Gameday: No. 17 Florida Gators at No. 10 LSU

Location: Tiger Stadium – Baton Rouge, LA [Capacity: 92,542]
Weather: 85°F (feels like 88°F), mostly cloudy, winds SSW at 5 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
SiriusXM: 94/200 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

No. 17/17 FLORIDA GATORS No. 11/10 LSU TIGERS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Les Miles
Record: 4-1 (3-0 SEC) Record: 5-1 (2-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +7.5 | O/U: 49

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you missed via the links below!

Story: WR Solomon Patton: from “jet sweep guy” to game-breaking receiver | Notebook: Will Muschamp previews LSU | Notebook: Brent Pease talks RB Kelvin Taylor, quarterbacks and LSU | Notebook: Muschamp, Les Miles and Steve Spurrier talk Florida-LSU on the SEC teleconference | Story: DT Darious Cummings doing his part to replace the irreplaceable | Story: LB Ronald Powell has payback on his mind for LSU Notebook: Florida prepares for LSU

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida leads the all-time series against LSU 31-25-3 and holds a 24-16-2 mark since the teams began playing annually in 1971. The Gators even hold a 16-14 edge on the Tigers in Baton Rouge but are just 1-3 in Tiger Stadium since Miles took over the LSU program. The two teams have been evenly matched as of late with each program winning five of the last 10 games in the series.
» Florida is 15-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards (7-9 when rushing for fewer than 150 yards). The Gators are also 18-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 13-3 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 14-3 when scoring first (8-6 when an opponent scores first) and 18-1 when leading at the half (4-8 when tied or trailing at the break).
» UF’s top-ranked defense and LSU’s top-ranked offense will provide one of the best match-ups of the season. The Gators are fourth nationally in scoring defense (12.2 points per game) while the Tigers are ninth nationally in scoring offense (45.5 points per game). UF is ranked third in third down conversion defense (.230), while LSU is third in third down conversion offense (.583). Florida is second in the country in passing efficiency defense (81.17), but its hosts are fourth in passing efficiency (190.14). The Gators are also fifth nationally in fewest passing yards allowed (152.0 per game) while the Tigers are sixth in passing yards per completion (16.19).
» Florida also ranks first nationally in time of possession (37 minutes per game); second in total defense (217 yards per game), rushing defense (65.0 yards) and first downs defense (63); fourth in kickoff return defense (15.93 yards), and ninth in completion percentage (.704)
» LSU is ranked fifth in fewest interceptions thrown (2) and seventh in punt return defense 1.0 yards).
» UF has forced at least one turnover in 16-straight games.
» The Gators have forced the most interceptions among SEC teams this century (359).
» Florida has registered a nation-leading 104 interceptions since 2008. UF is also first in interceptions returned for touchdowns (17) and interception return yards (1,830).
» UF had scored a rushing and passing touchdown in each of its first four games in 2013 before failing to do so last week at Arkansas. The Gators did, however, register three passing touchdowns in the game.
» Florida has gained more than 400 yards of offense in three of five games; UF had the same number of 400+ yard games in 13 contests in 2012.
» On the other hand, the Gators have not allowed a single opponent to gain more than 275 yards of total offense in a game this season.
» LSU has topped 400 yards and 30 points in each of its first six games for the first time in program history.
» Florida has only yielded nine red zone trips through five games. In those appearances, opponents began two of those drives already in the red zone. Opponents have only found the end zone four times.
» Muschamp was a former defensive coordinator at LSU (2001-04) and member of the Tigers’ 2003 national title-winning team. LSU is honoring that team at halftime of Saturday’s game.

Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 17 Florida Gators at No. 10 LSU

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Friday Final: Florida prepares for LSU

No. 17/18 Florida Gators coaches and players spoke this week ahead of Saturday’s road game against the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m. from Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA, and air live on CBS.

