Florida Beats Joe Burrow, LSU 27-19 in SEC Action Behind Lamical Perine's 2 TDs

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2018

Florida running back Lamical Perine (22) runs past the LSU defense for a 1-yard touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The No. 22 Florida Gators handed the No. 5 LSU Tigers their first loss of the season Saturday, beating their SEC rivals 27-19 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Saturday's tilt was a defensive struggle, as LSU turned the ball over three times and neither team reached 400 yards of total offense.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Florida's win continued a trend of the Gators scoring home wins over highly ranked LSU teams:

LSU is now 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play, while Florida is 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the SEC.

Both quarterbacks were under siege much of the day and failed to find their rhythm. Tigers junior signal-caller Joe Burrow finished just 19-of-34 for 191 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Meanwhile, Florida sophomore quarterback Feleipe Franks went 12-of-27 for 161 yards with one touchdown and one pick.

The primary source of offense for both teams came courtesy of the running game. Running backs Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett combined to rush for 150 yards on 31 carries, and Perine scored twice for the Gators. Nick Brossette finished with 95 yards and two scores for the Tigers, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire contributed 55 yards on 13 carries.

LSU took a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by Brossette, but Florida bounced back to score a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

Perine put Florida ahead with a two-yard touchdown run, but it was set up by a trick play that saw tight end Lucas Krull throw a 15-yard completion to Franks:

Video Play Button

LSU had a chance to drive for the go-ahead score late, but Burrow was intercepted by Brad Stewart Jr., who returned it 25 yards for a touchdown:

Video Play Button

Although LSU got the ball back while trailing by eight, Burrow could not conduct a game-tying drive due largely to a lack of protection from his offensive line.


Poor Offensive Line Play Will Cause LSU's SEC Demise

LSU has long been known for its ability to bully the opposition in the trenches, but that wasn't the case during Saturday's game.

Burrow was under constant pressure, especially in the first half, as he rarely had time to throw or allow routes to develop down the field.

After a four-yard touchdown run by Brossette on LSU's first drive of the game, the Tigers were driving for another score on their next possession.

Jachai Polite sacked Burrow and forced a fumble at the Florida 28-yard line, however, which ended a promising drive:

Video Play Button

Yahoo Sports College Football noted that Saturday marked the third consecutive game Burrow lost a fumble. He was also sacked five times on the day.

While part of that rests on Burrow's shoulders in terms of sensing the pressure better, it is the offensive line's responsibility to keep him clean.

After that play, LSU could only muster a field goal for the remainder of the opening half.

In addition to Burrow getting hit with regularity, the LSU offensive line didn't get much of a push up front for the running game either.

Both Brossette and Edwards-Helaire had modest numbers until Brossette broke off runs of 31 and 47 yards on the same drive in the fourth quarter before scoring from one yard out:

Video Play Button

As pointed out by Trey Mongrue of KALB, Brossette had been bottled up for three quarters prior to those long runs:

LSU's offensive line had a tough time against a strong Florida front seven, and things won't get much easier for the unit moving forward.

In addition to facing No. 2 Georgia next week, the Tigers have a home date with the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide on Nov. 3.

If the line plays anywhere close to the way it did against Florida, LSU has virtually no prayer of upsetting perhaps the two best teams in the nation.

Georgia and Alabama both have great defenses, but they also are much stronger than Florida on offense, and they are more likely to make LSU pay for not putting points on the board.


Florida Must Defer More to Running Game to Compete in SEC East

Much of Florida's offensive success in the first half was thanks to the running game, but the Gators got away from it too often in the second half.

Franks did throw a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Moral Stephens late in the second quarter. However, Perine enjoyed success against LSU on the ground and opened the scoring for Florida with a one-yard touchdown run.

Even so, head coach Dan Mullen put the ball in Franks' hands to open the second half, and it yielded mixed results.

Although his first pass of the half was a 49-yard strike to Joshua Hammond, Franks was intercepted in the end zone by Grant Delpit on the very next play.

Andrew Doak of WWL-TV noted how quickly the narrative on Franks' passing prowess changed:

Graham Hall of the Gainesville Sun added that Franks has struggled with consistency throughout his collegiate career at Florida:

After LSU scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Florida answered with a touchdown of its own on the ensuing drive.

The key plays weren't passes by Franks, though; he was on the receiving end of a 15-yard pass by Krull before Perine ran for another short touchdown:

Video Play Button

Overall, Florida finished with 215 rushing yards and a yards-per-carry average of 5.0. The Gators attempted 43 rushes as well, but that number was aided by their attempts to milk the clock late in the game.

The Gators became far too dependent on Franks for a long stretch of Saturday's game, and it nearly cost them the victory.

Playing great defense and controlling the clock on offense is Florida's only recipe for success against quality teams, and it needs to recognize that soon since a date with Georgia isn't far off.


Lack of Offense Will Prevent LSU and Florida from Playing for SEC Title

LSU and Florida showed Saturday that both have strong defenses capable of making life miserable for the opposition, but they also displayed some glaring deficiencies on offense.

The Tigers seemingly have a competent quarterback in Burrow and a good running back tandem; however, the offensive line let them down too often.

As for Florida, Franks was far too inaccurate, and that level of play won't hold up when the competition gets even stiffer.

Alabama and Georgia are the cream of the crop in the SEC, and neither LSU nor Florida have enough offensively to compete with them currently.

That is especially true when it comes to the Crimson Tide since quarterback TuaTagovailoa is enjoying a Heisman Trophy-worthy campaign.

Georgia is as explosive as Bama in the passing game, but quarterback Jake Fromm also played in some high-pressure games last season, and he appears far more poised than the likes of Burrow and Franks.

LSU and Florida already have an uphill climb since they have one loss apiece, but with the Tigers still having to play both Georgia and Alabama, and the Gators preparing for an eventual clash with Georgia, it is clear that their offensive shortcomings leave them a notch below the SEC's elite.


What's Next?

Florida has a potentially tricky road clash with the Vanderbilt Commodores on tap next week, while LSU will host the No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs.

Following the Vandy game, Florida will host Georgia two weeks later in what figures to be a crucial SEC East battle.


    College Football Hall of Fame Damaged

    Front windows of College Football Hall of Fame were broken during Atlanta protests, items stolen (AJC)

    College Football logo
    College Football

    College Football Hall of Fame Damaged

    Blake Schuster
    via Bleacher Report

    How Could an Altered CFB Season Change Things for the Playoff?

    College Football logo
    College Football

    How Could an Altered CFB Season Change Things for the Playoff?

    via SI.com

    Debate: Where Does Lawrence Rank Among QB Prospects?

    @BR_Gridiron writers are split on the Clemson QB

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Debate: Where Does Lawrence Rank Among QB Prospects?

    NFL Staff
    via Bleacher Report

    Trevor Lawrence, More Athletes Speak Out on George Floyd's Death

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Trevor Lawrence, More Athletes Speak Out on George Floyd's Death

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report