They call this place Death Valley.
It’s where opponents dreams come to die, so the legend goes. On Saturday night, the No. 7 Florida Gators walked through that valley. It should’ve been a valley of death, something that could be assumed it was in light of the 42-28 loss to No. 5 LSU. But these Gators feared no evil and instead of Death Valley, found their valley of Baca.
The two touchdown win won’t give indication for just how tight this game was for 52 minutes. The Gators took a 21-all tie into halftime and were down by one touchdown until just under six minutes remained in the fourth quarter.
LSU came into the game boasting the nation’s most prolific scoring offense, daring the Gators to match their production. On the Tigers first drive, a CJ Henderson pass break up (3 PBU, 3 tackles) helped stall a LSU drive. A Jeremiah Moon tackle forced a stop on 3rd down and then Moon got a hand on the ball during the Tigers 44-yard field goal attempt, helping knock it wide. On the Tigers second offensive drive of the night, two plays covered 66-yards and put LSU in the endzone for the 7-0 lead. But then, Dan Mullen’s squad went round for round in the first half.
On 3rd and goal from the 5-yard line, Tre Grimes (3 receptions, 30 yards, 1TD)—who was wide right—scooted across the back of the endzone and hauled in Kyle Trask’s 5-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at seven.
The teams traded punts, LSU scored again after a bad miss by the Gators and Florida took the ball back for their first possession of the second quarter. It was methodical, moving downfield at a pace that 6:56 off the clock in all. It saw a consistent rotation between Trask and Emory Jones (1-2, 1 yard, 1TD; 9 rushes, 36 yards), featured Trask becoming a “willing runner” and ended with Jones lobbing one up to Lamical Perine in double coverage. The pass was bobbled and Perine’s sure hands brought down the pass for the score to tie at 14.