FLORIDA (4-1, 2-1 SEC) vs. LSU (5-0, 2-0)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8 – 3:30PM ET
TIGER STADIUM - BATON ROUGE, LA
The Florida Gators (4-1, 2-1 SEC) hit the road for the second time this season, traveling to Baton Rouge, La., to face the No. 1-ranked LSU Tigers (5-0, 2-0 SEC). The Gators are coming off their first loss of the season, a 38-10 defeat by No. 3 Alabama. The Tigers remained unbeaten in 2011 with a 35-7 victory over Kentucky last Saturday.
Florida will be facing a top-three ranked opponent for the second week in a row. Kentucky was the last school in the nation to face top-three ranked teams in consecutive weeks during the regular season in 2009, according to AP Poll records. No. 1 Florida defeated Kentucky 41-7 (9/25/09) and No. 3 Alabama defeated the Wildcats 38-20 (10/2/09).
The Gators faced two top-three ranked opponents in consecutive games, defeating No. 1 Alabama, 31-20, in the 2008 SEC Championship Game in Atlanta and beating No. 2 Oklahoma, 24-14, in the 2009 BCS National Championship in Miami.
Florida has had a history of success against LSU, leading the overall series, 30-24-3. UF also leads the series when playing in Baton Rouge, holding a 16-13 edge on the Tigers’ home field. The last time the Gators traveled to LSU was in 2009. In front of a Tiger Stadium record-crowd of 93,129, No. 1 Florida pulled out a 13-3 victory over No. 4 LSU. The Tigers have not lost a home game since, winning 13-straight games.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp is very familiar with Tiger Stadium, having coached in 29 games there as an assistant coach. In four years as an assistant coach at LSU, Muschamp compiled a 24-4 record in Baton Rouge. He was 0-1 at Tiger Stadium in his lone trip as the defensive coordinator at Auburn. In two games against LSU as the defensive coordinator at Auburn, Muschamp went 1-1. In 2006, No. 3 Auburn defeated No. 6 LSU, 7-3, in Auburn and limited them to just 42 rushing yards on the day. No. 5 LSU beat No. 18 Auburn, 30-24, in Baton Rouge in 2007.
Both teams rank in the top-10 nationally in total defense. UF is tied for 7th among FBS teams in total defense, allowing 258.6 yards per game. Florida ranks 12th against the pass (168.2) and 18th against the run (90.4). The LSU defense ranks 9th in the nation in total defense (262.20), 3rd in the country in rushing defense (60.40) and 38th against the pass (201.8). Offensively, Florida ranks second in the SEC in rushing (210.2) and is tied for fourth in total offense (413.8). LSU is seventh in the conference in rushing (172.6) and ranks ninth in total offense (349.6). The Tigers average 38.0 points per game and the Gators have scored 34.2 points per contest.
Last Five Meetings:
2010 | No. 12 LSU 33, No. 14 Florida 29 (Gainesville) In a back-and-forth game that came down to the wire, LSU scored the winning TD with six seconds left after converting a fake FG with 35 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
2009 | No. 1 Florida 13, No. 4 LSU 3 (Baton Rouge) In front of a record crowd of 93,129 at Tiger Stadium, the No. 1 Gators took down No. 4 LSU, 13-3, snapping the Tigers’ Saturday night 32-game winning streak. UF held the hosts to just 162 yards of total offense.
2008 | No. 12 Florida 51, No. 3 LSU 21 (Gainesville) The Gators knocked off the defending national champions behind a stellar defense and 475 yards of offense, including 265 yards rushing. Percy Harvin had 112 yards receiving and two TD, Jeff Demps ran for 129 yards and one TD and Brandon Spikes had the first two INT of his career, highlighted by a 52-yard TD return.
2007 | No. 1 LSU 28, No. 9 Florida 24 (Baton Rouge) LSU’s Jacob Hester scored on a two-yard TD run with 1:09 remaining to lift the Tigers to the victory. The hosts trailed, 24-14, entering the fourth quarter.
2006 | No. 5 Florida 23, No. 9 LSU 10 (Gainesville) Tim Tebow threw the first two touchdown passes of his career and the UF defense collected three interceptions, two by cornerback Ryan Smith, recovered two fumbles and tallied a safety. It was the Gators’ 18th-straight Homecoming victory.
From The Last Game:
• Senior quarterback John Brantley opened up the game by hooking up with sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose for a one-play scoring drive on a 65-yard long receiving touchdown, Debose’s first receiving TD of his career – marking a career-long and also Debose’s sixth reception of the season
• Debose’s 65-yard touchdown reception marked the longest play given up by the Tide all season, rushing or passing
• Freshman quarterback Jeff Driskel ran for a 31-yard gain at the end of the third quarter, marking the longest rush Alabama has given up all season (previous was 15 yards at Penn State)
• Debose tallied 90 yards receiving, all in the first half, including two 20+ yard plays (65- and 25-yard receptions)
• Florida scored on its first drive for the fourth time in its first five games of the season
• Junior kicker Caleb Sturgis hit a 21-yard field goal in the first quarter for his 14th-straight field goal. Sturgis is now 12-for-13 in field goals and 19-19 in PAT on the season. Sturgis’ 52-yard miss at the end of the first half was his first miss since USF on Sept. 11, 2010
• UF’s 10 points in the first quarter marked the most Alabama has allowed in the first quarter of any game since Oct. 9, 2010, versus South Carolina (14)
• Florida has scored points in 16 of 20 quarters this season, including a TD in 14 of 20 quarters
• The Gators scored points on 17-straight red zone trips (9 TD, 8 FG), with the streak ending on the final drive of the first half
• Entering the game, Alabama had allowed a nation’s-best 44 percent completion percentage. Florida completed 70.6 percent of its passes (12-of-17) in the first half and 59 percent on the game (13-of-22)
• Until Sturgis’ miss in the second quarter, Florida had made 17-straight field goals dating back to last season, the second-longest streak in school history (longest streak is 28-straight field goals from 1984-85)
• Brantley had a 176.6 passer rating, the highest of his career as a starter
• Senior wide receiver Deonte Thompson caught a season-long 30-yd reception from John Brantley
• Sophomore tight end Jordan Reed tallied a career-high five receptions for 31 yards receiving, also a new career high (24 vs. Tennessee in 2010)
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