UF's O-line hammers through

Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel in the huddle against the LSU Tigers during the first half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated LSU 14-6. (Matt Stamey/Staff photographer)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 10:13 p.m.

Even with Florida's offensive line struggling to protect quarterback Jeff Driskel early, coach Will Muschamp saw a weakness in LSU's defense.

“The running game was there,” Muschamp said. “We needed to be a little more patient with it.”

Florida's offensive line responded with a dominant second-half performance Saturday, wearing down LSU's physical defensive front in its 14-6 win at Florida Field.

The Gators gained 160 of their 176 yards rushing in the second half. Florida ran the ball 25 straight times in the third and fourth quarters to close out the game.

“We just kept attacking them,” Florida center Jonotthan Harrison said. “Really, if you think about it, it was like a brick wall mentality. If you keep hammering at the brick wall eventually it was going to go down.

“So this defense everyone was talking about with LSU, if we kept hammering at the defense, eventually we were going to break through.”

Florida running back Mike Gillislee scored both of his 12-yard touchdown runs untouched, breaking through holes on the right side of UF's offensive line. Gillislee wound up with 146 yards rushing on 34 carries.

“He's an example of our work,” Florida senior offensive guard James Wilson said. “He definitely had some great runs. We didn't make every block. But we just worked together.”

Florida's offensive line rebounded from a shaky first half. The Gators had issues in pass protection, allowing five sacks. On some plays, Driskel held onto the ball too long. But on others, Driskel didn't have nearly enough time to throw.

“There was communication (issues),” Wilson said. “We tried to get it right. So we just stuck with the run game because we saw that was working”

Wilson also had a gaffe when he failed to fall and scoop up a Driskel fumble that LSU recovered at UF's 7-yard line.

“Just give credit to LSU's defense in the first half,” Florida junior guard Jon Halapio said. “They are by far the best defense we played this year. We're not going to be perfect, especially against LSU. We just learned from those mistakes and came out and ran the ball.”

Muschamp made the shift in the game plan clear at halftime.

“Coach told us basically we're going to run the ball down their throat, basically make them tap out,” Halapio said.

Harrison credited Florida strength coach Jeff Dillman for the offensive line's ability to wear LSU down.

“We felt like we were slowly defeating LSU's will,” Harrison said. “Their defensive linemen weren't coming at us as hard.

“It was an interesting feeling because last year, we weren't in that kind of condition. But now it's showing this year, the offseason the work is really paying off.”

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