Tigers Befuddle Gators in Biggest Swamp Win Since '67
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In the biggest Gainesville blowout by an LSU football team since the early days of late Tiger coach Charlie McClendon, the LSU football team dominated Florida in every aspect of the game during the second half and ran away with a 36-7 victory in front of 85,252 in “The Swamp.”
The Tigers (5-1, 2-0 SEC) took an early 13-0 lead before Florida (4-3, 2-2) cut it to 13-7 at the half. In the second half, the Tigers put up 254 yards of total offense while holding Florida to only 91, outscoring the Gators, 23-0. The 237 yards of total offense by the Gators marked the sixth-straight time LSU’s No. 1-ranked defense held its opponent under 250 yards this season. LSU’s allowing only 207 yards per game and should continue to lead the nation when NCAA statistics are released on Sunday.
Junior cornerback Corey Webster — who played wide receiver during his first season in Baton Rouge — tied a school record with three interceptions, including one returned 45 yards for a touchdown. His three pickoffs were the first by a Tiger since Chris Williams had three against Rice in 1978 and the first in a road SEC game since Kenny Konz in 1949 against then-SEC member Tulane.
LSU racked up 249 rushing yards, led by Domanick Davis with 14 carries for 84 yards, Matt Mauck with 15 carries for a career-high 67 yards and Joseph Addai with 56 yards on 16 carries. Florida only managed 74 yards on 25 carries, 3.0 yards per rush. Davis finished the game with 163 all-purpose yards.
In the air, LSU quarterback Matt Mauck completed 13-of-20 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns, both to Devery Henderson for 13 and 25 yards on consecutive third-quarter passes. Henderson led LSU with a career-best four receptions and finished with 49 yards receiving. Michael Clayton had 83 yards on three receptions.
Placekicker John Corbello was 3-for-3 on the evening, making field goal attempts of 37, 45 and 20 yards. A 52-yard attempt was faked, and holder Blain Bech ran 35 yards for a touchdown.
The 29-point margin of victory by the Tigers was the largest in Gainesville since McClendon’s Tigers defeated Florida, 37-6, in 1967. It was LSU’s first victory in Gaineville since 1986 (28-17) and only the second win in the series since 1987 (1-13 from 1988-2001).
After losing the toss, the Tigers opened the game with a three-and-out drive that started from their 14 and were forced to punt. A 46-yard punt by Donnie Jones was returned 19 yards to the LSU 48, where the Gators advanced to the 24 before being stopped on 3rd-and-5.
The Gators faked a 42-yard field goal attempt, as holder and punter Jeff Whitaker took the snap and rolled to the right in search of running back Ran Carthon. Carthon ran wide open at the LSU 10, but Whitaker’s throw sailed over his head and into the back of the end zone.
On his first pick off, Webster stepped in front of Florida wide receiver Taylor Jacobs and intercepted Grossman at the LSU 49. A 22-yard pass from Mauck to Michael Clayton took the Tigers to the Florida 21, however, the drive then stalled and LSU was forced to settle for a 37-yard field goal attempt by John Corbello. The attempt was successful and the Tigers led 3-0 with 4:54 to play in the first quarter.
One minute and 16 seconds later, Webster and the LSU defense read Grossman’s audible perfectly. The LSU cornerback showed man coverage before dropping into a zone against Grossman. Instead of cutting to the sideline for Grossman’s pass, Jacobs continued down the field, leaving Webster unabated to the ball. He returned the interception, his fourth of the season, 45 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead with 3:38 to play in the quarter.
After the defense stopped the Gators without a first down, the Tigers took over at its own 46. On second down, Mauck faked a handoff to Davis and took the ball up the right side for a 27 yard gain to the Florida 25. Again, the drive stalled just outside the red zone and the Tigers took a Corbello 45-yard field goal to a 13-0 lead as the first quarter came to an end.
With the first-quarter shutout, the Tigers improved their first-quarter scoring margin to 68-10 this season.
A personal-foul face mask penalty at the LSU 41-yard line by Demetrius Hookfin on Jacobs gave the Gators a scoring opportunity. On 3rd-and-7 from the 16, Grossman threw a dart to Jacobs crossing the middle of the end zone for a touchdown.
LSU led 13-7 at the half, as neither team threaten the others’ territory over the final eight minutes of the half until Clayton caught a 4th-and-2 pass from Mauck and took it 39 yards to the Florida 17 as the half came to an end.
The Tigers stopped the Gators just short of Tigers territory to start the half, forcing a punt that rolled just into the corner of the endzone for a touchback.
Mauck and Davis then led the Tigers to a 12-play, 80-yard drive that lasted 6:12, the longest touchdown drive of the season in terms of time of possession. On the drive, Davis and Mauck combined to rush eight times for 37 yards before Mauck hooked up with Henderson in the flat. With three men to beat, Henderson cut inside and dived into the endzone for a 13-yard touchdown reception and a 20-7 lead.
Another defensive stop by the Tigers coupled with a 31-yard punt return by Davis gave LSU excellent field position at the Florida 25. On the first play of the drive, Henderson came back to an under-thrown pass in the endzone to catch his second touchdown pass in as many throws.
