BATON ROUGE — LSU sophomore quarterback Brandon Harris, a former Parkway standout, has heard the critics of the Tigers’ passing game loud and clear.
His response: Let them keep talking and writing.
“It’s nothing but motivation to me, and I can’t stand it,” said Harris after the Tigers’ 28-21 SEC victory over Florida on Saturday night at Tiger Stadium. “I play with a chip on my shoulder every single week. I say this real humbly. This team knows how talented we are passing the ball. Everybody knows what I can do throwing the football.”
On the second touchdown pass, Harris evaded the rush, stiff-armed one Gator and flung the ball 50 yards in the air. Dupre caught it at the 5 with his back to the end zone, turned around and scored.
“They did a great job of covering him (Dupre) up,” Harris said. “I got outside the pocket and Malachi knows to just keep running. Wherever he is on the field, I will be able to reach him. He did a hell of a job. He did a really, really good job of mirroring me. He made a great play. That took a lot.”
Harris also rushed for 70 yards.
LSU led 28-14 at the half but Florida came back it tie it.
While LSU running back Leonard Fournette carried a career-high 31 times for 180 yards, it was a 16-yard catch-and-run by placekicker Trent Domingue that foiled Florida’s rally.
Domingue was the recipient of a lateral pass from holder Brad Kragthorpe on a fourth-and-13 fake field goal with 10:40 remaining in the game that provided the final margin and pushed the fifth-ranked LSU to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in SEC play.
The sixth win made LSU bowl-eligible for the 16th-straight season, though the Tigers have more lofty goals as the only remaining undefeated SEC team.
Florida (6-1, 4-1 SEC) took an early 7-0 lead following a fumbled punt in the LSU red zone before the Tigers scored three unanswered touchdowns – two by Fournette and a perfect pass and catch from Harris to Dupre. The Gators scored two third-quarter touchdowns including a 72-yard punt return to knot the game at 28-28 before Les Miles dug into the bag of special teams tricks.
Led by defensive end Lewis Neal’s 10-tackle, three-sack, three-hurry effort, LSU’s defense kept the Gators in check for most of the evening. Linebacker Deion Jones also had 10 tackles with 2.5 behind the line, as the Tigers managed five sacks and nine tackles for loss with five passes broken up.
The Tigers ran 41 times for 221 net yards against a Florida defense that entered the game ranked 12th in the nation in rushing yards allowed. Harris wasn’t sacked. LSU had 423 yards of total offense, was 7-of-14 on third down and scored on all four of its redzone trips.
Florida managed 326 yards of total offense, with 157 coming on four long throws by quarterback Treon Harris. The sophomore signal called for the Gators was 17-of-32 passing for 271 yards and two touchdowns. He was Florida’s second-leading rusher with 20 net yards, as Kelvin Taylor led the way with 25 yards.
Florida rushed 31 times for 55 yards.
— LSU Sports Information (Featured image of Brandon Harris courtesy of LSU Sports Information/Photo by Chris Parent)