Originally created 10/12/03

Florida tops No. 6 LSU



BATON ROUGE, La. -- Florida quarterback Chris Leak shrugged off six sacks, the Tiger Stadium noise and a pressing defense to lead the Gators to a 19-7 victory over No. 6 LSU on Saturday.

Coming off its second loss in the last three games, Florida (4-3, 2-2 Southeastern Conference), made it look easy against the Tigers (5-1, 2-1).

Leak, a freshman making his third start, was 18-of-30 for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Florida outgained LSU 310 yards to 287.

The victory came after a tough week for the Gators, who fell out of the Top 25 after last week's 20-17 loss to Mississippi.

The Tigers, off to their best start since 1973, were off last week, and coach Nick Saban had worried about his team's ability to refocus. He was right.

The LSU offense, No. 1 overall in the SEC going into the game, was inept. On 12 possessions, LSU punted eight times and had two interceptions, a fumble, and failed to pick up a first down on fourth-and-2.

Neither team had a running game. Florida gained 81 yards on 40 carries. LSU had 56 yards on 24 carries.

LSU had 13 penalties for 99 yards.

LSU's only touchdown came when Skyler Green returned the first punt of the game 80 yards for a touchdown. It was the third punt Green returned in his career, two of them have gone for touchdowns.

Matt Mauck, who was 10-1 as a starter, completed 19 of 33 for 231 yards. He was sacked three times. It was the first time in 10 games Mauck did not throw a touchdown pass.

Leak struggled early with the noise in a packed Tiger Stadium, frequently walking up and down his offensive line to change plays in the din. But he shook off the pressure to drive the Gators 80 yards for their first touchdown. With LSU blitzing, Leak found Ran Carthon all alone in the middle for a 22-yard touchdown strike to tie the score at 7-7.

Florida cornerback Keiwan Ratliff's interception set up a 29-yard field goal by Matt Leach that put the Gators up 10-7 with 3:17 left in the first quarter.

Leak hit Carlos Perez with a 47-yard pass that took Florida to the LSU 1, but a fumble by DeShawn Wynn was picked up by LSU linebacker Adrian Mayes to prevent a touchdown.

On the next Florida possession, Leach hit the longest field goal of his career, a 50-yarder, putting the Gators ahead 13-7 at halftime.

In the third quarter Leak hit Ciatrick Fason, who had seven catches for 92 yards, with a 35-yard touchdown pass. The 2-point conversion failed but Florida took a 19-7 lead into the fourth quarter.