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Florida stops No. 16 LSU, 16-10, clinches SEC East

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Florida stops No. 16 LSU, 16-10, clinches SEC East

It was the Sugar Bowl that LSU (6-4, 4-3) was craving.

LSU claimed that the Gators were running scared after moving slowly as Hurricane Matthew approached Florida's peninsula, eventually forcing the cancellation of the scheduled SEC game on October 8 in Gainesville.

Florida shocked LSU, 16-10, Saturday in Baton Rouge, earning the Gators the SEC East title. Now that's out. The status of LSU interim head coach Ed Orgeron, who largely had the Tigers focused and well-prepared after the firing of Les Miles, is tenuous at best. But they beat SC last week, and they got the stop at the goal line they needed to go back to Atlanta, where they'll face a monumental challenge against the Crimson Tide (after a nonconfence game with Florida State next week). The play that probably set the victory in motion was provided by the offense - a 98-yard touchdown strike from Austin Appleby to true freshman wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland that gave the Gators a 10-7 lead midway through the third quarter.

They had a roster that was predicted in preseason to win the SEC East, but it was not to be. If he went 7-1 with a loss to Alabama, maybe.

LSU (6-4, 4-3 SEC) amassed 423 yards of total offense but was 2-of-5 in the red zone including a fourth-and-goal fumble by running back Derrius Guice, who was stretching the ball toward the goal line as time expired.

"We said that it's us against the world", Appleby said.

"We got burned on that a couple times earlier. Obviously hindsight is 20-20, though". Scarlett ran hard against a good LSU defense and finished the game with 108 yards on 22 carries. One play would have led to a touchdown, the other to LSU having a first down just outside of field goal range with over a minute to play before halftime. Guice accounted for 50 yards on the drive, with 29 coming on a well-executed screen pass.

"It was the turning point of the game", Orgeron said. His performance put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the second season in a row (he is at 1,058), and he also is just 28 yards away from becoming Vandy's leading career rusher. "That's what we've got to do".

Florida stops No. 16 LSU, 16-10, clinches SEC East
Florida stops No. 16 LSU, 16-10, clinches SEC East

The story of the game was LSU's inability to capitalize in big moments.

Etling came out firing in the second half. The field goal never got off because holder Josh Growden, the LSU punter, fumbled the snap and tried a desperation pass into the end zone that fell incomplete. Because I really felt we're a better team. "Unfortunately we just had big mistakes near the goal line", Etling said of LSU's two miscues inside the 10-yard line, "and that's what cost us".

Fournette entered the game in the second quarter and didn't make it to the fourth, just like last week.

On the ensuing kickoff, LSU's Donte Jackson ran into his own player and lost control of the football. "He got beat one-on-one".

Guice needed two runs to advance to the 1, but fullback J.D. Moore was stopped for no gain on third down and Guice fumbled attempting to stretch the ball to the goal line as time expired.

LSU: The Tigers' two turnovers and botched field goal turned what could have been a fairly comfortable victory into a losing struggle.

Brantley played a key role in the outcome. Fisher is a top-five FBS coach with a national championship. We're independent guys. We don't like to depend on anybody to win or lose to decide our fate.

"I'm happy for our Gator fans who don't think we're very good, but all we do is end up back in Atlanta", McElwain said.

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