Things could go from bad to worse for LSU against Florida
LSU is struggling at 1-2.
It’s the Tigers’ worst start since 1994.
It’s going to be a long week in Baton Rouge and seeing Florida next on the schedule isn’t particularly helpful.
It isn’t just that the Gators are ranked No. 10 and the formerly No. 17 Tigers plummeted out of the rankings after a 45-41 loss at Missouri last Saturday.
It isn’t just that the Gators will be in a foul mood after a last-second loss at Texas A&M last week.
And it isn’t just that the game will be played in The Swamp.
It’s all of that, but it’s also the fact that other than Alabama, no one has been a bigger thorn in LSU’s side since Ed Orgeron has been coach than Florida has.
The teams have split the 4 meetings.
In 2016, after Orgeron took over for the fired Les Miles in the wake of a 2-2 start, the interim head coach had the Tigers poised to go to the Sugar Bowl, which would have been quite an accomplishment and strengthened Orgeron’s chances of getting the job on a full-time basis.
But LSU couldn’t beat the Gators.
On the final play of the game, Derrius Guice lost a fumble on a 4th-and-goal run from the 1. That was the Tigers’ 3rd failure on 5 red-zone trips in the game and Florida prevailed, 16-10.
That game came to mind after the one the Tigers played last week.
The 2016 LSU-Florida game couldn’t be played in The Swamp as scheduled in October because of the threat from Hurricane Matthew. So the game was moved to Tiger Stadium in November.
A hurricane disrupted LSU’s schedule again last week when the threat from Hurricane Delta led the game against Missouri being moved from Tiger Stadium to Columbia.
Once again a hurricane-related change of venue and a last-second attempt at scoring from the near the goal line didn’t mix well for LSU, which failed on 4 tries to score from the Missouri 1.
Now back to the Florida issues.
Orgeron’s first game against Florida as the full-time head coach was just as close as the one a year earlier, but this one turned out better for the Tigers as they prevailed 17-16, thanks in part to a missed PAT.
The following season, LSU returned to The Swamp for a second consecutive season in order to get the series back in sync after the change of location in 2016.
It was another down-to-the-wire battle and No. 5 LSU lost (27-19) for the first time after starting the season 5-0.
Then last season the Tigers were again ranked No. 5 and rolling when the Gators returned to Tiger Stadium. LSU had entered the game with an average margin of victory of 35 points.
Inexperienced Kyle Trask started at quarterback for Dan Mullen’s Gators after Feleipe Franks had been injured.
Trask looked like a long-time starter as he and Florida matched Joe Burrow and LSU, taking a 28-21 lead in the 3rd quarter. The Tigers rallied to score the final 21 points, but they had to break more of a sweat than they had to in most games during a run to a 15-0 record and a CFP Championship.
But that seems so long ago.
Trask is now the full-time starter and has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the country.
In 3 games he has completed 71.8% of his passes for 996 yards with 14 touchdowns and 1 interception.
He’ll be facing an LSU defense that gave up an SEC-record 623 passing yards in an opening loss to Mississippi State and yielded 406 passing yards and 4 touchdown passes against Missouri.
It’s on to The Swamp for the Tigers – for better or worse.