In No. 1 Upset of the Day, LSU Beats Florida, 28-21

From Associated Press

Florida's reign as the nation's top-ranked team expired at Death Valley.

Cedric Donaldson returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown and quarterback Herb Tyler scored on an 11-yard run during a 1:33 span in the fourth quarter as No. 14 LSU shocked the Gators, 28-21, Saturday night.

"The team's probably not quite near as good as everybody thought a No. 1 team should be," Gator Coach Steve Spurrier said.

The Tigers, 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference, beat Florida (5-1, 3-1) for the first time since 1987 and avenged last year's embarrassing 56-13 loss to the Gators.

"Our defense won tonight," Donaldson said. "If their defense was good, ours was better. If their offense was good, ours was better. We had a total team effort and that's what it takes."

LSU, criticized by Coach Gerry DiNardo after last week's 7-6 win over Vanderbilt, responded with an inspired performance against Florida. The Tigers snapped the Gators' two long SEC winning streaks--25 games overall and 19 straight on the road.

"We were sick and tired of hearing that we had no chance to win this game," LSU running back Kevin Faulk said.

Florida's loss should vault No. 2 Penn State back into the top spot. The Nittany Lions, who beat No. 7 Ohio State, 31-27, Saturday, started the season No. 1 but fell to No. 2 on Sept. 21 after Florida beat then-No. 4 Tennessee.

When the game ended, fans in the capacity crowd of 80,677 stormed the field and tore down both goalposts to celebrate the Tigers' first victory over a top-ranked team. They were finally cleared from the field almost an hour after the game ended.

LSU snapped a 14-14 tie with the two quick scores early in the fourth quarter.

Donaldson picked off Doug Johnson's pass and returned it all the way to put the Tigers up 21-14 with 13:13 left before the second-largest crowd ever at Tiger Stadium, which is better known as Death Valley.

On the ensuing kickoff, Florida's Bo Carroll fumbled and Troy Twillie recovered for LSU--one of five turnovers by the Gators. Four plays later, Tyler ran 11 yards untouched for the score to make it 28-14 with 11:40 remaining.

Florida pulled within 28-21 on Fred Taylor's third touchdown of the game, a three-yard run with 6:44 left, but an interception of a Johnson pass by LSU's Raion Hill with 2:47 left clinched the victory.

Johnson completed 32 of 57 passes for 346 yards, but was intercepted four times and sacked five times.

Florida failed to get a touchdown pass, snapping its NCAA-record streak of 62 straight regular-season games with at least one score through the air.

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