LSU Tigers glance

Special to Gatorsports.com

LSU (3-5) vs. No. 6 Florida (8-1)

When: 7 p.m. Saturday.

TV: ESPN

Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Last year: It couldn’t have gone any better for the Bayou Bengals as they went 15-0 and had the best season in the history of college football considering the Top-10 teams they beat. One of those wins came in Baton Rouge in a game where Florida led in the third quarter (one of the few times LSU trailed a game after halftime) before LSU hit a bunch of big plays to pull it out. 

So far in: No team lost as much as LSU including passing game genius Joe Brady, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and as many as 16 players who could be picked in the NFL draft — No. 1 among them is Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. They also had a handful of standouts opt out because of COVID-19, including star receiver Ja’Marr Chase, a Biletnikoff winner, who caught 1,780 yards worth of passes and 20 touchdowns last season. Star wide receiver Terrace Marshall, who finished his career with 106 catches, 1,594 yards and 23 touchdowns, opted out last month. QB Myles Brennan took over for Burrow, but was injured and replaced by true freshman TJ Finley. The young and rebuilding Tigers' execution was inconsistent and seemingly no mistake went unpunished by an Alabama squad in a 55-17 loss Saturday. The Tigers gave up the most points by an LSU team since 1993 (vs. Florida) and now must win their final two regular season games and a bowl game — if they go to one — to avoid their first losing record since 1999.

Best offensive player: Freshman tight end Arik Gilbert now ranks as LSU’s leading receiver (35 catches, 368 yards, two TDs) now that Terrace Marshall Jr. has decided to opt out for the remainder of the season.

Best defensive player: As a true freshman, Derek Stingley lived up to the hype of being one of the top recruits for coach Ed Orgeron. He had six interceptions and 15 passes defended as a lockdown cornerback. However, he has had an up-and-down 2020, hampered at times by illness and injury.

Fun fact: Florida and LSU are back on schedule after a hurricane forced the Gators to play two straight seasons in Baton Rouge and LSU to play two in a row in Gainesville. A hurricane also pushed the game back to the last one of the season in Steve Spurrier’s sophomore season. Nature also had a role in this game. LSU visits Florida in a game rescheduled from Oct. 17 because of a COVID-19 outbreak affecting the Gators.

Quote: "Our guys are going to stick together and get ready for Florida," LSU coach Ed Orgeron following the loss to Alabama. "I’m not discouraged at all. I think our guys fought every down. Can we call plays better? Can we scheme better? Yeah. Can we play better? Yeah. Our guys fought.”