Florida doesn't have the reputation as being one of the SEC teams that just beats its opponents up on the offensive and defensive lines, but that will change after Saturday's 14-6 win against LSU.
In a meeting between top 10 teams, Florida punched LSU in the mouth. Repeatedly. LSU, which had won 18 straight regular-season games, the longest streak in the nation, gained just seven first downs and 202 yards against the Gators. It was an astonishing display of physical football by the Gators, who simply battered the Tigers.
"It was a heavyweight match," Florida coach Will Muschamp said after the game to CBS. "We did a nice job today on the line of scrimmage. We ran the ball in the second half and we wore them down."
With about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, a few plays after LSU picked up a rare first down, the Tigers tried running for a first down on third and 2. The Tigers' line was unable to block anyone as the Gators swarmed to the ball to drop Kenny Hilliard for a 2-yard loss. Hilliard never had a chance. -- and that's how all four quarters went for LSU's offense. Florida, led by safety Matt Elam's dominant performance (he was so fired up, he was knocking over his own teammates), pounded LSU's offensive players at every opportunity. Florida still hasn't allowed a point in the fourth quarter this season.
The Gators' offense showed its muscle too. Florida didn't do much on offense in the first half, but pushed around LSU's vaunted defense in the second half. Mike Gillislee scored two rushing touchdowns, sprinting through huge holes to the end zone each time. The Gators' last 24 offensive plays were runs, not counting a kneel down at the end, which sent a clear message to LSU and the rest of the SEC about its toughness.
Florida wasn't widely considered a SEC favorite before the season. That will change after Saturday as well.
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