GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami) – The last time Florida and LSU were on the same field, the Tigers delivered a brutal beating to the Gators, 41-11 in Baton Rouge. But this year, the Gators are on the rise and it’s the Tigers coming in with plenty of questions to answer.
“We got beat really bad. Really bad,” said Florida defensive tackle Omar Hunter. “It was a sick feeling.”
Florida would like nothing more than to avenge that loss and set up a big showdown in a few weeks with the Georgia Bulldogs for the lead in the SEC East. Heading into the LSU game, both teams are undefeated and the Tigers are a top 10 team. It’s not fazing the Gators though.
“A lot of people still doubt us and don’t really believe in this Florida team,” Gators fullback Hunter Joyer said. “So I think we need to make a statement this weekend.”
Making a statement against LSU though is a lot easier said than done. The Tigers’ defense is again one of the best in the country and the running game just keeps coming at opponents in waves. Plus, LSU doesn’t believe it could play any worse than the last two weeks in wins over Auburn and Towson.
The Tigers fumbled seven times in the games and lost five of them. Between turnovers, sacks, dropped passes, penalties and quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s indecision in the pocket, the Tigers have concerns heading into The Swamp.
“We’re not satisfied with the way we performed the last couple weeks,” LSU offensive tackle John Dworaczyk said. “There needs to be more positive energy. There needs to be more guys that are excited about this.”
LSU’s recent success has been almost unequaled in college football. Over the last 32 games, the Tigers have 29 victories with two losses coming against eventual national champion Auburn in 2010 and against Alabama in 2011.
Florida’s not impressed or intimidated by the Bayou Bengal’s success. The Gators know they will have to play nearly perfect to pull off the upset, even at home in the Swamp.
The one thing Florida has this year that it didn’t in 2011 is a true starting quarterback. The Gators have hitched their wagon to Jeff Driskel and he has continued to improve each week. He has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 698 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also has 148 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.
Driskel’s ability to keep plays going as pass protection breaks down could be a key to the game. LSU likes to bring heavy pressure and if Driskel can get going on the ground early and keep the Tigers honest along the line, it could open up the field for the Gators.
Still, with future NFL stars all over the defense, many have tried to do that against LSU, but few outside of Alabama have had much success. Florida believes it can pull off the upset and LSU seems to be ripe for the picking.
The LSU vs. Florida game will kick off a little after 3:30 p.m. and can be seen exclusively on CBS4 followed by CBS4 news at 7 p.m.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)