Murphy’s Law strikes again.
Beleaguered quarterback Jeff Driskel appeared poised to rally Florida to a nail-biting win over LSU, only to see a potential game-winning touchdown dropped, and then later, a ball tipped for an interception to setup the Tigers’ winning score.
Colby Delahoussaye nailed a 50-yard field goal with just three seconds left in the fourth quarter, sending LSU to a controversial 30-27 win over UF and increasing the temperature on Florida coach Will Muschamp’s already scorching hot seat.
With 26 seconds remaining, Driskel forced a throw over the middle to Latroy Pittman, who tipped the ball to LSU defensive back Rasco Jefferson.
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Pittman was seriously injured on the play and was carted off the field. Although the wideout was completely immobilized by medical personnel, he gave the crowd a thumbs up with his right arm as he left the field.
LSU ran the ball on first down, but a scrum at the end of the play forced the officials to put seven seconds back on the clock. With time remaining, Delahoussaye drilled the long kick.
The Gators held the game’s momentum late in the quarter, pinning LSU deep in its own territory and facing third-and-25. But Florida blew a coverage, and Anthony Jennings found Travin Duval for 41 yards up the sideline.
Florida struggled to tackle LSU freshman tailback Leonard Fournette, who ran wild, displaying his special blend of size, speed and video-game moves. The 6-1, 230-pound stud powered for a career-high 140 yards on 27 carries and two scores.
Fournette ran over, past and through UF’s defense, injuring All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III on a bruising run in the second quarter. Florida’s sophomore standout did not return.
Driskel rumbled for a first down early in the game and delivered a fiery, emotional reaction historically reserved for Tim Tebow. Otherwise, it was another forgettable night for the third-year starter.
Driskel turned the ball over three times, negating many of his finer moments — a beautiful 11-yard touchdown to Demarcus Robinson — during Florida’s comeback.
LSU went up 27-24 on a splendid 11-yard, one-handed touchdown reception by Duval.
The Tigers then dared Driskel to beat them deep. And he did.
Finally. But Florida wasted the perfect 73-yard pass, stalling on the 3-yard-line and settling for the tying field goal.
Tight end Tevin Westbrook dropped an easy go-ahead score with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter.
With starting tailback Matt Jones hobbled, Florida tried to run the offense through Driskel’s legs, without a ton of success. Florida’s 6-4, 230-pound quarterback bruised his way for 71 yards on 21 carries.
For the first time since 2010, Andre Debose flashed his amateur Percy Harvin comparisons, contributing on three Florida touchdowns.
The sixth-year senior sparked a frenzied crowd from the get-go, igniting The Swamp with a 62-yard punt return touchdown early in the first quarter. It was Debose’s fifth touchdown return of his career, setting a school record. Later, he added a 53-yard return to setup a score late in the fourth quarter. He also rushed for 35 yards on a jet sweep.
Despite its usual shakiness, Florida didn’t play like a team distracted by the turmoil from the Treon Harris fallout.
On Friday, Harris’ accuser withdrew her sexual assault complaint, and the university quickly reinstated Florida’s freshman quarterback.
Harris wasn’t on the sideline Saturday night, with The Associated Press reporting Florida didn’t want the freshman to be the game’s storyline and the constant focus of TV cameras.