For the second straight week, Florida sophomore running back Lamical Perine was effective near the goal line for the Gators.
Perine scored two rushing touchdowns in UF’s 17-16 loss to LSU at The Swamp on Saturday. Perine’s two rushing TDs, from two yards and one yard out, increased his rushing total to five TDs on the season, with all five coming the last two weeks. The 5-foot-11, 218-pound Perine rushed for three TDs last week against Vanderbilt.
“Credit my offensive line as I’m always going to do,” Perine said. “Malik Davis had a good drive and he’s a good running back as well. So, I credit my offensive line for that job, and getting those touchdowns.”
Davis finished with 90 yards on 14 carries, while Perine had 70 yards on 12 carries. The duo helped spark a pair of third-quarter TD drives for the Gators, with Perine rushing for 23 yards on one third-quarter carry and Davis rushing for 21 yards on another third-quarter carry. For the game, Florida finished with 194 rushing yards and have rushed for 165 or more yards in four straight games for the first time since 2012.
Heggie, Washington injured
Florida came out of its loss against LSU on Saturday even more banged up. Starting left guard Brett Heggie, who earned SEC offensive lineman of the week honors last week, suffered a head injury and sat out the second half in concussion protocol. Junior Tyler Jordan replaced Heggie on the offensive line.
“(Offensive line) coach (Brad) Davis, he rotates Tyler around, at tackle, guard, center so he was ready for that situation,” Perine said
Nick Washington injured his shoulder while trying to tackle LSU tight end Foster Moreau, while linebacker Jeremiah Moon suffered an ankle injury in the second half. Florida senior defensive back Garrett Stephens, a valuable player on special teams, was carted off the field in the second quarter with a knee injury while covering a punt.
“That caused us some issues in special teams as far as moving guys around at that juncture,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said.
McElwain credited safety Chauncey Gardner for playing through an ankle injury and freshman wide receiver Kadarius Toney for playing through shoulder and shin issues.
“It will be interesting because after a loss, little nick injuries, sometimes take a little bit longer to heal and we don’t have time to let heal,” McElwain said. “Guys who can go have got to go.”
Florida redshirt freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks was asked how much he missed his favorite go-to receiver, sophomore Tyrie Cleveland, who was out with a high ankle sprain.
“Tyrie has done a great job rehabbing and to get ready to get back and the other guys, they’re really good receivers as well,” Franks said. “They worked their butts off throughout the week. They came out here ready to play. Not too many dropped balls, if any.”
Franks completed 10 of 16 passes for 108 yards with no TDs Saturday. Sophomore Josh Hammond was UF’s leading receiver with three catches for 29 yards. Franks’ longest completion went for 18 yards.
LSU’s Dillon ejected
LSU lost one of its key players on offense early in the game when starting wide receiver Derrick Dillon was ejected for targeting.
Dillon was ejected in the first quarter after replays confirmed a helmet-to-helmet hit with Florida freshman cornerback CJ Henderson while trying to block on a screen-pass play.
Dillon had a 30-yard run on a jet sweep play before being ejected.
Guice plays for LSU
Junior LSU star tailback Derrius Guice, who sat out last week’s game against Troy with a knee injury, returned to action against Florida but wasn’t much of a factor. The 5-foot-11 Guice finished with 50 yards on 17 carries, averaging 2.9 yards per carry, with no TDs.
But for the game, LSU outrushed Florida 207-194. In the Florida-LSU series, the team that has won the rushing battle has won 15 of the last 16 contests.
Gators set NCAA record
With Eddy Pineiro’s 25-yard field goal in the second quarter, the Gators set an NCAA record for most consecutive games without being shut out at 366.
Florida surpassed Michigan, which went 365 straight games without being shut out from 1984-2014.
The last time UF was shut out was a 16-0 loss to Auburn on Oct. 29, 1988.
Captains for the game were Washington, Heggie, junior defensive lineman Cece Jefferson and redshirt junior linebacker R.J. Raymond. … Former Gator pitcher and 2017 College World Series MVP Alex Faedo was the celebrity Mr. Two Bits before the game. … Florida’s 2017 national champion men’s track and field team and SEC champion men’s swimming and diving team were recognized on the field during the game. …. Former Gator Heisman Trophy winning QB Danny Wuerffel attended the game and was recognized on the field in the second quarter. Former UF QB Rex Grossman also was at the game. … The loss dropped the Gators to 68-25-2 all-time in homecoming games. The Gators are 16-4 in their last 20 homecoming games. … Gardner finished with a career-high 12 tackles, while linebacker Vosean Joseph (11 tackles) and cornerback Duke Dawson (eight) also established new career highs in tackles. Sophomore linebacker David Reese matched a career high with 12 tackles.