Gators look to snap cold home streak with win over LSU


LSU rushes for a touchdown in the second half to help beat the Gators in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Oct. 9, 2010. LSU won 33-29.

Andrew Stanfill/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012 at 2:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 5, 2012 at 4:05 p.m.

Florida is refusing to call its top-10 showdown with LSU on Saturday a statement game.

“Anytime you play a team like LSU or Alabama or South Carolina or Georgia, it’s always a big feel around campus,” Florida senior defensive lineman Omar Hunter said. “We’re trying to treat it like a normal game, like the first four weeks we’ve been playing.

“Nothing has changed in our preparation. Everything is the same.”

But for No. 10 Florida (4-0, 3-0 SEC) to show it has truly turned things around this season, it must exorcise the demons of recent big home games. The Gators have lost their last three games at The Swamp against ranked opponents. UF’s last win against a ranked team at home was a 56-6 victory against No. 24 South Carolina on Nov. 15, 2008.

No. 4 LSU (5-0, 2-0 SEC) hasn’t been sharp the past two weeks, but still has UF’s utmost respect.

“LSU has a great football team,” Hunter said. “It’s going to be fun to see how we measure up against those guys.”

Here’s a look at Florida’s last three home games against ranked teams:

Oct. 9, 2010 — No. 12 LSU 33, No. 14 Florida 29:

Florida rallied from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit, taking a 29-26 lead on a 5-yard TD run from Mike Gillislee and two-point conversion pass from former quarterback John Brantley to receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. But the game ended in controversy when LSU faked a 53-yard field goal attempt. Holder Derek Helton tossed a no-look pitch over his shoulder to place-kicker Josh Jasper, who scooped it up on a bounce and ran for a first down. Florida challenged the call, claiming it was an incomplete forward pass, but it was ruled a lateral after replay review. The fake set up LSU’s winning score, a 3-yard pass from quarterback Jarrett Lee to receiver Terrence Toliver with six seconds remaining.

Nov. 13, 2010 — No. 22 South Carolina 36, No. 24 Florida 14

Florida got off to a dynamic start when receiver Andre Debose returned the opening kickoff of the game 99 yards for a TD. But South Carolina freshman running back Marcus Lattimore gashed UF’s porous run defense. Lattimore rushed for 212 yards and three TDs, lifting the Gamecocks to the win and SEC East division crown. After the game, former Florida-turned-South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier proclaimed, “Sometimes, Gamecocks get out of The Swamp alive.”

Oct. 1, 2011 — No. 3 Alabama 38, No. 12 Florida 10

Again, Florida started the game with a bang, jumping ahead 7-0 in the first quarter on a 65-yard TD pass from John Brantley to Andre Debose. But by the end of the second quarter, Brantley was knocked out of the game with an ankle injury. Trent Richardson rushed for 181 yards and two TDs, and Courtney Upshaw returned an interception 45 yards for a TD, leading Alabama to the win.

Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or brockwk@gvillesun.com. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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