The No. 4 LSU Tigers (5-0, 1-0 SEC) travel to take on the No. 10 Florida Gators (4-0, 3-0 SEC) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Oct. 6. The game will be played at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time and televised on CBS.
Florida leads LSU in the all-time series, 30-25-3. In Gainesville, the Gators hold the series edge, 14-11-3. Florida is LSU's permanent cross-divisional SEC rival and the teams have met every season since 1971. Although the teams have split the last 12 meetings, the Tigers have taken the past two games, including a 33-29 victory at Florida in 2010. This meeting represents only the fifth time in series history when both teams were undefeated going into the game.
Despite weekly being labeled an "upgrade" over last season, quarterback Zach Mettenberger has not elevated the LSU passing game to new heights. The Tigers are averaging 26.2 more passing yards per game this year (203.2) vs. last year through five games (177.0), but have thrown one more interception (2) and two fewer touchdowns (6) compared to the first five games of 2011. Kenny Hilliard leads LSU in rushing (366 yards) and touchdowns (6) but will share carries as usual. The Tigers' high-impact defense has been just as important to LSU's success as the rushing game and features 20 different players who have recorded a sack, tackle for loss, interception, forced fumble or recovered fumble.
Quarterback Jeff Driskel has completed 69.6 percent of his passes for 698 yards, four touchdowns and one interception this season. Driskel is also second on the team in rushing with 148 yards and a touchdown. The workhorse of the Gators rushing attack is Mike Gillislee who has averaged 100.5 yards per game with an average of 5.8 yards per carry. Gillislee has five rushing touchdowns as well. The Gator defense will present a greater challenge than any team LSU has faced so far. Florida has only allowed 12.8 points per game and ranks in the Top 15 in opponents' third down conversion percentage (29.03).
I don't feel confident in an LSU win in the game. Mettenberger did not look good in his first career road start against Auburn and the Gators represent a step up in class. Mettenberger won't need to have a breakout game but will need to be efficient when called upon if LSU wants a chance to pull off the win.
As an LSU fan, the Florida game is always one I look forward to because of how close and memorable the series has been recently.
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Stats from LSU Sports.net and Gator Zone.com