Debose torches LSU

After spurning LSU in the recruiting process, Florida’s sixth-year senior Andre Debose found ways to continue giving the Tigers problems on Saturday.

Florida started the game with the football but the drive ended on a punt. LSU’s drive did the same, but they made the mistake of giving Andre Debose a chance for a return. He caught it, allowed his blocking to set up and tried to get the edge. Debose caught the kick near the Florida sideline, but his blocking was set up well to let him have a chance to get to the LSU sideline.

Once Debose got there, a few cuts were all that stood between him and the end zone for his first career punt return. It’s the fifth total special teams return in Debose’s career, giving him the third most in Southeastern Conference history.

“Andre Debose was fantastic tonight returning the ball,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. We did a nice job making a difference there. He did a great job in the return game. There’s no question he’s an electric guy that can change the field position for us very quickly.”

For Debose, it was a chance to contribute to his team. That hasn’t always been the case in Debose’s career, but he even helped out the Florida offense on Saturday against LSU. The senior took a jet sweep 35 yards in the first half to generate excitement with an offense that needed it.

That could be a bigger part of the plan going forward.

“He’s an electric guy with the ball in his hands and we need to get him more opportunities,” Muschamp said.

With Florida trailing by three points in the fourth quarter, the offense was set to the get the ball back with a chance to score. Debose made that a lot easier. The senior put up a 53-yard punt return to start the drive at the LSU nine-yard line. The drive ended in a nine-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Driskel to Demarcus Robinson, giving Florida a 24-20 lead.

The back-and-forth game produced a great atmosphere and a thrilling game for players on both sides.

“It was challenging,” Debose said. “Emotions were going up and down, the score was going back and forth. It was definitely an emotional wreck, but this is what you come to Florida for -- these type of games.”

The Gators now have to move on and prepare for next week’s game against SEC East opponent Missouri, which lost to Georgia on Saturday. The senior doesn’t think the team will lose any of its focus.

“We’ll be OK,” Debose said. “This team is a well-knit team. We’re as close as they come. This won’t bother us much. We’re anxious to get back to work. We’ll look forward. We fought our hearts out and left it all on the line, and that’s all we can ask for.”

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