The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Florida Football Friday: Florida Travels to LSU for Second Top-10 Contest in as Many Weeks

Florida Football Friday: Florida Travels to LSU for Second Top-10 Contest in as Many Weeks

Can the Gators overtake the Tigers?

Florida made a statement with a 24-13 home victory over the Auburn Tigers last week. On Saturday, the Gators will look to tame another group of Tigers.

Seventh-ranked Florida will make its way to Baton Rouge to take on No. 5 LSU on Saturday night. Both teams come in undefeated and looking to put themselves in position for a real shot at the College Football Playoff.

Since starting quarterback Feleipe Franks went down, Florida has arguably been better with Kyle Trask under center. The Gators aren’t great up front, but have a deep corps of talented skill players.

Florida has five different players with at least 199 yards receiving, led by Freddie Swain’s 280 and three touchdowns. Tight end Kyle Pitts also has three touchdown catches and 254 yards on a team-high 25 receptions. Running back Lamical Perine broke out of an early-season rut last week with 130 yards on 14 carries, capped by an 88-yard touchdown run late to put the contest away.

The Gators will try to put up points against an LSU defense that ranks in the top 20 nationally, but has allowed 38 points on two occasions this season. Auburn’s talented defensive tackles wrecked havoc against Florida last week and it will see another good one in LSU’s Rashard Lawrence.

Linebacker Jacob Phillips leads the Tigers with 40 total tackles and a forced fumble this season, but LSU may be most talented in the secondary. Grant Delpit and Kristian Fulton headline the secondary for LSU while Derek Stingley Jr. leads the team with two interceptions.

Florida has a talented secondary of its own, headlined by cornerback C.J. Henderson. Making the most noise this season however, has been safety Shawn Davis. Davis leads the Gators with three interceptions, including a 1-handed grab last week against Auburn and leads the nation in interception return yards with 111.

Florida ranks 11th nationally in total defense and fifth in scoring defense this season. Jabari Zuniga and Louisville transfer Jonathan Greenard will draw a lot of attention on the outside. At linebacker, leading tackler David Reese, a senior, is coming off an outstanding effort against Auburn.

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The Gators will try to slow down quarterback Joe Burrow and an LSU offense that leads the nation in points per game and ranks second in total offense. The nation’s third-highest rated passer, the Heisman Trophy hopeful Burrow ranks in the top 5 nationally in passing yards, completion percentage, yards per attempt and touchdown passes to go with just three interceptions.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the leading rusher for the Tigers with 360 yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson has 547 yards receiving and seven touchdowns — both team-highs. He and colleagues Ja’Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall Jr. all rank in the top 11 nationally and in the top 3 in the SEC in touchdown receptions.

Florida scored the game’s final 13 points to outlast LSU last season in Gainesville, 27-19. The Gators won 16-10 in the last meeting in Baton Rouge back in 2016 on a goal line stand. Saturday’s contest begins at 8 p.m. ET and airs on ESPN.

Prediction: LSU 31, Florida 24

Other Games Across the State

College Football

No. 20 Virginia (4-1) at Miami (2-3)
Friday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Miami rallied from 28 points down to draw even with Virginia Tech last week before falling 42-35 and will turn to N’Kosi Perry this week at home against Virginia. The Cavaliers are actually the underdog in this one, but could take stranglehold of the ACC Coastal with a win.
Prediction: Virginia 24, Miami 20

Florida State (3-2) at No. 2 Clemson
Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

Clemson will look to make it five straight over Florida State after handing the Seminoles their worst home loss ever last season. The winner of the annual contest has claimed the ACC’s Atlantic division in each season since 2009.
Prediction: Clemson 38, Florida State 20

BYU (2-3) at South Florida (2-3)
Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)

South Florida snapped its 9-game losing streak to FBS teams with a trouncing of Connecticut on the road. The Bulls seek their first home win over an FBS team in nearly a year when they host a Jekyll and Hyde group of BYU Cougars.
Prediction: BYU 31, South Florida 29

Middle Tennessee (2-3) at Florida Atlantic (3-2)
Saturday, Oct. 12 at 4 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Since opening with consecutive losses against ranked teams, quarterback Chris Robison and Florida Atlantic seems to have found their footing. The Owls will host Middle Tennessee State in a key Conference USA East division battle.
Prediction: Florida Atlantic 41, Middle Tennessee 24

Charlotte (2-3) at Florida International (2-3)
Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Florida International destroyed Massachusetts last week and will look for its first Conference USA win on Saturday. The Minutemen are the only FBS team that either Charlotte or the Golden Panthers have defeated.
Prediction: Florida International 34, Charlotte 27


Carolina Panthers (3-2) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)
Sunday, Oct. 13 at 9:30 a.m. ET (London, NFL Network)

After a tough loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to complete the season sweep over the Carolina Panthers in London. Kyle Allen has breathed life into the Panthers in recent weeks, but Jameis Winston has played well of late for the Buccaneers.
Prediction: Carolina 23, Tampa Bay 20

Washington Redskins (0-5) at Miami Dolphins (0-4)
Sunday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. ET (FOX)

May the worst team lose. Two of the NFL’s four remaining winless teams will square off at Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins haven’t played a game closer than 20 points, but they are getting better each week.
Prediction: Miami 17, Washington 16

New Orleans Saints (4-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)
Sunday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Without star cornerback Jalen Ramsey in the lineup, the Jacksonville Jaguars gave up 34 points last week to the Carolina Panthers. Even without Drew Brees, the New Orleans offense has broke the 30-point mark three times.
Prediction: New Orleans 27, Jacksonville 19

Mike Ferguson is a contributor for The Grueling Truth, covering Florida sports and sports history. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. To keep up with all of his work, like his Facebook page.

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