Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Colleges

Gators offensive line struggles against LSU Tigers

BATON ROUGE, La. — Tyler Murphy had two chances to continue a possible tying drive late in the fourth quarter. He ended up on the ground both times.

No. 17 Florida's offensive line surrendered two sacks on its final drive Saturday, sealing the Gators' fate in their 17-6 loss to No. 10 LSU.

"We've got to protect better," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "We had too many free runners at the quarterback.

"We had too many times that he had too many guys in his face. We've got to get him more time."

LSU's defense recorded five official quarterback hurries, but Murphy was under pressure for the entire game. The redshirt junior often scrambled around the backfield as Tigers defenders crashed the pocket.

"He handled it well," Muschamp said. "He bought some time with some off-rhythm plays."

Because Murphy had so little time to throw, the Gators had trouble executing plays down the field. Murphy completed only four passes for more than 10 yards. His longest throw was a 20-yard strike to freshman receiver Demarcus Robinson in the fourth quarter.

"It's definitely frustrating when you have a guy downfield that you can't get to him," Murphy said.

Florida lost 48 yards in the backfield, including 40 yards on four sacks by the LSU defense. Murphy, who gained 27 yards on the ground, finished with minus-13 net yards.

"It kills momentum," right guard Jon Halapio said. "You can't get anything done."

Even when the Gators got out of their backfield, the blockers failed to open running room. Of Florida's 36 rushing attempts, 24 went for 5 yards or fewer.

On the final drive, the Gators line collapsed.

Before LSU sacked Murphy twice to end Florida's chance to tie the score, left tackle D.J. Humphries jumped early two times. His false-start penalties pushed the Gators back 5 yards each on two third downs, setting Murphy up for long passes with less protection.

"(Humphries) apologized after the game and everything," Halapio said. "But you know, it's not all on one person. If we would've executed early on in the game, we would have never been in that situation."

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