Below are some stories, notes and quotes that fell through the cracks and did not make it into one of the six posts already published here on OnlyGators.com (see links).

Monday: WR Solomon Patton: from “jet sweep guy” to game-breaking receiver | Will Muschamp recaps Arkansas, previews LSU
Tuesday: Brent Pease talks RB Kelvin Taylor, quarterbacks and LSU
Wednesday: Muschamp, Les Miles and Steve Spurrier talk Florida-LSU on the SEC teleconference
Thursday: DT Darious Cummings doing his part to replace the irreplaceable
Friday: LB Ronald Powell has payback on his mind for LSU

DANTE FOWLER, JR.: FEROCIOUS TEDDY BEAR

As menacing as sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. is on the field, he’s quite the opposite off the gridiron. That is according to basically every coach and player that was asked about him over the past week – which amounted to every single person who was made available to speak to the media.

“He’s a big kid. He’s tough on the field, but he’s like a little teddy bear off the field,” said senior safety Jaylen Watkins. “He’s funny, jokes around. I’ve never seen him get mad.”

Concurred junior defensive tackle Darious Cummings: “He’s a big kid. He’s very soft spoken. It’s night and day how he is on the field and off the field. That being said, it’s a pleasure to play with him every Saturday.”

Fowler is happy his teammates see him that way and even referred to himself this week as a “big, goofy teddy bear-guy.” But he also doesn’t understand why his laid back personality is such a big deal.

“Look at me, I’m smiling right now. I’m goofy. I like to play around and stuff,” he said. “I just turned 19, so I just try to live life. I’m still a kid. I’m not 21 yet. My mom still washes my clothes … when I go home. Now I have to. It sucks though, man.”

He also explained why he can turn off that personality at a dime as soon as he dons his pads and puts his helmet on.

Continue Reading » Friday Final: Florida prepares for LSU

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Track the Florida Gators en route to Baton Rouge

The No. 17/18 Florida Gators are on their way to Baton Rouge, LA, to take on the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m. As a long-time special OnlyGators.com feature, the following is the flight information for the Gators, which are flying over on an American Airlines Boeing 757-200 twin-jet.

You can also track the flight live while it is in the air!

ORIGIN: Gainesville Regional Airport (KGNV)
DESTINATION: Baton Rouge Metro Airport (KBTR)

DURATION: 1 hour and 21 minutes

DEPARTURE: 4:43 p.m. EDT [scheduled 4:30 p.m. EDT]
ARRIVAL: 5:04 p.m. CDT [scheduled 4:57 p.m. CDT]

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Payback on the mind of Gators LB Ronald Powell

Redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell did not get to celebrate the Florida Gators‘ dominant – though the score indicates a close game – 14-6 victory over the LSU Tigers in 2012. The last taste of Tiger this Gator has in his mouth is a sour one in the form of a 41-11 whooping handed to UF two seasons ago.

Powell was unable to finish that contest and explained Tuesday how he has been seething for an opportunity to run with Florida as it tries to earn a measure of revenge for that embarrassing 2011 defeat.

“I had been getting like really, really bad stingers going into that game, and I ended up getting one during that game. So I ended up not playing the rest of the game,” he explained. “Not being able to help my team and not being able to go out there and perform, it still bothers me today. Getting a chance to go back there and perform with the guys I’ve got now, it’s going to be special for me.”

Powell has performed well while still finding his way back into form during his first five games this season. He’s amassed four tackles for loss (third-most on the team) and two sacks (second-most) but blown by his fellow defenders with a team-high seven quarterback hurries, at least two of which directly resulted in interceptions.

He is one major reason why the Gators boast the best defense in the SEC and arguably the best in the nation, too.

Continue Reading » Payback on the mind of Gators LB Ronald Powell

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10/9: Muschamp and Miles talk Florida-LSU

No. 17/17 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp made his scheduled appearance Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference and touched on a number of topics surrounding his team heading into Saturday’s road contest against the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers. Les Miles, LSU’s head coach, also spoke Monday and Wednesday about this week’s match-up.

