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Tim Tebow returns and Florida Gators' defense flexes its muscles

(Check the website for my game story.)

BATON ROUGE, La. -- We figured it would be low scoring but who expected Florida 13, Louisiana State 3? 13-3! 

Wow, five games into the season and Florida's defense has only allowed two touchdowns. What's the bigger story tonight: Tebow's return or UF's defense? Tebow is going to get all the headlines but UF's defense should be getting all the credit. Consider this: Florida had more sacks on Saturday night (five) than LSU had yards in the third quarter (four).

Led by a resurgent Brandon Spikes, UF's defense allowed just 44 yards in the second half. Spikes led the Gators with 11 tackles, including 2.5 sacks. LSU managed just one third-down conversion on nine attempts on Saturday. Whenever the Gators needed a big play on Saturday, it seemed like UF's defense delivered. At the end of the first half, it was a key interception by Joe Haden. At the end of the second half, it was the sacks.

"Just to come in and play in a hostile environment like this, I've never really played in an environment like this one at LSU," said UF linebacker Ryan Stamper, who had nine tackles. "Their crowd is a lot like our home crowd. To come in front of their home crowd says a lot about our team."

LSU offense's managed just 66 rushing yards on 30 attempts. That's 2.2 yards per carry. Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson completed 11 of 17 attempts for 96 yards and an interception.

The Gators snapped LSU's Saturday night winning streak at 32 games. Before Saturday, the last time the Tigers lost a Saturday night game at Tiger Stadium came against Alabama on Nov. 16, 2002. LSU lost 31-0. UF's defense nearly had a shutout on Saturday if not for back-to-back unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties that led to LSU's only field goal of the night.

-jo- 

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