BATON ROUGE -- For the fourth time in six outings, top-ranked LSU will face another top-25 test, as 17th-ranked Florida comes to Tiger Stadium in one of the key matchups in college football this weekend.
LSU (5-0, 2-0 SEC) already has wins over then-No. 3 Oregon (40-27), No. 25 Mississippi State (19-6) and No. 16 West Virginia (47-21). LSU currently stands as the only team in the nation with three road wins over ranked opponents to its credit.
Kickoff between the Tigers and Gators is scheduled for 2:39 p.m. from a sold-out Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on CBS with Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson on the call.
|LSU At the Game programs are available on campus three hours prior to game time and online while supplies last.|
The game will also be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network with the legendary Voice of the Tigers Jim Hawthorne calling the action along with former LSU great Doug Moreau and special teams sensation Gordy Rush. The game can be heard locally on 98.1 FM or on the Internet in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.
LSU brings a 5-0 overall mark and a 2-0 league record into the contest as the Tigers are coming off a 35-7 win over Kentucky last Saturday. LSU has won 13-straight games in Tiger Stadium dating back to a 13-3 loss to Florida in 2009. Last year, the Tigers used a last-minute drive to come-from-behind to beat The Gators, 33-29, in Gainesville.
Florida, under the direction of first-year head coach Will Muschamp, is 4-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play following last week's 38-10 loss to Alabama. Muschamp served as an assistant coach at LSU for four seasons from 2001-04.
"Florida presents a tremendous challenge for our team," LSU coach Les Miles said. "I don't put a whole lot of stock in Florida's loss to Alabama. I've watched film on Florida; they are very good in all three phases of the game. They have talented players at every position and they are well-coached. I'm looking forward to another great day for football in Tiger Stadium."
Times of Interest
Florida is expected to be without its starting quarterback John Brantley on Saturday as he left last week's game against Alabama with an ankle injury. Brantley will be replaced by true freshman Jeff Driskel.
"We are expecting Florida's best shot, no matter who is playing quarterback for them," Miles said. "I know that their freshman quarterback is a very good player who is more than capable of leading their team. We won't go into this game with any view other than having to execute and play well for 60 minutes to have success."
Saturday's game features two of the top defenses in the Southeastern Conference. LSU ranks among the national leaders in the points allowed (12.8), total yards (262.2) and rushing yards (60.4). Florida goes into the game allowing just 14.8 points, 258.6 total yards and 90.4 rushing yards a game.
LSU's defense has held opponents without a touchdown in 15 of 20 quarters this year. LSU has also forced 12 turnovers (6 fumbles, 6 interceptions), while giving up the ball just three times (2 fumbles, 1 interception).
"Creating turnovers and taking care of the football is crucial to success in any game," Miles said. "And this week it's no different. We have to take care of the football and try to continue to find ways to force turnovers. When you win the turnover battle, you put yourself in a much better position to have success."
One of the best at creating turnovers for the Tigers is sophomore cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who leads the SEC in both forced fumbles (4) and fumble recoveries (3). Mathieu also has an interception to his credit and he's scored a pair of touchdowns. Mathieu leads the Tigers with 35 tackles along with 4.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sacks.
While Mathieu is getting most of the attention on defense for the Tigers, he's surrounded by players on that side of the football. Defensive tackle Sam Montgomery earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week -on Monday after a 6-tackle, 2.0.-tackle for loss, and 1.5-sack performance in the win over Kentucky. Other defensive leaders for the Tigers include cornerback Morris Claiborne (22 tackles, 2 interceptions), safety Eric Reid (27 tackles, 1 fumble recovery), and defensive tackle Bennie Logan (19 tackles, 4.5 TFL and 2.0 sacks).
The Tiger defense will be charged with stopping two of the most explosive running backs in the SEC in Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps along with a quarterback position that could feature anything from a vertical passing attack to the wildcat offense.
Offensively, the Tigers will continue to rely on the steady play of quarterback Jarrett Lee, who has thrown for 793 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception in leading the Tigers to a 5-0 start. The Tigers are also expected to mix senior Jordan Jefferson into the offense this week as they hope to compliment Lee's passing ability with that of Jefferson's running ability.
LSU's running game features the power of Spencer Ware (323 yards, 3 TDs) along with the elusiveness of Michael Ford (322 yards, 6 TDs). Alfred Blue (148 yards, 3 TDs) gives the Tigers a third weapon in the backfield as he's coming off his best game in an LSU uniform with 72 yards and one TD in the win over Kentucky.
"We've had a good week of practice," Miles said. "The focus at practice has been very good and the players have done a good job of executing the game plan. Now it's time to take it from the practice field to the playing field."