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Not Quite a Shoe-In, Gators Playoff Hopes Crushed in 37-34 Loss to LSU

The No. 6 Florida Gators were unable to put together a comeback to defeat the LSU Tigers, gaining second loss of the season.

By a shoe!

In what appeared to be Groundhog's Day for the No. 6 Florida Gators (8-2), the team was unable to overcome this one, struggling far too often against the LSU Tigers (4-5), losing just their second game of the season, 37-34.

Tonight marked the only time this season that the Gators trailed at halftime, down 24-17 against the Tigers. Its offense, while producing yards, was unable to finish throwing two interceptions (including one pick-six) and fumbling the football once. Ultimately, the Gators simply couldn't get out of their own way offensively and defensively.  

Although the Florida defense was able to force LSU to punt the football four times in the first half, two touchdowns allowed defensively ultimately was enough to put the Tigers on top, including an early 75-yard drive, and a busted-coverage touchdown allowed with less than 50 seconds remaining in the first half.

In the second half, the Gators offense appeared to turn it around as they have done over the past few weeks, allowing Gators quarterback Kyle Trask to break the school record for the most touchdowns thrown in a single season with 40, helping the offense take a 31-27 lead in the third quarter.

Trask would also run for another touchdown, his second of the day, in the third quarter.

Ultimately, Florida would leave its offensive prowess in the third quarter, unable to mount a comeback in the fourth to win the game.

The fifth lead change of the game would come early in the fourth quarter when LSU quarterback Max Johnson, the son of former NFL quarterback Brad Johnson, threw his third touchdown of the day to LSU's Tre Bradford.

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Johnson would end the game by completing 21 out of 36 of his passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns on the day.

The Tigers would hold a 34-31 lead for much of the fourth quarter before the Florida offense netted a field goal with just under three minutes remaining to tie the game at 34-all.

With four possessions in the fourth quarter, the Gators' offense would punt the football three times, while scoring one field goal. In its three drives prior to the game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter, the Gators netted just eight yards. It was the worst fourth-quarter performance by the Florida offense this season.

With just under two minutes, and the game essentially on the line, the Florida defense would mount what appeared at first glance to be an impressive three-and-out, potentially giving the Gators' offense the ball back with an opportunity to win the game.

However, after the team's stop on third down, defensive back Marco Wilson would throw an LSU player's shoe 20 yards downfield, giving the LSU offense new life and the Gators' offense no hope of mounting a comeback in regulation.

Perhaps one of the worst penalties in Florida history.

With new life due to a shoe, the LSU offense would drive down the field to the Florida 40-yard-line, hitting a 57-yard field goal with just 23 seconds remaining in the game.

Florida was able to get the ball in field goal range for kicker Evan McPherson but was unable to convert the 50-yarder, ultimately ending the game.

The Gators would go on to lose the game, and more than likely, their playoff hopes, 37-34 in one of the most bizarre finishes to a game thus far this season.