Florida sweats out 16-10 vic­tory over LSU

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Brett Martel AP Sports Writer

BA­TON ROUGE, LA. >> Florida coach Jim McEl­wain watched his Ga­tors over­come in­juries, an ex­tra road game and re­peated ad­ver­sity in the shadow of their own goal line. That should be valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence for a feisty foot­ball team that’ll face long odds again when it meets topranked Alabama in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game in a cou­ple weeks.

Florida’s de­fense stuffed LSU’s Der­rius Guice on a do-or-die run from the 1-yard line in the fi­nal sec­onds, and the No. 21 Ga­tors held on for a ten­sion-filled 16-10 vic­tory that clinched the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence East Divi­sion on Satur­day.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of our play­ers and our staff, and I’m happy for our Ga­tor fans who don’t think we’re very good, but all we do is end up back in At­lanta,” said McEl­wain, whose Ga­tors (8-2, 6-2 SEC, No. 23 CFP) also won the SEC East last year.

The fi­nal play capped a de­fen­sive strug­gle in which No. 16 LSU con­verted a fourth-and-10 play on its fi­nal drive, only to get stopped on back-to­back runs from the 1 to end the game. Full­back J.D. Moore came up short on third down.

Florida quar­ter­back Austin Ap­pleby com­pleted only seven passes on 17 at­tempts, but one of his con­nec­tions went for a piv­otal 98-yard touch­down to Tyrie Cleve­land. Eddy Piniero scored the rest of Florida’s points on field goals of 36, 24 and 34 yards.

LSU (6-4, 4-3 SEC, No. 16 CFP) con­trolled most of the game and held sta­tis­ti­cal ad­van­tages, out­gain­ing Florida 423 yards to 270 and hold­ing pos­ses­sion for 34:02. LSU also led 7-0 af­ter Guice’s early 1-yard touch­down.

But on three oc­ca­sions, the Tigers failed to score af­ter driv­ing in­side Florida’s 10 — the first time be­cause of Guice’s fum­ble in the first half and the sec­ond time be­cause of a botched field goal in the third quar­ter. LSU’s lone field goal came three failed plays af­ter the Tigers had a first-and-goal from the 4.

“We just shot our­selves in the foot. We had a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties,” said LSU in­terim coach Ed Org­eron, whose prospects of keep­ing the job long term weren’t helped by the re­sult.

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