3:30 PM ET, October 15, 2005
Tiger Stadium, BATON ROUGE, LA
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Coaches Les Miles and Urban Meyer showed more emotion than they had all season.
No one would have guessed why, either.
Joseph Addai ran for a career-high 156 yards and a touchdown, JaMarcus Russell had two TD passes and the 10th-ranked Tigers ended a three-game home losing streak to No. 11 Florida with a 21-17 victory Saturday.
While most expected Miles to be overjoyed with LSU's comeback and impressive defensive performance, he was livid because of five turnovers, 11 penalties and five sacks.
Meyer, meanwhile, was fighting back tears at the other end of Tiger Stadium. Although he could have been upset by his offense's continued struggles, his eyes were glassy because he felt like the Gators showed heart for the first time this season.
"I liked the passion," Meyer said after pausing several times to compose himself. "I haven't seen that a lot out of our team. You'll never hear me say I'm proud of the team, because I'm not when they lose. But I see guys that I've never seen actually act like they like to put on a Gator football helmet. If there's a little thing you can take out of this, I think we toughened up a little bit."
LSU felt the same way.
The Tigers led 14-0 in the first quarter, but Florida scored 17 straight points to move ahead in the third. The momentum swing was reminiscent of LSU's last home game, when it squandered a 21-point lead against Tennessee and lost 30-27 in overtime.
The Tigers (4-1, 3-1 SEC) didn't let it happen again.
They put together a 12-play, 75-yard drive -- converting on fourth down and getting a big play on third-and-9 -- to move back in front for good with 12:35 to play. Addai ran seven times on the drive, including a 3-yarder for the go-ahead score.
"As the game was going, the whole offense was getting stronger," Addai said. "We started off the game well, but then we settled down. We just didn't worry about the scoreboard."
Russell's plays were equally important on the winning drive. He gained 4 yards on fourth-and-1 and then floated a 21-yard pass to Dwayne Bowe on third down to keep the drive alive. Russell finished 14-of-22 for 236 yards.
The Tigers won their third straight and remained close to Western Division unbeatens Alabama and Auburn. LSU plays Auburn next week and Alabama next month, meaning the Tigers still control their fate in the division race.
More important to Miles was correcting the miscues; LSU also had four turnovers and 14 penalties last week against Vanderbilt.
"There's got to be a stronger push and a greater commitment by our team," he said. "We're going to fix it. If you turn the ball over the amount of times that we did and you have penalties that are unforced ... we will not be able to do the things that this team is capable of doing.
"This football team has a lot in front of it. Right now, we're just a sloppy team on offense," he said.
The Gators (5-2, 3-2) can say the same thing. Chris Leak, playing with a bruised right shoulder, was sacked four times and finished with a career-low 107 yards passing. He completed 11-of-30 passes.
"I thought Chris struggled a little bit, but I think our receivers struggled as well," Meyer said.
Florida now needs to win out and have Georgia lose another game -- in addition to their matchup in two weeks -- to win the East and advance to the conference championship game.
The Gators blew several chances to open up a big lead in front of a record crowd of 92,402 in Death Valley.
Of LSU's turnovers, four of them were in its own territory and gave Florida great field position. The Gators scored on three of the five turnovers.
"We just didn't take advantage of our opportunities," Leak said. "We made too many mistakes. Guys played their hearts out. We just didn't make enough plays."
Kestahn Moore had a 32-yard touchdown run in the second quarter after Addai fumbled.
Chris Hetland kicked a 22-yard field goal after Russell's first of two interceptions on consecutive possessions in the third quarter.
After the second, DeShawn Wynn scored from 1-yard out to put the Gators ahead 17-14 with 4:02 remaining in the third. Wynn finished with 93 yards on 16 carries, and Meyer named him the team's starter for good.
The Tigers, though, responded with their best drive of the game.
"We fell behind and a bunch of people in that stadium were thinking, 'Here we go again,' but it didn't happen again," Meyer said.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Florida's hook-and-ladder play on the game's final snap ended 70 yards short of the goal line.
Gameball goes to... LSU's Joseph Addai, who ran for a career-high 156 yards and scored the game-winner in the fourth quarter.
Stat of the game... 206: The Tigers held the Gators to only 206 yards of total offense.
The Fan Pick
64.5% of College Pick'em players picked LSU to win the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||2-16||5-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||2-2|
|TD||11:42||BENNIE BRAZELL 43 YD PASS FROM JAMARCUS RUSSELL (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 71 yards.
|TD||1:10||DWAYNE BOWE 27 YD PASS FROM JAMARCUS RUSSELL (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 56 yards.
|TD||8:44||KESTAHN MOORE 32 YD RUN (CHRIS HETLAND KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 32 yards.
|FG||11:31||CHRIS HETLAND 22 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 41 yards.
|TD||4:02||DESHAWN WYNN 1 YD RUN (CHRIS HETLAND KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 32 yards.
|TD||12:35||JOSEPH ADDAI 3 YD RUN (COLT DAVID KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 75 yards.