The numbers say the winner of this year’s LSU-Florida matchup is anybody’s guess
By the tale of the tape, you don’t often find two college football teams as evenly matched as Florida and LSU are going into their Saturday showdown in “The Swamp.”
The No. 5-ranked Tigers are 5-0. The 22nd-ranked Gators are 4-1.
Florida averages 35.4 points per game. LSU averages 33.8.
LSU allows 15 points per game. Florida allows 14.
LSU’s offense averages 396.6 total yards per game. Florida’s offense averages 378.2.
LSU puts up 204.6 passing yards per game. Florida puts up 203.4.
LSU averages 192 yards rushing yards per game. Florida averages 174.8.
Florida’s defense allows 311 total yards per game. LSU’s defense allows 333.8.
So what’s going to give? Well, if the tale of the tape holds true, it will be either the Gators’ passing defense or the Tigers’ rushing defense that makes the difference in the 65th installment of this storied SEC series — which Florida leads 32-29-3.
The Gators give up only 140 yards per game passing, second fewest among 129 Football Bowl Series teams, while the Tigers allow just 103 rushing yards per game, tied for 16th best in the country.
If Florida is to get only its fourth win in the last 10 meetings, it will rely heavily on much-improved sophomore quarterback Feleipe Franks, who has thrown for 961 yards and 12 touchdowns, second-most in the Southeastern Conference. If LSU is to continue a dominant streak that has seen the Tigers win six of the last eight meetings and four of the last five, it will need a big game from senior running back Nick Brossette, who has rushed for 481 yards, fourth in the SEC, and six touchdowns.
The biggest key could be that the Tigers have not been intimidated by the mystique of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium over the years. Since the two teams first met on Sept. 25, 1937, a 19-0 LSU win in Baton Rouge, the Tigers have won 13 times in Gainesville.
No matter how you measure it, this one should be one of the best matchups of the entire SEC regular season. H&A
Kickoff time for LSU and Florida is 2:30 p.m. CDT on CBS.
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Cover photo courtesy UAA Communications