LSU has beaten Florida in four of the last six meetings, and the Gators’ recent dysfunction at quarterback might have something to do with that.
As the No. 6 Tigers (5-0, 3-0 Southeastern) prepare to host No. 8 Florida (6-0, 4-0 SEC) on Saturday night, the Gators face yet another such conundrum. With starter Will Grier suspended for failing an NCAA drug test, sophomore Treon Harris will lead the offense in Tiger Stadium.
It’s nothing new for the Gators. Here’s a look at the quarterback troubles that have plagued Florida against LSU in the last six years.
- 2009: Tim Tebow battled symptoms from a concussion he suffered against Kentucky two weeks prior, but Florida escaped with a 13-3 win.
- 2011: John Brantley and Jeff Driskel were injured against Alabama the week before the Gators visited Tiger Stadium. Freshman Jacoby Brissett’s first career appearance resulted in a disastrous 41-11 loss to the Tigers.
- 2013: Tyler Murphy started his third career game in place of Driskel, who was out with a broken leg. LSU grinded out a 17-6 victory at home.
- 2014: Treon Harris helped the Gators erase a 9-point, fourth-quarter deficit at Tennessee, giving him a firm hold on the starting job. But sexual assault allegations forced Florida to suspend Harris for the LSU game, which the Tigers won, 30-27.
With Florida coming to town to face LSU on Saturday night, the Tigers didn’t have a lot of idle time this week to think about last year’s satisfying win in The Swamp.
LSU, saddled with back-to-back Southeastern Conference losses, was in desperate need of a gut-check victory when it traveled to Gainesville, Florida. The Tigers trailed 17-7 early in the second quarter before outscoring Florida 23-10 the rest of the way to grind out a 30-27 victory.
They made all the big plays late - pulling out the win on a late touchdown grab by Travin Dural, an interception by Rickey Jefferson and a 50-yard game-winning field goal by Colby Delahoussaye with 3 seconds to play.
“We started off 0-2 in the SEC and we knew we couldn’t go 0-3,” LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture said Monday. “We were going to their place and playing in a very hostile environment. We knew it was going to be physical and we had to get the job done.”
“Getting that win over there last year was a big sigh of relief,” said middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith, who made the first start of his college career that night. “Being my first college start, I will always remember that. It was just a good, hard-fought game, and we don’t expect anything different this year.”
While LSU’s Lewis Neal leads the Tigers’ defense with four sacks this season, the junior defensive end was lamenting the one that got away in last Saturday’s game with South Carolina.
On Carolina’s first drive, Neal drew a bead on quarterback Perry Orth and had a shot to put him on the ground. But Neal hit Orth in the shoulder pad instead of his arm and didn’t get the sack although he did record one later in the Tigers’ 45-24 win.
Two days later, Neal was beating himself up over the missed opportunity.
“I’m my biggest critic,” he said. “I mean, you have to be your biggest critic or you don’t improve. You always come back and find out what you did wrong to get better so you can do better the next time.”
After LSU wide receivers caught just two passes for 46 yards with several drops the week before against Eastern Michigan, they rebounded nicely against South Carolina with 12 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
Dural had four catches for 109 yards and Malachi Dupre, who said the Tigers’ receivers should have gotten an F-minus for their play against EMU, had six receptions for 74 yards. Each had a touchdown Saturday.
“We were more upset with ourselves than the coaches were with us,” Dural said. “We knew we were better than that and just had to be more focused. We came out last week and had a great week of practice.
“We had a talk and said, ‘We can’t ever let that happen again.’ We let the team down and we let our quarterback down, so we just had to be more focused.”
Florida first-year coach Jim McElwain is only the third coach in program football history to start his coaching career with the Gators with six consecutive wins.
The others to do it were Charles Bachman (1928) and Galen Hall (1984).
Cameron may start for Indiana
The son of LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron may get the start at quarterback Saturday for Cameron’s alma mater. Former Catholic High quarterback Danny Cameron, a redshirt freshman at Indiana, may be pressed into service Saturday against Rutgers because of injuries to the two quarterbacks ahead of him.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Hoosiers regular starter Nate Sudfeld is questionable with an ankle injury while his backup, Zander Diamont, is dealing with a shoulder injury. Cameron played last Saturday in a 29-7 loss at Penn State, going 6-of-16 for 66 yards with an interception. Indiana is 4-2, 0-2 in the Big Ten.