GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mike Gillislee ran for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns, bringing No. 10 Florida to life in the second half as the Gators beat fourth-ranked LSU 14-6 Saturday.
Led by Gillislee and a dominant defense, Florida's grind-it-out victory provided a signature win for coach Will Muschamp in his second season in Gainesville. It was the program's first win against a ranked team since beating rival Georgia in 2010.
Linebacker Jon Bostic, safety Matt Elam and defensive end Lerentee McCray provided the big plays on defense. Gillislee once again carried the load on offense.
Together, they wore down the Tigers (5-1, 1-1) in the second half — no surprise since the Gators (5-0, 4-0) have been doing that all season. Florida, which trailed 6-0 at halftime, also came from behind to beat Texas A&M and Tennessee on the road last month.
This one was even more impressive.
The Gators harassed quarterback Zach Mettenberger, pretty much shut down running backs Spencer Ware, Kenny Hilliard and Michael Ford, and completely wore down LSU's vaunted defense.
Mettenberger completed 11 of 25 passes for 161 yards, with an interception.
Florida certainly will credit new strength coach Jeff Dillman and the team's continually improving offensive line for the victory. Gillislee deserves props, too.
It was his third 100-yard game of the season, and it came against one of the league's most feared fronts. Highly touted defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery were neutralized much of the day.
Linebacker Kevin Minter had a career day, finishing with 16 tackles.
Minter had two of LSU's five sacks in the first half, helping the Tigers hold Florida to 47 yards at the break.
But the Gators looked completely different after intermission. They went to a heavy package featuring two extra offensive linemen to run the ball — and it worked to perfection.
Florida scored on consecutive drives by running on 17 of 18 plays. Gillislee ended both of them with 12-yard touchdown runs, one in the third quarter and another early in the fourth.
Maybe the play of the game came between those game-changing scores. Elam stripped Odell Beckham Jr. following a 56-yard reception on third down.
Initally, the closest official ruled Beckham was down when the ball came out. Replays, though, clearly showed the ball coming out before his knee hit the ground. The play was reversed, and Florida seized the momentum.
It was a completed turnaround from the first 30 minutes, when Florida's offense fizzled.
Nonetheless, the Gators probably should have scored in the first half — and pitched a shutout — had it not been for two seemingly silly plays.
Bostic, who was a key cog in stuffing LSU's run, was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the game's opening drive. Instead of facing third-and-17, LSU got 15 yards and an automatic first down. It set up
Drew Alleman's 31-yard field goal.
Alleman added a 21-yarder just before halftime as LSU capitalized on Jeff Driskel's fumble. Driskel, who completed 8 of 12 passes for 61 yards, held the ball too long and then fumbled while trying to scramble away from Bennie Logan. Guard James Wilson had a shot at the loose ball but whiffed.
Mingo eventually came up with it, setting LSU's offense up at the 7-yard line.
Florida's defense made a stand, though, and forced the chip shot.