LSU uses WRs as RBs in 'Jet Sweep' of Florida

Derrius Guice (5) runs with the ball as Florida Gators defensive lineman Jachai Polite (99) defends during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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GAINESVILLE, Florida - LSU's so called "jet sweep" won the game for the Tigers, 17-16, at Florida Saturday, according to Florida head coach/offensive coordinator Jim McElwain.

The Tigers (4-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) under new offensive coordinator Matt Canada skillfully used a myriad of motions and shifts and fake hand-offs and featured six ball carriers in amassing 216 rushing yards on 48 carries.

Three wide receivers - Russell Gage, D.J. Chark and Derrick Dillon - carried 10 times for 105 yards as basically "jet sweep" is just a fancy, new name for end around, or receiver around. One difference is the ball is often quickly handed to a receiver in motion just as he gets to the quarterback. Hence, the use of "jet" because of the speed of the hand-off. It is nothing new. Former LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron used the "jet sweep" quite a bit, but more as a wrinkle.

But it's Canada's bread and butter along with motions and shifts. He has the "jet sweep" and variations of it routinely involved in virtually all of his offense, and that is precisely what sells fakes to an in-motion receiver as well as hand-offs to them followed by fakes to a back. That is what happened on Gage's 30-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. Many on Florida's defense did not realize he had the ball until it was far too late.

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"Their offense changed. They had a lot of shifts, drop motion. You've got to stay in your gaps, stay in your fits," Florida safety Chauncey Gardner said.

"We got beat in the shifts and motions," McElwain said.

"Based on the alignment, it looked like they had a little piece of a check at the line," McElwain said. "They did a good job. You know, that's their staple, and we didn't stop it."

The receiver runners, if you will, added to LSU's typical repertoire of tailbacks as Derrius Guice gained 50 yards on 17 carries with Darrel Williams adding 35 on 12 rushes. And there were some smart and tough scrambles by quarterback Danny Etling for 26 yards on nine rushes around two sacks.

Add it up, and as many as six LSU rushers gained 20 yards or more in a game for the first time against a Southeastern Conference opponent since the 2011 season in a 52-3 win at Ole Miss. But LSU used six rushers in that game because it was a blowout. There was no strategy to it.

"Our coaching staff did a tremendous job coming up with an outstanding game plan," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said.

Canada's misdirection wisely served as a finesse attack, successfully hiding a battered offensive line that has not been great when healthy. Starting left tackle K.J. Malone and right tackle Toby Weathersby left the game with injuries and did not return. True freshmen Saahdiq Charles and Austin Deculus replaced them. And amazingly, LSU's offensive line still won the physical battle, a part of LSU's game criticized last week and called soft in the media.

"We didn't fill the alley, and we didn't hold point," said McElwain, who didn't buy the "soft" tag after the game. "Their players took it to us pretty good."

It was not all the "jet sweep." LSU took a 17-3 lead in the third quarter on a 75-yard drive in nine plays that featured six running plays by Guice and a 47-yard completion by Etling to Chark.

And after that, the jet sweep resembled more of a crop duster.

LSU's next four possessions went like this - nine yards in three plays with a punt midway through the third quarter, 27 yards in six plays with a first down by way of Florida penalty and a punt, four yards in three plays and a punt, 25 yards in seven plays and a punt.

The offense failed four times to extend a one-point lead and couldn't do it. So, it was LSU's defense won this game. It held Florida's offense to virtually nothing on its three possessions in the fourth quarter - nine yards in four plays and a punt, negative six yards in three plays and a punt and 21 yards in six plays and a failed fourth down.

Somewhere out there former Florida coach Steve "Air" Spurrier was laughing at this game.

"My hats off to them," McElwain said of LSU's defense, which limited quarterback Feleipe Franks to 108 yards passing and sacked him five times. "They took some stuff away."

LSU-AUBURN TV: LSU's home game against No. 11 Auburn (5-1, 3-0 SEC) was picked up by CBS on Sunday morning and will kick off at 2:30 p.m. in Tiger Stadium.

UNRANKED LSU HISTORY: The Tigers' 17-16 win at Florida Saturday marked the first time that an unranked LSU beat a ranked opponent on the road since 1993 when the Tigers defeated No. 5 Alabama, 17-13. 

NOTES: LSU's five sacks gives it 20 for the season. Only two other LSU teams have had more sacks than that six games into a season this century. The 2005 SEC West champions had 22 at this point, and the 2003 national champions had 21. ... LSU received votes for the USA Today and Associated Press polls on Sunday, but did not get in. ... Florida dropped out of both polls.