Five things to know about Florida-LSU game: Kyle Trask closes in on a record, and more

Zach Abolverdi
Gainesville Sun
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Florida quarterback Kyle Trask looks to throw against LSU during last year's game at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

LSU (3-5) at No. 6 Florida (8-1)

TV: 7 p.m. today, ESPN. Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850. Favorite:Gators by 22 points (according to BetMGM).

Live updates:Follow Florida Gators vs. LSU Tigers

1. Trask closing in on history

Kyle Trask has been breaking Danny Wuerffel’s school records all year, and he’ll likely claim another one in the regular-season finale. With 38 touchdown passes, Trask is one score shy of Wuerffel’s record for TDs in a season (39). That doesn’t include his three from the 1997 Sugar Bowl, which would bring Wuerffel’s total to 42. If Trask reaches that number Saturday — or next week in Atlanta — he’ll also surpass Kentucky’s Andre Woodson (40) and approach Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa (43) and Missouri’s Drew Lock (44), who ranks second on the SEC single-season record list. LSU’s Joe Burrow is first with 60. Trask broke the SEC record for TD passes through seven games (31), eclipsing the mark jointly held by Wuerffel (28 in 1995) and Burrow (28 in 2019).

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2. Change at QB for LSU? 

The Tigers could have a new starting quarterback Saturday night. LSU coach Ed Orgeron said the staff will consider starting Max Johnson over fellow true freshman TJ Finley, who has served as QB1 since the season-ending abdominal injury to Myles Brennan on Oct. 10 at Missouri. Finley threw for 260-plus yards and a pair of touchdowns in two of his first three starts, but has regressed in the last two games — losses to Texas A&M and Alabama. Johnson played in relief of Finley both times, leading the offense on scoring drives against the Aggies and Tide. That production has opened the door for him to get the nod over Finley in The Swamp. Johnson is the only quarterback in the SEC with at least 40 attempted passes and no interceptions. 

3. Undefeated at home … again

Steve Spurrier dubbed Florida’s football stadium ‘The Swamp’ in 1992, calling it “a place where only Gators get out alive.” UF went undefeated at home in Spurrier’s first three years (1990-92), followed by a four-year stretch from 1995-98 and again in 2000. The HBC went 68-5 in Gainesville, one of the many reasons why the field is named after him. After Spurrier’s eight undefeated seasons at home in 12 years, the program had just five in a 17-year span (2002-18). The Gators didn’t lose in The Swamp in 2019 for just the third time in the decade, and now have a chance to post back-to-back seasons with a win Saturday. Florida hasn’t been undefeated at home for two years in a row since 2005 and 2006. 

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4. Saturday’s game questions

•After the three straight games facing a second-quarter deficit, can UF get off to a fast start?

•How many touchdown passes will Kyle Trask finish the regular season with?

•Will LSU QB Max Johnson make his first career start, and does he throw a pick?

•Can Florida's offense win the third-down battle and avoid three-and-outs?

•Will the Gators get their ground game going after a season-low 19 yards at Rocky Top? 

Click back Sunday for Abolverdi’s answers

Abolverdi’s pick

Florida 48, LSU 17

5. Key matchup

Florida’s third-down offense vs. LSU’s third-down defense:

The Tigers have the worst passing defense in the SEC and rank near the bottom of the league in multiple defensive categories, but one thing they do well is defend on third down. LSU is No. 3 in the SEC in opponent third-down conversions, allowing offenses to move the chains just 36.6 percent of the time. Florida, meanwhile, ranks third among SEC offenses in third-down conversions at 51.5 percent. Something’s gotta give Saturday, and the Gators will be looking to bounce back from their performance in Knoxville. After three consecutive games with no three-and-outs, the Vols became the first defense all season to hold Florida to a three-and-out on back-to-back drives.

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