INJURY UPDATES

Updating his team’s injuries, Muschamp said junior cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) had his best practice since being injured a month ago and will be full speed for Saturday’s game. Additionally, freshman linebacker Jarrad Davis (facial laceration) will be fine to play.

Unfortunately, the news was not all positive for Florida as freshman LB Alex Anzalone sprained his ankle against Arkansas, was unable to practice all week and is already listed as out for this weekend’s game.

MAD HATTER ON THE GATORS

Miles discussed his team’s upcoming showdown with Florida on Monday at the start of his weekly press conference with local and national media.

“We’ll be challenged. A very, very talented team. They have good players. They’ll be coming to Tiger Stadium. Any time that we get these two teams matched up – I can think back into ’07 and think back into times that we’ve faced Florida in this stadium – they’ve always been very competitive, a great challenge certainly to both teams. So good, quality Florida team, ranked number 17, which in my opinion, they look a lot better than 17. They’re the No. 1 team defensively in the league. They’re allowing 12 points, 217 yards, 65 yards rushing and 152 yards passing. They lead in all major defensive categories. Again, a very sound scheme. They don’t give up big plays. Again, Will Muschamp does a great job with that defense.

“Offensively they’re averaging 25 points, just under 400 yards a game, 107 yards rushing and 200 yards passing. And they, again, good balance. The quarterback is a playmaker. Tyler Murphy, and they have two very, very quality running backs and this Trey Burton comes in. He’s a playmaker. He leads them in receiving, and he can play quarterback. … Seems like we’ve been playing that guy for a long time. We need check his eligibility. But a very, very quality team, and we’re looking forward to getting to work on him [Monday]. It’s a workday. We look forward to welcoming Florida to Tiger Stadium, and we expect that it will be a loud, very, very home team-friendly crowd.”

[Editor's Note: Burton has career statistics of 64 total yards and one rushing touchdown in three games against the Tigers.]

Continue Reading » 10/9: Muschamp and Miles talk Florida-LSU

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Snell’s Slant: Mind the gaps, respect Death Valley

A three-year starter for the Florida Gators who played under Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, former guard Shannon Snell joined OnlyGators.com in 2012 as a football columnist to provide his unique perspective on the team. He has returned to continue sharing his musings through the 2013 season. Snell, who played in 46 games over four seasons and started 36 of those contests, was named a First Team All-American by Sporting News in 2003 and spent two seasons in the NFL.

With the team facing so much adversity over the last few weeks, it was pleasing to see the Gators put together such a convincing win over an above average Southeastern Conference opponent (at least as far as physicality is concerned). This was the first week that I thought Florida would truly be tested on both sides of the ball, and for the most part the Gators passed with flying colors. That is not to say everything was perfect; there is plenty of room for opportunity and growth.

Florida finally seems to be finding some chemistry in the passing game, especially between Tyler Murphy and Solomon Patton, but I cannot help but concentrate on the issues in the running game. There is a severe lack of explosive plays on the ground save for Matt Jones’s 67-yard gain at Kentucky, an outlier.

As head coach Will Muschamp indicated after Saturday’s game, the offensive linemen are not getting any movement on their blocks. It is not necessary for these guys to absolutely maul and knock their counterparts flat on their backs every single play (a pancake block) for the running game to be successful.

What Muschamp is referring to is the offensive line struggling to move defenders out of what are supposed to be gaps for the running backs to hit.

Continue Reading » Snell’s Slant: Mind the gaps, respect Death Valley

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10/8: Pease on Taylor, Murphy, Leak, LSU

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media on Tuesday ahead of the sixth game of the season against the LSU Tigers on Oct. 12.

WHERE’S KELVIN TAYLOR

For weeks now, Pease and head coach Will Muschamp have talked about getting freshman running back Kelvin Taylor more involved in the offense. Nevertheless, over the last two games, he has registered a grand total of zero carries.

