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The Florida Gators got their first SEC win against the Missouri Tigers and now turn their eyes to the rival LSU Tigers. To help preview the Tom Petty Day matchup in The Swamp, Inside the Gators was joined by Leah Vann of The Advocate to help fans get to know the Tigers.
Five LSU Tigers to Know
Jayden Daniels, Quarterback, Junior
- As the Tigers leading passer and leading rusher up to this point in the season, Daniels is going to be key to a Tigers’ victory on Saturday. “The passing game has been kind of hit or miss depending on the game,” Vann said. It is something Florida fans know all too well. LSU beat Auburn with just 80 passing yards from Daniels while Florida beat Missouri with just 66. Vann said Daniels’ biggest criticism has been that he isn’t sitting through all his progressions. She said it has resulted in “an obscene” number of targets to tight end Mason Taylor over stars like Kayshon Boutte.
Malik Nabers, Wide Receiver, Sophomore
- “This year he has moved to that slot receiver position,” Vann said. Nabers leads the team in receptions (28) and receiving yards (370). “What’s really cool about him is he’s able to break a lot of tackles,” Vann said, “He breaks a lot of tackles. He’s acrobatic. He makes a lot of fun catches.” In his freshman season, Nabers had three catches for 36 yards against the Gators.
Micah Baskerville, Linebacker, Grad Student
- As one of the leaders of the LSU defense, Baskerville leads the team in total tackles (29) in addition to a pick-six. “The run defense was pretty good until Tennessee,” Vann said, “So, we’ll have to reevaluate against this Florida team that has one of the best ground games in the nation right now.”
BJ Ojulari, Defensive End, Junior
- Ojulari is of the SEC’s most prolific edge rushers. He leads the team in sacks (3.5) and has added a forced fumble on top of that. “He’s probably the strongest player on the entire team,” Vann said, “You don’t know where he’s coming from, but he’s coming for you kind of thing.”
Harold Perkins, Linebacker, Freshman
- The true freshman five-star linebacker has been “as advertised,” according to Vann. “He’s probably the fastest player on the defense.” That speed has earned him 26 total tackles and one interception. “He can really play a little bit of everything,” Vann said.
Five Fast Facts
- Week 7 represents the 69th all-time meeting between Florida and LSU including the 34th matchup in Gainesville
- Oct. 15 vs. LSU is the inaugural Tom Petty Day at The Swamp, as the Gators honor the legendary music icon and GNV native.
- The Gators are 11-6 at home vs. LSU across the last 17 meetings dating back to 1988
- Over the last three meetings with LSU, Florida is averaging 518.0 yards per game and 378.3 passing yards per game.
- Florida’s 213.7 rushing YPG ranks 21st in the FBS, 12th in the Power Five and fourth in the SEC.
Five Gameday Storylines
True Freshman Getting Their Shot:
- True freshmen are scattered across the entirety of this matchup. Florida’s Trevor Etienne is sure to get his fair share of carries against the Tigers. Harold Perkins will look to stop him on the opposite side, so the two will likely see plenty of each other on Saturday. For the LSU offense, offensive tackle Will Campbell is set to return after a dehydration scare kept him out of the Tennessee game. Emery Jones will close the other end of the line as the Tigers look to bounce back from their loss to Tennessee last week.
Tom Petty Day:
- It is Tom Petty Day on Saturday for the Gators. Not quite the same significance as homecoming, but nonetheless a themed day that the Tigers could ruin for the Gators. Vann said there hasn’t been much conversation on the LSU side of things about the day but did say she looks forward to seeing the tradition herself.
- As the former head coach of Louisiana, Billy Napier could have easily been the next in line at LSU. Fans in the state have been closely tracking the progress of Napier at Florida and comparing it to the likes of Brian Kelly at LSU. Vann said there are some football fans in the state who feel conflicted about Saturday’s matchup. She even said a local bar is running a drink special for both Napier and Kelly. A little extra spice added to the already intense rivalry.
- When asked about any other major topics, Vann quickly pointed out special teams. “There’s been a lot of muffed kicks, muffed punts,” she said, “There were a couple of short field goals that were missed, and then there was a kickoff that was botched.” All eyes will be on the LSU special teams as they hit the road and head into a hostile SEC environment like The Swamp.
LSU’s Run Game
- This could turn into a game of who can run the ball better. Two dual-threat quarterbacks with a strong running back by committee could quickly turn this into a ground-and-pound Saturday night. How does each team produce on the ground and how do they stop the run? What does that open down the field? Similar questions for both teams heading into Saturday.
- Vann – Florida 31-27
- Chris Will – Florida 28-24