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Anthony Richardson Nearly Leads Comeback as Gators Fall to LSU, 49-42

The No. 20 Florida Gators were unable to come from behind to defeat the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge.

What began as a completely lopsided affair in favor of the LSU Tigers turned into a shootout by the end of the contest.

The No. 20 Florida Gators changed quarterbacks near the start of the second half against the LSU Tigers, following a second interception - returned for a touchdown - thrown by Gators quarterback Emory Jones.

With redshirt freshman QB Anthony Richardson in the contest, the Gators scored three times, including two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown by the redshirt freshman. The game would eventually be tied 35-35 just before the start of the fourth quarter with LSU taking the lead back shortly thereafter, up 42-35.

Richardson ended the day completing 10 out of 19 of his passes for 167 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing for 37 yards and a touchdown. Jones would finish with 12 of 19 completed passes for 161 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

The story of the day will certainly center around the team's starting quarterback for not only what amounted to the rest of today's contest, but also could be for the rest of the season. With four straight touchdown drives from the redshirt freshman, there was little question who would finish the contest out for Florida.

It will be too little too late, however, with Florida ultimately falling to the Tigers 49-42, an upset that never should have occurred.

During the first half of the contest, the Gators simply looked outmatched. Unable to get anything going offensively, Florida would quickly go down 21-6. As for the team's defense, Florida looked lost against the Tigers' run game, a rushing attack that came in as one of the worst in the country.

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The comeback attempt would begin with five seconds remaining in the first half, with Jones connecting on a 42-yard last-second toss to Justin Shorter for a score, putting the Gators within eight at 21-13 to end the half. 

On the defensive side of the football, the Gators were completely outmatched. No matter how well the offense played with Richardson as the lead QB, the defense was unable to get off the field, letting LSU run completely wild throughout the entire contest.

At one point in the game with just over five minutes remaining, LSU ran the football seven straight times with gains of 24, 18 and 13 yards as the most explosive of the carries. Ultimately, Florida's inability to stop the LSU ground game would be their undoing.

Entering the day, LSU had rushed for just 83.2 yards per game on the ground. Against the Gators, LSU rushed for 321 yards with LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price rushing for 287 yards on the day, adding three touchdowns. Davis-Price would top former LSU running back Leonard Fournette's rushing record of 284 yards, set five years ago.

With the team down 49-42 with around two minutes left in the contest, Richardson would be picked off for a second time, trying to make a play when it simply wasn't there under pressure. Richardson wasn't able to get much on the throw and that would ultimately end the day for the Florida offense.

Overall, the Gators showed a lot of fight offensively, especially once Richardson entered the contest. It was too late, though, with the Florida defense unable to stop LSU's running game. It would have taken six consecutive scoring drives by the Gators in order to win the contest, something that veteran quarterbacks are unable to make, let alone redshirt freshmen.

The Gators would fall to 4-3 on the season, and have no realistic chance at the SEC championship game, even with a victory over Georgia in two weeks. The team will likely not earn a bid in a New Year's Six bowl game, something the team has gone to for three straight years under Mullen.

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