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Preview: Tigers Head to Gainesville for Primetime Matchup with Florida

by Harrison Valentine | Digital Media Graduate Assistant
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Preview: Tigers Head to Gainesville for Primetime Matchup with Florida

GAINESVILE, Fla. — LSU (4-2) looks to bounce back on Saturday night against Florida (4-2) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville.

Kickoff is set for 6:05 p.m. CT on ESPN and the LSU Sports Radio Network.

The Tigers enter the contest having won three-straight against Florida, and four of the last five in the series.

After a 40-13 loss to No. 8 Tennessee last weekend in Tiger Stadium, head coach Brian Kelly and the Tigers are eager to turn the page to another tough SEC matchup against the Gators in the Swamp. It’s about focusing in on the details and bringing the necessary traits to win on the road.

“We’re right in the middle of our process,” Kelly said on Monday. “We’re working at it every single day. It’s a journey. I’m excited to be on it. We’ll get back to work this week to bring the traits necessary, and we’ll need to bring them to the Swamp this week.”

Quarterback Jayden Daniels went 32-for-45 for 300 yards and a touchdown against the Volunteers last week. Junior receiver Kayshon Boutte caught his first touchdown pass of the season, also recording his 100th reception as an LSU Tiger, the 26th to do so in program history.

The Tigers will get a boost on the offensive line with the return of freshman offensive tackle Will Campbell.

Defensively, senior linebacker Micah Baskerville is coming off a career-high 15 tackles vs. Tennessee and leads LSU with 30 tackles, followed by safety Greg Brooks (28), and nickel Jay Ward (27).

“I have confidence in our group,” Kelly said. “I think they’re going to respond. I don’t think there’s any reason to think that there are any factors out there that this football team is not going to play well this coming weekend, and I expect them to.”

Freshman linebacker Harold Perkins, who has tallied 26 tackles, 1.5 sacks and an interception this season, is expected to play a large role this week, Coach Kelly said.

“This is a game that suits him really well,” Kelly said. “You’ll see a lot of Harold Perkins this week.”

Florida is led by sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson, who has thrown for 1,182 yards and five touchdowns through six games under center. Richardson also has 286 yards rushing, which is third-most for the Gators.

Montrell Johnson Jr. leads Florida’s rushing attack with 368 yards on 46 carries for five touchdowns, averaging 8.0 yards per carry. Trevor Etienne is not far behind Johnson with 306 yards on 45 carries for two touchdowns, averaging 6.8 yards per touch.

“The strength, to me, on this Florida team is the offensive line,” Kelly said. “That will be the challenge. They can run the football. They have proven it. We’re going to have to rise to that challenge.”

Justin Shorter leads the team with 334 yards receiving and a touchdown, while Ricky Pearsall is second with 254 yards and two scores.

There’s very few matchups in college football that produce instant classics like LSU and Florida. 

The numbers don’t lie: The last six meetings in Gainesville have been decided by a total of 27 points and all have been one possession games.

If history repeats itself, Saturday will be another battle between the Tigers and Gators.