LSU Upsets #6 Florida 37-34 in Wild Contest [Video]
A freshman quarterback making his first start. A thrown shoe. A career-long field goal. It was all part of a wild LSU win in Gainesville on Saturday night.
With only 54 scholarship players, and another 4 lost during the game due to injury, a shorthanded Tigers team went into the Swamp as a 23.5 point underdog, and walked out with a 37-34 win over #6 Florida.
Freshman QB Max Johnson made his first career start, going 21-36 for 239 yards and 3 touchdowns, adding another 52 yards rushing.
"His poise, confidence and grit," said head coach Ed Orgeron when asked what impressed him most about Johnson's performance. "I think Max can be a championship quarterback."
Johnson and crew had to do it in rainy conditions, as fog circled over Ben Griffin Stadium.
"I was so proud of our coaching staff and our players," said Orgeron. "We had to fight through some very adverse conditions."
The much-maligned Tiger defense was "bend but don't break" on Saturday, giving up 609 yards of total offense, but held Florida to 5-13 on third downs, and 0-1 on fourth down, and forcing 3 turnovers, including this crazy pick in the red zone.
With several lead changes in the second half, perhaps the wildest moment of the night came late in the 4th quarter.
Tied at 34, LSU had the ball late in regulation but came up short on third down after a Johnson completion to tight end Kole Taylor. Taylor's shoe fell off his foot.
Following the play, Florida defensive back Marco Willis grabbed the shoe and threw it 20 yards downfield, resulting in an unsportsmanlike penalty
Several plays later, LSU kicker Cade York lined up to attempt a career-long 57-yard field goal.
With time still remaining, Florida was able to move into LSU territory and attempt a 51-yard field goal, but Evan McPherson's kick sailed wide left.
LSU improves to 4-5 with the win, while Florida falls to 8-2, losing their hopes of possibly getting into the College Football Playoff.
LSU will wrap up their 2020 season next Saturday at home against Ole Miss (4-4). Kickoff at Tigers stadium is set for 2:30.