Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s cross-divisional matchup between Florida and LSU in Gainesville.

When: Saturday, Oct. 11
Where: Gainesville, Florida
Game Time: 7:30 PM ET
TV: SEC Network
Current Line: Florida (-1)

Game buzz: Both Florida and LSU are looking for a big SEC win tonight as the Gators look to keep pace with Georgia and LSU just needs its first conference win. These two teams know each other well as annual cross-division rivals and The Swamp will be rocking with a night-game atmosphere. Florida is a slight favorite heading into the matchup, but this game is expected to be a defensive battle as both offenses are struggling under their current quarterbacks.



Players to watch:

  • QB Brandon Harris
  • QB Anthony Jennings
  • RB Leonard Fournette
  • WR Travin Dural
  • WR Malachi Dupre
  • LT La’el Collins
  • DT Quentin Thomas
  • DE Danielle Hunter
  • LB Kendell Beckwith
  • CB Jalen Collins

Keys for LSU:

  • Get solid quarterback play. Les Miles hasn’t yet announced who will start behind center for the Tigers. While it would seemingly make sense to continue starting freshman Brandon Harris, Miles will go with whichever passer he thinks will give him the best chance. The key word there: pass. LSU is completing just over half of its passing attempts this year, but will have a chance to do some damage to a subpar Gators secondary.
  • Win the battle of running games. This is no easy task considering how stingy the Gators have been against the run and how porous LSU has been. The Tigers could be helped by the return of Quentin Thomas, who has missed two games with an arm injury. On offense, a veteran offensive line will have to find a way to block the Gators packing the box. Outside of La’el Collins, the line has unperformed severely this season. If they can spring Leonard Fournette and the rest of the running back corps for some big gains, that would be a good start in getting LSU back on track.

Tigers’ glaring weakness to watch: It’s hard to choose between the pathetic run defense and the shaky quarterback position, but considering the way Auburn and Mississippi State have gashed LSU on the ground it’s a clear choice. If Florida can run up the middle on the Tigers like every else has, it could be a long afternoon for LSU.

Most interesting part of this game: Who will start and finish the game at quarterback? Much and more has been written about the Tigers’ quarterback situation, but Miles has kept it interesting by naming Harris the starter last week, then declining to name one for this week. Harris was lifted after getting his first career start last week; will he get another chance?

Team buzz: It’s become clear to everyone in Baton Rouge that this is a rebuilding year for LSU. The players that have gone onto the NFL in recent years haven’t been replaced and the Tigers on the roster are very inexperienced. LSU is out of contention for the SEC West, and could be fighting for bowl eligibility — especially if they drop this game.


Players to watch:

  • QB Jeff Driskel
  • DE Dante Fowler
  • WR Quinton Dunbar
  • CB Vernon Hargreaves
  • RB Kelvin Taylor
  • RB Matt Jones
  • WR Demarcus Robinson
  • LB Michael Taylor
  • LB Neiron Ball
  • CB Brian Poole
  • TE Clay Burton
  • FS Keanu Neal
  • LT DJ Humphries

Keys for Florida:

  • Make Anthony Jennings/Brandon Harris beat you. The struggles at quarterback for LSU this season are well-documented. In a hostile environment, UF knows LSU will lean on the running game, so if the Gators can force LSU’s hand by stopping the run and making Jennings or Harris make plays, the UF defense should be in good shape.
  • Lean on Matt Jones/Kelvin Taylor – With Driskel starting this week against LSU, the potential is there for another dicey passing performance from the Gators. LSU’s defense has struggled this year, but the secondary is still pretty good. Florida needs to exploit the weaknesses in the interior portions of LSU’s defense and hand the ball off to Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor to have the most offensive success tonight.

Glaring weakness to watch: Jeff Driskel. The redshirt junior quarterback has struggled all season. Thanks to a Treon Harris suspension, Driskel will resume his role as the team’s starting quarterback. LSU’s defense is not as good as past seasons, but the secondary has the usual play makers. An ineffective Driskel could easily mean another conference loss for the Gators at The Swamp.

Most interesting part of the game: How will Gators respond to off-the-field events? It’s been a tumultuous week for the Gators off-the-field. While the suspension of Harris was eventually lifted, there’s no doubt that it was a huge distraction. A mentally sharp and focused Florida team tonight would be telling of Will Muschamp’s coaching ability, especially within the current circumstances.

Team buzz: After squeaking by in Knoxville, the Gators finally return to the Swamp for the first time since Sept. 13. Florida is excatly where everyone thought they would be at this point, but the road hasn’t been pretty. Nonetheless, Florida still controls its own destiny in the SEC East and a win tonight would keep the Gators at the top of the division.