One big storyline heading into Saturday night’s epic showdown between Florida and LSU will be the matchup of Dave Aranda’s defense versus Dan Mullen’s offense. While Aranda has earned his reputation as one of the best defensive coordinators in the nation, his units have not fared well against Mullen in recent seasons.

If you go back to the 2017 season, Mississippi State beat LSU 37-7 in Starkville in an outcome that represented MSU’s largest margin of victory in over 100 years of football between the two programs. Last season, Mullen moved on to Florida but his offense found similar success against LSU, as the Gators beat the Tigers 27-19 in The Swamp.

Should that trend continue into this season, there’s an outstanding chance the Gators leave Death Valley with a huge upset win.

While Dave Aranda has every reason to be locked in for this matchup, it’s a great sign that LSU’s players are in the same mind frame looking ahead to Saturday. During his Monday media availability, LSU linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson was asked to respond to Joe Burrow’s comment on LSU not liking Florida.

“We don’t, we don’t. I’m not even going to sugarcoat it,” Chaisson said. “It’s just something that goes with the history of the program, two great teams, bad blood colliding, very passionate programs. That’s something that is going to be exposed Saturday night.”

The history of this series, whether it’s during the pregame build-up or the post-game celebrations, suggests Saturday night will be an emotional contest but LSU is doing what it can this week to ensure its team stays in check considering the stakes of this matchup.

“It’s going to be a big game, like I said, a lot of emotions, the past two years, I believe, it’s been getting a little gritty. A lot of unsportsmanlike (penalties) in the game, physical punches thrown after the play,” Chaisson continued. “At this point, we know how to handle it, we have to hold our composure. We have to play our ball and not get out of hand.”

Things may not have gone the Tigers’ way in recent seasons against Dan Mullen’s offenses but Chaisson and his teammates believe they have a good feel for what the Gators will try to accomplish on offense and LSU has the gameplan in place to answer the challenge.

“We were a few plays off from winning this game a year ago, so we know what we need to do,” Chaisson concluded. “We’ve played against Dan Mullen plenty of times, from two years ago to last year, we know how he’s going to attack us. We have a good feeling on what he’s going to do. At this point, we just have to execute and play gap sound, have integrity, don’t have any unsportsmanlike penalties and just play our ball throughout the entire game.”