There are games when it's really hard to come up with a succinct recap, a quick way to wrap up what happened and why. Most of those games involve Les Miles. As did LSU's weird, three-point win against Florida on Saturday. It wasn't always a thing of beauty, but it was entertaining in its own way, and it continued the trend of the SEC West beating the SEC East in head-to-head match-ups.
There was the initial unexpected outburst of points -- 21 of them in the first quarter of a game that drew some predictions of about that many points for the whole thing. About four minutes into the second quarter, Florida had a 17-7 lead. But LSU, powered in large part by ballyhooed freshman running back Leonard Fournette, reeled off 13 straight points to take a 20-17 lead into the fourth quarter.
Which is where things got weird. If you count ties, there were four lead changes in the fourth quarter. A 53-yard punt return by Andre Debose set up a short touchdown drive for Florida. LSU then drove the ball 75 yards, including a pass and penalty that netted 54 of those on a single play, to retake the lead, 27-24. Florida responded with a 73-yard reception by to set up the game-tying field goal.
LSU then went three and out. Jeff Driskel and Florida drove into LSU territory, looking for all the world like they might put up the winning points or at least get the game to overtime at home. And then Driskel threw another one of his too-frequent interceptions and a nice return set LSU up for a 50-yard field goal to win the game (that almost didn't happen because of clock-management issues by LSU -- shocking, I know -- and Florida players who tried to keep the ball on the ground longer than the officials would let them).
Even beyond the strange back-and-forth at the end, there were some notable things about the game. Leonard Fournette is beginning to look like the game-changing player we heard of in the offseason; he had 140 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, marking his first 100-yard game against a team not named New Mexico State and the first time he's run for more than 42 yards against SEC competition. If you're an LSU fan, take that as a hopeful sign for the future.
Florida did try to compensate for Driskel's well-documented problems throwing the ball -- he was 14-of-25 for 183 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in this one -- by using his legs more. Driskel ran 21 times for 71 yards, both season highs, and a touchdown. Still, it's clear that any already-slim hopes of Will Muschamp having a future in Gainesville rest on having Treon Harris helm the Florida offense.
But even those things tell you what this game largely was: a sideshow. With LSU coming into the game with two losses and Florida leaving it with the same number, there's little to no chance that either team is going to win its respective division. Had the Gators gotten a win, it was possible to see them getting through with a MacGyver-style SEC East championship and getting Will Muschamp another year or two in the Swamp. That's gone now. Likewise, there's little hope that even this win is going to allow LSU to get back into the race for the rough-and-tumble SEC West. The Tigers might have reversed the scoreboard on Saturday, but their deficit in the division looks too big to overcome.