UF shuts down LSU's offense
Published: Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 9:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 10:18 p.m.
Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd wasn’t worried about the toughness of UF’s defense heading into Saturday’s showdown with LSU.
“We never questioned our toughness,” Floyd said. “Everyone else might have.”
Instead, Floyd said he focused on the game plan, which was stopping the run and forcing turnovers. It all came together in No. 10 Florida’s 14-6 upset of No. 4 LSU at Florida Field.
Florida’s defense held LSU to 42 yards rushing, forced three turnovers and had four sacks. Florida forced LSU to go three-and-out on offense six times, all in the first half.
“We made a huge statement,” said Florida senior safety Josh Evans, who had one of UF’s four sacks on a blitz. “Our defense has been getting better day by day, game by game. Our front seven played unbelievably well and that’s what created an edge for us, creating turnovers, forcing the quarterback to make throws that were difficult.”
It also was sweet redemption from a season ago, when LSU scored 41 points and gashed the Gators for 253 yards rushing.
“They beat us down last year, they owned us,” Florida junior safety Matt Elam said. “We had a great game plan and we executed it.”
Floyd said stopping the run was emphasized all week in practice. LSU, which came into the game second in the SEC in rushing at 229.6 yards per game, was held to just 1.7 yards per carry.
“It was, do you want to get knocked off the ball, or do you want to knock somebody off the ball,” Floyd said. “That’s what we did. Our front showed up and our DBs did, too.”
A big defensive stand late in the first half allowed Florida to stay in the game. Florida trailed 3-0 when quarterback Jeff Driskel fumbled the ball away at his own 7-yard line after getting hit on a blitz. But Florida’s defense kept LSU out of the end zone, forcing the Tigers to kick a field goal that put LSU up just 6-0 at halftime.
“Our offense knows we have their back, and they have our back, too,” Floyd said.
By stopping the run, Florida also was able to frustrate first-year LSU starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Mettenberger was just 11 of 25 and threw an early interception by Florida sophomore cornerback Jaylen Watkins.
“We knew that coming into this game we had to stop the run, it was a must, making this quarterback beat us throwing,” Evans said. “And we’ve got confidence in our secondary.”
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