Pease explained Tuesday that the team had planned to get Taylor some work but Florida’s defense ruined the potential opportunity.

“We had some situations we were going to try to get him in there in the last half of the fourth quarter, but they held onto the ball and drove it and stuff,” he said. “We’ll just continue to keep working at practice and things are going to show up.”

Taylor did technically see the field Saturday – when the Gators lined up in the victory formation at the end of the game – but never touched the ball.

He has a total of 46 yards on the season from six carries, five of which came in the season opener against Toledo when he averaged 8.6 yards per touch and broke off an impressive, crowd-pleasing 27-yard run.

Taylor is healthy and has a bright future ahead of him, according to the coaching staff, but neither Muschamp nor Pease has been able to provide a legitimate reason why he has not been worked into the offense during games.

“He practices hard. He’s a good kid. He’s got a good attitude. He is a good player. I just want to see him continually do the things and just have some patience,” Pease said.

Continue Reading » 10/8: Pease on Taylor, Murphy, Leak, LSU

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10/7: Muschamp recaps Arkansas, previews LSU

No. 17/17 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss Saturday’s 30-10 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks and his team’s upcoming road contest against the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 12. The contest will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and air live on CBS.

WEEKLY AWARDS

Offensive Players of the Game: Senior wide receiver Solomon Patton
“He’s playing at a high level, creating plays after the catch. … Really proud of Solomon and how he’s playing. He’s a great young man, works extremely hard, has really dedicated himself to developing himself as a receiver and certainly is getting great results.”

Scrap Iron: Redshirt junior left guard Max Garcia
“Max is a smart guy. … Max is pretty solid all over. He was a guy that did a lot of things well for us. He can play left tackle, he can play multiple positions. He’s been a really good fit for us.”

Big Plays (Offense): Patton, senior WR Trey Burton, redshirt junior WR Quinton Dunbar, sophomore running back Matt Jones, redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy

Defensive Players of the Week: Junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy
Purifoy was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Ball Hawks: Purifoy, junior defensive tackle Darious Cummings, sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr., redshirt junior LB Michael Taylor

Hard Hat: Freshman LB Jarrad Davis

Special Teams Player of the Week: Senior safety Jaylen Watkins

COULD MUSCHAMP HANDLE THE DEFENSE ALLOWING 50 POINTS?

LSU’s suddenly impressive offense has registered some huge outputs in its first six games of 2013 (including three SEC contests).

The Tigers scored 35 and 59 points in respective victories over Auburn and Mississippi State and also posted 41 points in a loss to Georgia.

Asked Monday if he would be able to handle his defense coughing up that many points, Muschamp explained that it would have been a concern for him in the past but now all he cares about is leaving each game victorious.

“As long as we win, I don’t care what happens. I’ll be honest with you. I got real caught up with all of that stuff when I was a coordinator. But I’m a head coach. I want to win. If it takes 51-50, let’s go,” he said. Watch the film on Sunday and we’ll figure out what we need to do to get better.

“But I can tell you right now, I used to grab the stat sheets when I was a coordinator. Not anymore. There’s one stat that matters and that’s winning. Do what you got to do to win games. It’s hard enough on Saturday afternoon to worry about all that other stuff. Just do what you got to do to win.”

Fowler concurred that winning is most important to Muschamp but was honestly concerned with the possibilities of what could potentially happen if the Gators gave up that many points in a single game.

“He’ll be happy that we won, but 50 points? Nah, he wouldn’t be happy with that,” he said. “Oh, no, not 50 points. Even if we win, I’ll have a nightmare. Scared. Jesus. No. … I don’t even know how he would physically handle that. I honestly don’t know what would happen. I wouldn’t want to know. That would be crazy.”

Continue Reading » 10/7: Muschamp recaps Arkansas, previews LSU

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