BATON ROUGE – LSU’s offense, which is on record-setting pace, will face its stiffest test of the season on Saturday when 17th-ranked Florida rolls into Tiger Stadium for a 2:30 p.m. CT contest against the 10th-ranked Tigers.
Saturday’s game will also feature the 10-year reunion of LSU’s 2003 BCS National Championship Team, as more than 60 players from that squad including quarterback Matt Mauck, cornerback Corey Webster and wide receiver Michael Clayton will be on hand for the halftime ceremony.
The game will be televised by CBS with Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson on the call. The game will also be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network and in the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net with Jim Hawthorne, Gordy Rush and Bill Franques calling the action.
LSU, winners of five straight and 27 of its past 28 games in Tiger Stadium, is 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play following last week’s 59-26 win over Mississippi State. For the first time in school history, LSU has scored 30 or more points in its first six games and the Tigers have surpassed the 400-yard mark in all six contests, also a first for the school.
Florida, coached by former LSU defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, is 4-1 overall and 3-0 in conference. The Gators are coming off a 30-10 win over Arkansas last week in Gainesville.
|LSU At the Game programs are available on campus three hours prior to game time and online while supplies last.|
Saturday’s contest is a matchup between permanent cross-divisional rivals in the Tigers and Gators and it’s the 60th meeting between the teams with Florida holding a 31-25-3 advantage in the series. The teams have met every year since 1971.
LSU-Florida will be an intriguing matchup in that the Tigers feature an offense that is among the best in the league, while the Gators defense is allowing a league-low 12.2 points and 217 total yards per game. LSU is averaging 15 points a contest in the first quarter alone, as the Tigers have scored 90 points in the opening stanza in six games this year.
Last year, Florida won a defensive standoff, 14-6, in Gainesville. The last time the teams met in Tiger Stadium, LSU rolled to a 41-11 win on its way to a perfect 13-0 regular season. Florida hasn’t won in Tiger Stadium since a 13-3 victory in 2009 when the Gators were ranked No. 1 in the nation.
“Florida has a very talented football team,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “We'll be challenged. They have good players on both sides of the ball and Will (Muschamp) does a great job of getting his teams ready to play.
“Any time that we get these two teams matched up, I can think back into '07, and think back into times that we've faced Florida in this stadium, they've always been very competitive, a great challenge certainly to both teams. In my opinion they are much better than a team ranked No. 17 in the nation.”
Times of Interest
LSU will counter Florida’s defense with an offense that has rallied around quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Mettenberger leads the SEC in pass efficiency and he’s on pace to break every passing record in school history as he’s already thrown for 1,738 yards and 15 touchdowns.
In six games, Mettenberger has completed 107-of-157 passes with just two interceptions. Last week, he completed a career-best 25 passes and had his second straight 300-plus yard passing game, becoming just the fifth player in school history to pass for 300 yards in back-to-back games.
“I think Zach is just playing just how we need him to play at home or on the road,” Miles said. “He's the leader. He's in charge of communication, and he's doing it extremely well. He’s one of those guys on the field that just you advantages, not only with his arm, but with his mind and how he approaches the game.”
Mettenberger has had the luxury of throwing to two of the top receivers in the country in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., who have combined to catch 77 passes for 1,302 yards and 13 of LSU’s 15 touchdowns. Landry leads the Tigers with 42 catches for 616 yards and seven scores, while Beckham Jr. has hauled in 35 passes for 686 yards and six touchdowns.
Beckham Jr. is a dual threat for the Tigers as he’s also LSU’s return specialist and he leads the nation in all-purpose yards with 228.2 yards per game. Beckham Jr. is averaging 21 yards every time he touches the ball.
When the Tigers turn to the run game, sophomore Jeremy Hill has led the way with 594 yards and a league-high nine scores. Hill is averaging 118 yards rushing per game and 7.5 yards every time he touches the ball.
Defensively, LSU looked to have found its footing in the second half of the win over Mississippi State last week as the Tigers allowed only three points over the final two quarters. The LSU defense continues to rely on a young secondary as the Tigers start a pair of true freshmen cornerbacks in Tre'Davious White and Rashard Robinson along with a sophomore nickel back in Jalen Mills.
As a unit, LSU is allowing 24.7 points and 367.0 total yards (159.5 rushing, 207.5 passing) per game.
This week, the Tigers will be tasked with slowing down a Florida offense that has thrived the last two weeks under new starter Tyler Murphy, who assumed the role after the season-ending injury to Jeff Driskel. In his two starts, Murphy has completed 31-of-40 passes for 396 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception.
“He’s truly a dual-threat guy,” Miles said. “He can run it and throw with equal effectiveness and that’s what makes him so dangerous.
“We’ve had a really good week of preparation in all three phases and we are going to have to play well in all three areas of the game to have success. I like the way we have performed on offense and I think the defense continues to make strides. I’m looking forward to getting back into Tiger Stadium for what should be a great day for football.”