Spencer Ware, top-ranked LSU easily put away Florida

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU's decisive advantage at quarterback was obvious from the Tigers' second offensive play, when Jarrett Lee unloaded a deep pass over Florida's defense and hit Rueben Randle in stride for a 46-yard score.

Yet even without that quick strike, the reeling Gators and freshman quarterback Jacoby Brissett might have struggled to keep up with the No. 1 Tigers.

Spencer Ware rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns, and LSU (6-0, 3-0 SEC) quickly opened up a double-digit lead that it never relinquished in a 41-11 victory over 17th-ranked Florida (4-2, 2-2) on Saturday.

"We showed everybody that we are capable of some special things against a really good Florida team," said LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery, who had a sack. "I want more. I want a national championship. I want to play the best ever."

LSU backup quarterback Jordan Jefferson added a touchdown toss on a jump pass to tight end Mitch Joseph early in the fourth quarter. The play delighted the fans in Tiger Stadium, who likely remembered when former Florida star Tim Tebow pulled the same play on LSU back in 2006.

"It was not necessarily the first time it was run in football," LSU coach Les Miles said, grinning as he credited offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa with the play call. "I really enjoyed it."

LSU's fast, fierce defense was too much for Brissett, who became the first Florida freshman quarterback to take his first career snap as a starter, a move made because of injuries to senior John Brantley and freshman Jeff Driskel.

Brissett was intercepted twice on deep throws, once each by safety Brandon Taylor and cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.

"I thought he was solid ... under the circumstances," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "He's going to be a really good football player for us. We've got to play better around him in some spots and create some more situations in the run game."

Florida rushed for 113 yards. It didn't help that Jeff Demps, slowed by an apparent ankle injury, carried only twice for no yards. Chris Rainey carried 13 times for 52 yards.

LSU led 17-0 after its first three possessions in what became the sixth double-digit victory in as many games for the Tigers, who have trailed for only 6:33 all season. The Tigers more than doubled the Gators in total yards, 453-213. LSU had 238 yards rushing alone, one week after No. 2 Alabama rushed for 226 yards against Florida in a 38-10 victory.

"We saw what Alabama was able to do to those guys," Lee said. "That is something we definitely wanted to do to them today."

That opened Florida up to questions about its ability to control the line of scrimmage.

"I wouldn't say we are getting overpowered," Gators defensive end Sharif Floyd said. "It's blown coverages and mistakes by us as a whole. We have to get more focused."

Alfred Blue added 70 yards on 14 carries and a late 2-yard TD run to cap the scoring for LSU and ensure Florida's worst loss since the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, when the Gators fell to then-national champion Nebraska 62-24.

The Tigers next play at Tennessee, then host Auburn, but fans in the student section made it clear they're already looking forward to the Tigers' Nov. 5 trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala. They chanted, "We want Bama," after the game.

Muschamp, who throughout the week had said Driskel was his likely starter, instead went with Brissett, saying it became clear in practice that Driskel was not healthy enough to play a defense as strong as LSU's.

Brissett finally got Florida in the end zone in the third quarter on a 65-yard connection to Andre Debose, who Morris Claiborne appeared to let run free after shoving him out of bounds and apparently thinking he was out of the play.

However, Brissett's next deep pass resulted in Mathieu's second interception of the season. That was only the latest defensive highlight for the LSU star, who also has forced four fumbles, and has returned two of his three fumble recoveries for touchdowns this season.

Brissett finished 8 of 14 for 94 yards. Driskel, who injured his ankle in relief of Brantley during the Gators' 38-10 loss to Alabama a week earlier, did not play at all. Instead, Muschamp tried rotating in receiver Trey Burton and Rainey as single-wing quarterbacks, but that wasn't effective either.

LSU found the end zone on its first two possessions. Following up the quick strike to Randle with a methodical eight-play drive that included seven runs and covered 57 with the help of an offside penalty. Ware capped it with a 2-yard TD run.

"That's what we wanted to do," Lee said. "We knew that we had to get off to a quick start against these guys because they are a talented football team. It was really important for us to grab the momentum early."

LSU appeared to have scored its third TD when punter Brad Wing covered 52 yards on a fake late in the first quarter, but he raised his arms moments before crossing the goal line. That drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which took the score off the board. LSU retained possession, but had to settle for Drew Alleman's 35-yard field goal.

Miles said he did not call a fake but said Wing made the right call to run when he saw Florida's coverage team retreating. He only wished he hadn't drawn a flag.

"In a big game when 4 points is important, we won't do that," Miles said.


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