Part Three, in which we will focus almost exclusively on Florida knocking the corndogs out of the collective hands of the LSU Tigers. We're going mostly from memory, since our notes read something like this:
"RILEY FUCKING COOPER!"
"REGGIE FUCKING NELSON!!! WOOOOOO!"
--Establishing basic facts before launching into particulars and possibly seen patterns, events, and tendencies of the game: LSU lost, Florida won, and not because one team got lucky and one didn't. Florida received substantial breaks, the largest being JaMarcus Russell fumbling a quarterback sneak after a booth review overturned what appeared to be a sure Lester TD.
Smiles, everyone, smiles.
Florida hit harder, more frequently, and with greater effect than LSU did. This is the only thing separating these two teams, since both teams remain stocked to the gills with talent and blessed with savvy coaching staffs. The only thing separating the two teams on Saturday: mass and velocity multiplied.
Don't reject this as rhetorical bullshit covering a "WOO! FLORIDA!" sentiment, either; consider three tipping-points Saturday:
1. Reggie Nelson's sternum-snapper on an LSU wideout, sending the ball dovetailing into the air and into the arms of Ryan Smith for an INT.
2. The nastiness of Tebow running, which drew up LSU's safeties on both of his touchdown passes.
3. The mad-dash train accident hit Riley Cooper put on Dwayne Bowe, who had no idea where he was when he finally picked up his fumbled kickoff for a safety in the endzone.
Concrete manifestations of a football bromide, but true: Florida applied for force at crucial points. For someone raised on finessey Spurrier-ball, watching a team go bareknuckle sends a kind of traitorous thrill up the spine. This team just beats the shit out of people when it wins.
--Defensively, thie bend don't break thing has held up beautifully. Ryan Smith has 4 picks in his past two games, and in all seriousness could have had four picks in this game, including a dropped pick six for the second game in a row. He just gets so excited! The transfer rule thing may be sketchy, but the dividends have been tremendous for Florida.
--Marcus Thomas was back! And huge with 8 tackles! And probably shouldn't have played, if you wanted to make a statement about silly things like discipline and all that. All we can say to this accusation is: he learned it from Lou!
--Reggie Nelson blocks a punt and causes a crucial interception. His power waxes; even ESPN has started to pay attention to the man a reader refers to as "The Divorce Lawyer," since he will separate you from both the ball and your wife. We'll test-market the name and see how it rolls.
--Tebow is the big obvious story, but give copious credit to LSU, whose defense limited a Florida offense capable of producing 20 yard plus gouts of yardage to 280 or so in the yardage total. The best or worst thing about the Florida offense at this point: Game 7 on the horizon, and there's still work to be done in all facets of the game. Ambiguity still rules on the scoring side of the ball, though the loss of Deshawn Wynn certainly contributed to the anemic run attack. Leak is taking his Wally Pipp-ing well, though he confounded our 14th straight pick of this game as the "Chris Leak Legacy Game" yet again. Still waiting on that one.
Lundquist's call is hilarious here.
--The offensive game plan, though, was solid: short routes, screens, little digs and curls designed to slow down the LSU rush. They even did what most teams shudder to do against LSU: go deep, as they did on play-action. Leak missed a man wide open on the left sideline to throw into double coverage for the pick. The only other downfield throw came to Murphy off the one-man play-action move, a play the LSU secondary will wear shamefully around their neck for the remainder of the season.
--Jamarcus Russell looks grizzled, and he's not even thirty yet as far as we know. He had a terrible game, especially after the fumble on the one, but he's still ginormous and can throw the ball on a straight line sixty yards. He'll make a few nice down payments with a pro contract, especially if he does the contract negotiations by himself. All he'll have to do is grow a beard and stare at the lawyers until they give him what he wants.
--The phantom hands to the head call: fair play for the missed punch in the face to Leak by some jackfuck LSU defender a few minutes prior, an ugly incident otherwise marring a clean game. It happened, we saw it, and lo, it was one of the cheapest shots we'll see this year. Sideline lobbying earned Florida the foul--hail to the power of lobbying the officials!
--The most important bit of science we may deduce from the game: DO NOT MOCK-CHOMP PREMATURELY! Florida is 3-0 in games where opponents mock-chomp on camera prematurely. If you want to win, do not turn the ball over and whatever you do, WAIT UNTIL THE WHISTLE TO MOCK-CHOMP.
--Another bit of science: Brandi was right again. Never doubt the power of a Great Dane's intellect. (Insert Tycho Brahe joke here.)
--Finally, a huzzah to Justin in Baghdad, who IM'd us on Saturday with kind words. Watch your ass and take care from the States.