VETTEL: Gators Gave Away Great Chance

With a shot at beating the No. 1 team in the nation during the regular season for the first time in school history, the Florida Gators just couldn't get it done. The Gators turned it over twice in the second half, LSU missed two field goals. Turnovers are worse.

The LSU Tigers went for it on fourth down five times and got the needed yardage each and every time. The most crucial of all was the final fourth down try when Jacob Hester got a very favorable spot to get the first down by almost a foot. LSU took advantage to pound it into the end zone and claim the No. 1 ranking for themselves.

Turnovers Were the Difference

The Gators seemed to be in great shape late in the third quarter. Taking over at their 20 yard line, Florida used Kestahn Moore three times and a pass to Cornelius Ingram to put the Gators at the 49 yard line in the closing seconds of the third period. But Moore then coughed it up at midfield ending a Gator drive, giving LSU great field position and just as importantly saved a bunch of time on the clock. That was time LSU really needed in the closing stages of the contest.

LSU couldn't capitalize when Colt David missed a field goal, but Florida gave it right back two plays later when Tebow fired a bullet off the back of Cornelius Ingram's helmet that was intercepted and it was all LSU after that.

Time out Strategy Questionable

The Gators will replay a great many things about this contest, not the least of which is how they utilized, or failed to utilize their time outs. I thought the Gators should have risked one to challenge the spot on the Hector run. If he gets a favorable ruling, the game is over. If not, the clock is stopped, so that if LSU does go in to score there is more time to mount a rally.

After LSU got the first down, the Gators elected not to use a time out until just before the third down touchdown run. Had the Gators called time right after the preceding penalty, there would have been an additional 25 seconds or so left on the clock. That was obviously huge when Tebow ran the ball to the LSU 45 with 12 seconds left. If there were 37 seconds on the clock Florida has many more ways to try and get the ball into the end zone.

Finally, Tim Tebow needs to learn that you can't throw short of the chains in the middle of the field in a two minute drill. When he hit Louis Murphy with a seven yard pass the Gators should have called time immediately. Instead they tried to hurry up and used more than a third of their 69 seconds on one play. Florida ended up using two of its time outs with the clock stopped anyway. That's not good clock management.

But with the mistakes and everything else, you have to acknowledge that this was the second best game the Gators have played this year. LSU is a little better than Florida and the Tigers, playing at home escaped with a four point win. But the bottom line is this: if the Gators keep playing like they did Saturday night, they will not lose again.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

Fightin Gators Top Stories