It's GameDay: Football Ready for Top-10 Matchup
Sr. Assoc. Athletic Director/SID
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The LSU-Florida contest has become one of the most anticipated matchups each year in college football and tomorrow's meeting between the third-ranked Tigers and the 10th-ranked Gators will be no different as two of the nation's most successful programs since 2000 square off in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Kickoff for Saturday's matchup of unbeaten teams from opposite divisions in the Southeastern Conference is scheduled for 2:39 p.m. CT. The game will be televised nationally on 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 on the internet in the GeauxZone on LSUsports.net with Jim Hawthorne, Doug Moreau and Gordy Rush calling the action.
LSU, which is coming of a 38-22 non-conference win over Towson last week, is 5-0 overall and 1-0 in league play. The Tigers are 5-0 for the fourth straight season and LSU brings an undefeated record into the month of October for the sixth consecutive year. LSU's only conference win came on the road over Auburn by a 12-10 count.
Florida, which had an open date last week, is 4-0 for the fourth straight year. The Gators are off to a 3-0 start in conference play with wins coming over Texas A&M, Tennessee and Kentucky. The Gators are coached by former LSU defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who is in his second season in Gainesville.
LSU GameDay Info
Ticket Will Call for LSU fans opens at 1:30-4 p.m. ET near Gate 17 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
LSU will wear white jerseys and will occupy the east sideline (opposite press box).
Kickoff: 3:39 p.m. EDT
Driving Directions (Baton Rouge to Gainesville, Fla. -- 588 mi.; 9h, 38m)
"It's been a good week for us," head coach Les Miles said. "We had a good week of preparation. The focus and attitude has been great all week. We are excited about the opportunity to go on the road and play a very good Florida team in one of the great venues in college football."
The Tigers go into Saturday's game having won two straight against Florida, including a 41-11 thrashing last year in Tiger Stadium and a 33-29 comeback win in 2010 in their last trip to Gainesville. LSU is 11-14-3 all-time against Florida, but the Tigers haven't won a day game in the Swamp since a 28-17 victory in 1986.
The Tigers will be looking to get back on track following a sluggish performance last week in the win over Towson, one that saw the LSU defense allow season highs for points (22), total yards (291) and rushing yards (188).
Despite all of that, LSU still brings one of the nation's top defenses in the Florida game as the Tigers are allowing 217.8 total yards per game (4th in the nation), 134.8 passing yards per game (6th in the nation), 83 rushing yards per game (9th in the nation), and 12.6 points per game (9th in the nation).
The Tiger defense will be challenged by a Florida offense that has gotten better each week due to the player of quarterback Jeff Driskel. Driskel has completed 70 percent of his passes (55-of-79) for 698 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception.
Florida running back Mike Gillislee is second in the SEC with 100.5 yards per game to go along with five touchdowns.
"Driskel does a very nice job of running their offense," Miles said. "He makes good decisions with the football and he's manages what they are trying to do offensively. We are going to have to pressure the quarterback but also be ready to defend the run. They present multiple challenges for our defense."
The Tigers will counter Driskel and Gillislee with a defensive front that is led by All-American Sam Montgomery, who has 15 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks this year. Montgomery will be joined by Barkevious Mingo (13 tackles, 1.0 sacks), Lavar Edwards (11 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 2.5 sacks), Anthony Johnson (19 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks) and Bennie Logan (16 tackles, 2.5 TFL).
Offensively, the Tigers will continue to rely on its rushing game, one that is averaging 229.6 yards a contest. Leading the way in the ground game for LSU is sophomore Kenny Hilliard (366 yards, 6 TDs) and juniors Spencer Ware (164 yards) and Michael Ford (224 yards, 2 TDs).
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has completed 65.5 percent of his passes (78-of-119) for 1,016 yards, six touchdowns and just two interceptions. Mettenberger has lost three fumbles in LSU's last two games, which is one area of concern for the Tigers heading into the Florida game.
"I think our quarterback play is by and large very good," Miles said. "The things that he tries to do by extending the play put him in jeopardy and that's something that we are not looking for him to do. We want to get the ball out of his hands. I think his effort and energy is good for this team. He's going to continue to improve and we're behind him all the way."
Mettenberger and the Tigers will face a Florida defense that is allowing 12.8 points, 119.2 rushing yards, 185.8 passing yards and 305.0 total yards a contest.
"They have a very good defensive scheme," Miles said. "They have a very good defensive front and they are going to pressure the quarterback. We have to be ready to deal with their pressure and we have to do a good job of protecting the quarterback."