By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A pair of undefeated and top-10 ranked Southeastern Conference teams will meet on Saturday in Gainesville, Fla., when No. 4 LSU visits No. 10 Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Kick-off is set for 3:30 p.m. ET and the game will be televised by CBS.
This season’s meeting marks the fourth time since 2006 that the two teams will meet as top-10 opponents. Additionally, it marks the fifth time in the history of the series that the two teams will face one another both as undefeated squads. LSU is 5-0 for the fourth consecutive year and the fifth time in eight years, while Florida has started 4-0 for the fourth year in a row.
The homestanding Gators had a bye week last week after a dominating 38-0 win against Kentucky on Sept. 22. It was Florida’s first shutout of an SEC opponent since 2001. The Gators lead the SEC in time of possession, holding the football for more than 34 minutes per game. Florida also ranks second in the SEC as a team in red-zone offense, scoring on 13-of-14 attempts inside the 20. The Gators check in at No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll, which marks the team’s highest ranking since the 2010 campaign.
“We had a good week off to prepare for a really good football team in LSU, an outstanding team,” Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. “The thing that jumps off the film at you every year is the physicality of their football team in all three phases and how they play the game. They have a very deep roster; they’ve won 18 straight regular-season games for a reason. They have an outstanding staff and some really good football players.”
LSU has won 18 consecutive regular-season games and is coming off a 38-22 win against Towson last Saturday night. The Tigers are allowing opponents just 12.6 points per game and are limiting their foes to just 217.8 total yards per game. Overall, LSU has won nine consecutive SEC regular-season games and boasts seven consecutive wins against SEC Eastern Division opponents, including last year’s win against Georgia in the SEC Championship game.
“The Florida team is a very talented team,” LSU head coach Les Miles said. “They have beaten both Texas A&M and Tennessee this year. They are very good and well coached by Will Muschamp, a defensive guy and a guy whose defense plays extremely well that way. The opportunity to go play in The Swamp is always a great challenge to any team. It is a challenge that our team will look forward to.”
The Gators and Tigers meet for the 59th time in the history of the two schools, with Florida leading the all-time series 30-25-3. The two squads first met in 1937 and have faced one another annually each year since 1971 … LSU has claimed six of the last 10 meetings between the two schools, including two consecutive … Florida leads the series 14-11-3 when the game is played in Gainesville.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
2011 – LSU 41, Florida 11 (Baton Rouge, La.)
2010 – LSU 33, Florida 29 (Gainesville, Fla.)
2009 – Florida 13, LSU 3 (Baton Rouge, La.)
2008 – Florida 51, LSU 21 (Gainesville, Fla.)
2007 – LSU 28, Florida 24 (Baton Rouge, La.)
A LOOK AT THE LAST MEETING
No. 1 LSU posted its largest win against No. 17 Florida in 40 years, earning a 41-11 victory against the Gators at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. The Tigers racked up 453 yards of total offense, led by running back Spencer Ware, who totaled 24 carries and 109 yards with two touchdowns. Alfred Blue added 70 yards on 14 carries with a score. Florida was playing without quarterbacks Jeff Brantley and Jeff Driskel, running on 32 of its 48 plays in the game. The Gators were led by Mike Gillislee, who tallied 56 yards on nine carries, while Chris Rainey totaled 52 yards on 13 rushes.
PLAYMAKERS – OFFENSE
Florida - Mike Gillislee, Sr., Running Back
Gillislee ranks second in the SEC and 29th nationally in rushing yards with 402 yards through four games, and is averaging just over 100 rushing yards per game. He is tied for fourth in the SEC in scoring touchdowns with 30 points and is tied for ninth in scoring at 7.5 points per game. Gillislee rushed for 148 yards in the team’s season opener against Bowling Green, becoming just the sixth Gator running back since 1996 to run for 148 or more yards in a single game. For his career, Gillislee has appeared in 40 games with 1,341 career rushing yards and 15 rushing TDs.
LSU – Kenny Hilliard, So., Running Back
Hilliard is LSU’s leading rusher this season, totaling 366 yards on 53 carries through the team’s first five games. He ranks 11th in the SEC, averaging 73.2 rushing yards per game. Hilliard has played in only 18 career games, but has produced 14 rushing touchdowns during that span. He tallied a career-high 141 yards vs. North Texas earlier this season and had a career-long 71-yard run against Idaho. Hilliard is one of three talented LSU running backs in the Tigers’ potent rushing attack.
PLAYMAKERS – DEFENSE
Florida – Josh Evans, Sr., Defensive Back
Evans is Florida’s leading tackler this season with 26 total stops, which currently ranks among the top-30 in the SEC so far this season. In the Gators’ conference win at Texas A&M, Evans led his team with eight tackles, five of which were solo. Evans has charted at least five tackles in each of Florida’s four games this year. He has appeared in 38 career games with 15 starts at safety and has recorded 97 career tackles.
LSU – Kevin Minter, Jr., Linebacker
Minter leads LSU and ranks among the top-25 in the SEC this season with 34 total tackles. He also ranks tied for 10th in the SEC with 5.5 tackles per loss. In his second year as a starting middle linebacker for LSU, Minter led his squad with nine tackles against Towson, while also charting four stops in the team’s conference win at Auburn. He has played in 30 career games with 16 starts.
• For the fourth year in a row the Gators started the season 4-0. In each of the past eight years, Florida has started the season 3-0, the longest streak in the nation according to ESPN research.
• LSU looks to go 6-0 for the third consecutive year and the fourth time in eight years under Les Miles.
• The Florida defense has not allowed any points in the fourth quarter this season and has outscored its opponents by a 34-0 count in the final period. UF is the only team in the SEC this season not to allow any fourth-quarter points.
• Twenty players on the LSU roster have been responsible for either a sack, tackle for loss, interception or forced/recovered fumble this year.
• Florida head coach Will Muschamp spent four seasons as an assistant coach at LSU from 2001-04, helping the Tigers to a 40-12 (.769) record.
• LSU is ranked among the top-10 in the nation in five different defensive categories, including ranking No. 4 in total defense, allowing just 217.8 yards per game.