LSU increased the lead to 26-7 after failing on the two-point conversion failed with 4:10 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing LSU possession, the Tigers looked to be headed for another Corbello field goal as Joseph Addai ran LSU to the Florida 35 before being stopped. On the 52-yard attempt, holder Blain Bech took the deep snap and ran 35 yards around the right side for a touchdown, his first collegiate statistic.
The Tigers led 33-7 after the point after was successful.
Just after the start of the fourth quarter, defensive end Marcus Spears jumped to spear a one-handed interception from Grossman and returned 18 yards to the Gators’ 9.
LSU ran the ball three times to the 3-yard line before Corbello tacked on a 20-yard field goal for a 36-7 lead with 12 minutes to play.
The Tigers had yet another opportunity inside the Gators’ 10, but elected to go for a 4th-and-goal at the two and turned the ball over on downs.
LSU returns to action on Oct. 19 when it plays host to South Carolina at 6:45 p.m. on ESPN2 in Tiger Stadium
LSU at FLORIDA
Oct. 12, 2002
- LSU’s captains for the game were Matt Mauck, Bradie James, Domanick Davis and Kenderick Allen.
- LSU lost the toss and Florida deferred to the second half.
- With Florida not converting the fake field goal on the Gators’ opening drive, LSU extended its streak of keeping the opposition from scoring on its first possession of the game to eight games. The last time the Tigers’ opponents scored on its opening possession was Auburn on Dec. 1, 2001.
- With the 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, LSU has not outscored its opponents 68-10 this season and 72-10 over the last eight games, including the final two games of the 2001 season.
- LSU’s 6:12 touchdown (Devery Henderson 13-yard pass from Matt Mauck) drive in the third quarter is the longest drive that resulted in a touchdown this season. The Tigers had a 7:01 drive that resulted in a John Corbello field goal against Miami (Ohio).
- LSU’s 0:07 touchdown (Devery Henderson 25-yard pass from Matt Mauck) drive in the third quarter was the Tigers shortest drive of the season. The previous shortest drive of the season was a 0:34 drive that also resulted in a touchdown.
- The victory over No. 16 Florida was the first win for LSU over a ranked team on the road since the Tigers defeated No. 14 Auburn 12-6 in Auburn on Sept. 16, 1996.
- The victory over No. 16 Florida also marks the first victory for LSU over a ranked team from the SEC Eastern Division on the road since the league went to divisional format in 1992. Furthermore it is the first road win for the Tigers against a current ranked SEC Eastern Division team since a 26-23 over 16th-ranked Georgia in Athens in 1987.
- With the victory over Florida, LSU head coach Nick Saban has at least one victory over every SEC team he has faced. Saban has not played South Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt.
- LSU is now 17-0 under head coach Nick Saban when the Tigers score at least 25 points. The Tigers are 5-0 this season when scoring at least 25 points.
The seven points scored by Florida against LSU are the fewest since a 24-7 Tiger victory in 1980 in Gainesville.
- LSU’s 36-7 victory over Florida is the largest margin of victory for the Tigers over the Gators in Gainesville since a 37-6 win in 1967. It is the largest margin of victory in the series for LSU since a 48-7 win in Baton Rouge back in 1971.
- With a start in the game, WR Jerel Myers extended his consecutive starts streak to a team-high 31 games. RT Rodney Reed extended his streak to 27 straight starts, while CB Demetrius Hookfin moved his to 19, LB Bradie James to 14 and LG Stephen Peterman and SS Norman LeJeune to 12 games each.
- Corey Webster, a converted wide receiver turned cornerback, intercepted Florida quarterback Rex Grossman three times in the game, becoming the sixth Tiger to pick off three passes in one game (a school record). He now has five interceptions this season. He became first Tiger to pick off three passes in one game since
- Chris Williams had three at Rice on Sept. 30, 1978. The last time in an SEC game came on Dec. 5, 1970, by Craig Burns. The last time a Tiger intercepted three passes in an SEC road game was by Kenny Konz on Nov. 26, 1949, at Tulane (which was a member of the SEC from 1933-65).
- Webster’s feat marked the second time in his career that he has had at least two interceptions in one game. He also had two interceptions against Mississippi State on Sept. 28, 2002.
- Webster’s second interception in the first quarter, returned 45 yards for a touchdown, was the fourth int. of his career and the first touchdown of his career.
- Webster’s interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter was the longest for a LSU player since Damien James returned one 56 yards against Houston on Sept. 9, 2000.
- Michael Clayton’s 22-yard reception in the first quarter extended his consecutive games with a reception streak to 19, every game he has played for the Tigers.
- Devery Henderson’s 13-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter was his third of his career and his third in as many games. He had a touchdown reception in the Mississippi State game and last week against Louisiana-Lafayette.
- Henderson’s two touchdowns in the game marks his career-high for TDs in one game. Henderson’s 49 receiving yards are also a career-high.
- Blain Bech’s 35-yard touchdown run on the fake field goal in the fourth quarter was his first career touchdown and, for that matter, it was his first career stat.
- Marcus Spears’ interception and 18-yard return in the fourth quarter interception was the first of his career.
- Matt Mauck’s 15 carries for 77 yards are career highs for the sophomore quarterback.