-per-punt.
Drew Alleman, the Tigers kicker, was 2-of-2, but those were the only points that LSU put on the board in this one.
As far as the return game goes, again, this is where this team misses Tyrann Mathieu.
Odell Beckham Jr. returned four punts for just 22 yards. That is nothing to write home about.
A better return game and this group could be among the best in the country.
It's tough to fault Les Miles for this LSU loss, but certainly, he has to take some blame here.
The defense was solid. But, offense was simply invisible, and part of that blame goes to the coach and the preparation leading up to the game.
LSU was ranked higher than Florida heading into this game, and despite the loss, I still believe that LSU is a better football team than Florida.
But, the Tigers were simply outplayed today.
Maybe that was due to a lack of motivation? Maybe they weren't prepared correctly?
In an SEC road game, LSU had to take some chances, and they just didn't take many in this game.
That blame goes to the coaches.
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