So, Wilson bumped into him.
“We ain’t going like that,” Wilson said.
That started a pregame scuffle about 90 minutes before kickoff, one in which the majority of both teams began shoving each other.
Wilson said the scuffle was a culmination of a month’s worth of tension that surrounded this game since the original Oct. 8 meeting was postponed.
Florida was accused of “ducking” the game by both the media and LSU players when the postponement was announced. Then, this week, LSU players said the Gators were “scared” to come to Tiger Stadium to play because they were without seven starters.
“They were disrespecting us, and they disrespected us on the field,” Wilson said. “So just to send a little message that we’re not just going to take whatever y’all trying to do. Y’all can disrespect us on Twitter or whatever. But when you come in here and do it in our face, we ain’t going like that.”
With LSU looking like it was going to score on a second 10-plus-play drive in a row early in the game, UF defensive tackle Caleb Brantley halted the Tigers in their tracks.
On first-and-goal from the 7-yard line in the second quarter, Brantley punched the ball out of LSU running back Derrius Guice’s grasp. Linebacker Kylan Johnson recovered the ball.
“They tried to single block me, and I felt disrespected,” Brantley said. “[As] soon as I recognized it was a one-on-one block, I just shot past him. And then I [saw] Guice and I was just trying to wrap him up. And then I had a grip on the ball so I was just yanking on it, and it came off. That was a big play.”
One of many big plays from Brantley during UF’s win.
The defensive lineman ended the game with five total tackles (three solo) and was responsible for three of UF’s five tackles for loss.
“He didn’t let the little things bother him,” UF coach Jim McElwain said. “There’s times where he’ll get held, and he’ll have a panic attack or something. Just go back and play the next play. What he did, he grew up in this game. He went back and he played the next play, and he didn’t worry about all the stuff, all the clutter. He focused on doing his job, and I’m just proud of him. This guy’s a heck of a player and when he’s on, he’s as good as anybody in the country, and he’s proved it.”
Sophomore running back Jordan Scarlett, a former St. Thomas Aquinas standout, rushed for a game-high 108 yards on 22 carries. It was his third 100-yard rushing performance in his past five games, and Scarlett is now 94 yards away from hitting the 1,000-yard milestone for his career.
“My offensive line was able to open up the holes in the second half and giving me a lot more running room,” Scarlett said. “I was just getting downhill with it. Coach told me don’t make any second decisions, just run, cut and go.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ After allowing LSU to convert its first five third-down attempts, the Gators defense held the Tigers to a 22.2-percent conversion rate (2 for 9) for the rest of the game.
▪ Saturday’s 16-10 win was the Gators’ first road win over a SEC West opponent since 2012 against Texas A&M.
▪ Florida played 11 true freshmen on Saturday.