The Anthony Richardson era was put on hold by injury in September, but born of necessity during Florida’s wild 49-42 loss at LSU on Saturday.
Richardson’s heroics off the bench could not overcome two 15-point deficits, a porous run defense or 4 interceptions, including one by Richardson with 1:59 left to seal Florida’s fate.
The 19-year-old from Gainesville, Florida, did seem to put to rest questions at quarterback for coach Dan Mullen’s squad.
Richardson replaced struggling starter Emory Jones after a pick-6 put LSU ahead 28-13. He led the Gators to four straight touchdowns, including a 33-yard completion to Jacob Copeland with 9:14 remaining tied the score at 42.
Yet, Todd Grantham’s Gators defense failed time and again to contain LSU’s rushing attack. The Tigers (4-3, 2-2 SEC) entered averaging just 83.3 yards on the ground but gashed the No. 20 Gators (4-3, 2-3) for 321 rushing yards.
Tailback Tyrion Davis-Price led the way with 287 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. A 1-yard pass from Max Johnson to Jaray Jenkins capped the game-winning drive that featured 48 rushing yards by the 6-foot-1, 223-pound Davis-Price.
Richardson finished with four touchdowns, including three passing. He started by missing his first three throws and tossing an interception. But he finished 10 of 19 for 167 yards. He also rushed for 37 yards and a 5-yard touchdown.
Jones was 12 of 19 for 161 yards and 1 touchdown, along with 2 interceptions.
UF did ended without a penalty after committing 23 during the past two games, including 15 during an Oct. 2 loss at Kentucky.
The Gators have lost six of their past eight games against Power 5 competition and three straight to LSU.