GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jayden Daniels accounted for six touchdowns — three passing and three rushing — and LSU beat Florida 45-35 Saturday night at The Swamp for its fourth consecutive victory in the series.
Daniels finished with 349 passing yards — 115 of them to Kayshon Boutte — and 44 yards rushing. The Tigers (5-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) rebounded from a 27-point loss to Tennessee a week earlier and matched their longest winning streak against the Gators since 1977-80.
This one, like so many of the recent matchups in series history, came down to the final minutes. Trailing by a touchdown, Florida (4-3, 1-3) got a rare third-down stop with a little less than two minutes remaining. But freshman Damian Ramos kicked a 47-yard field goal with 1:52 to play to essentially seal the victory.
Anthony Richardson tried to rally Florida, but his fourth-down pass fell incomplete, and LSU ran out the clock from there.
Richardson played turnover-free football for the first time in six weeks, but the Gators needed him to play defense to make a difference in this one. He opened the game with a 51-yard touchdown pass and added a highlight-reel, 81-yard scoring run to start the fourth quarter. However, the Gators were too inconsistent in between.
The Tigers had no such issues. They scored touchdowns on their first six possessions, without any help from a short field. They rolled up 469 yards on those drives, picking apart Florida’s much-maligned defense, especially on third down.
LSU moved the chains eight times in its first nine third-down attempts. The one miscue? Well, coach Brian Kelly’s offense converted on fourth down.
Florida finally forced a punt with about 13 minutes to play and followed with an 80-yard drive that ended with Trevor Etienne’s 1-yard plunge. Trailing 42-35, the Gators looked like they had a game-changing interception with a little less than six minutes to play. But Jason Marshall’s pick was negated by a roughing-the-passer penalty on teammate Gervon Dexter. Dexter drove Daniels to the ground and landed on top of him after he released the ball.
Richardson completed 15 of 25 passes for 185 yards and a TD to Justin Shorter on the second play of the game. Richardson also ran for 109 yards and a score.
LSU: That 40-13 drubbing by Tennessee at home last week looks a lot better now, after the Volunteers upset No. 3 Alabama earlier Saturday. The Tigers had several gaffes on special teams in that one and did the same against Florida. They allowed a 47-yard kickoff return to open the game and muffed a punt in the second quarter. Both miscues set up touchdowns.
Florida: The Gators have dealt with defensive lapses all season but nothing quite like this. LSU’s six scores came on drives of 75, 73, 75, 83, 75 and 88 yards.
TOM PETTY NIGHT
Florida honored late music icon Tom Petty, a Gainesville native, throughout the game as part of the program’s inaugural “Tom Petty Day at The Swamp.” About a dozen of Petty’s family members were on hand in the north end zone as the Gators played “Won’t Back Down” between the third and fourth quarters, a game-day tradition Florida started days after Petty’s death in 2017.
LSU didn’t seem to respect the moment. The Tigers’ band started playing late in the rendition and drew boos from most of the 90,585 fans in attendance.
LSU: The Tigers start a three-game stretch against SEC West teams, beginning at home against No. 9 Ole Miss next Saturday.
Florida: The Gators get a bye week before facing top-ranked Georgia in nearby Jacksonville.
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