LSU went on the road and upset No. 6 Florida 37-34 on Saturday night thanks to a last-minute field goal that was made possible only because a Gators defender threw a shoe, resulting in a personal foul penalty that kept the drive alive.
The Tigers were stopped on third down late in the fourth quarter when Kole Taylor caught a pass 6 yards short of the first-down marker, forcing what would assuredly have been a punt. But cornerback Marco Wilson ripped off Taylor’s shoe and threw it down the field, drawing multiple flags from the referees.
Six plays later, Cade York hit the 57-yard, game-winning field goal with 23 seconds remaining.
Afterward, LSU coach Ed Orgeron joked with reporters, saying that he thanked one of the equipment staffers who “loosened up” the shoe so it could easily be removed.
Florida coach Dan Mullen claimed that he didn’t see the play.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I guess that’s a penalty. I have no idea what happened.”
Mullen didn’t lay the blame at Wilson’s feet or the defense as a whole, even though it gave up 418 total yards.
Instead, he pointed to the offense’s turnovers and its inability to score in the red zone as factors in the loss.
“It’s not a very complicated deal,” Mullen said. “… I thought our guys played hard. Give [LSU] credit. They seemed to make the plays they needed to make to win, and we kind of made every play you needed to make to lose.”
Mullen was asked about his team’s playoff résumé moving forward with two losses and a matchup with the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC championship game next weekend.
“I don’t have a vote on that. I’m not in the room,” he said. “I know we’ve played 10 games. So I guess the best thing to do would have been to play less games because you seem to get rewarded for not playing this year in college football.”
Mullen credited his players for going out every week and competing even when they’ve been short-handed.
That was the case against LSU, as Florida was without star tight end Kyle Pitts, who wasn’t able to practice all week.
LSU, however, was without its leading pass-catcher, Terrace Marshall Jr., and its starting tight end, Arik Gilbert, as both players opted out in recent weeks. Star cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. was unable to play because of an injury.
“I’ve got to give credit to the players,” Orgeron said. “They got the job done tonight.”