Gator Gameday: Storylines, question marks and key matchup for Florida at LSU

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports

Things to watch in Florida’s road game against LSU.

Storylines for Florida Gators-LSU Tigers

1. LSU has been decimated by injuries, losing four starters just this week in wide receiver Kayshon Boutte, cornerback Eli Ricks and defensive linemen Ali Gaye and Joseph Evans. The Tigers are now without nine players listed as starters on the depth chart before the season opener. The Gators, meanwhile, are expected to get back tackle Richard Gouraige and corner Kaiir Elam, who missed the last three games. Gouraige was out vs. Vanderbilt along with tailback Malik Davis, who’s questionable to return. 

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2. In the Gators’ first SEC road game, they were flagged 15 times for 115 yards in the 20-13 loss to Kentucky. That was Florida’s most penalties in a game since 2001, and more than half of those flags were false starts (eight). The Gators had just one against Vandy and committed eight total penalties, but we’ll find out today whether their snap count issues have been resolved or if they’ve switched up the cadence. UF is 120th nationally in penalties, while the Tigers are ranked No. 3. 

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3. A loss by Florida would mark the Tigers’ third consecutive victory in the rivalry and their second three-game winning streak in less than a decade (2013-15). The Gators haven’t won consecutive games over LSU since 2008-09 and last owned a three-game winning streak during the Steve Spurrier era. The HBC won his first seven games against LSU to extend Florida’s winning streak to nine games — the longest in the rivalry’s history (1988-1996) — and also had a four-game streak.

Today's game questions

1. With both starting corners out, can the Gators exploit LSU’s secondary? 

2. Can UF rush for 200 yards for the first time since the Tennessee game?

3. How many penalties — and false starts — is Florida flagged for? 

4. Will Kaiir Elam return, and how well does UF defend Max Johnson?

5. Which defense finishes with the most sacks? 

Click back Sunday for Abolverdi's answers.

Abolverdi’s pick: Florida 38, LSU 17. 

Key matchup 

Florida’s sack total vs. LSU’s sack total:

Both defenses have gotten after the quarterback this season. Florida is tied for No. 9 nationally and ranks second in the SEC with 20.0 sacks, while LSU is tied for 11th in the country and third in the league with 19.0 sacks. Florida’s Zachary Carter and LSU’s BJ Ojulari both lead the SEC with 5.0 sacks apiece. Which offensive line will be able to protect its QB better on Saturday? The Gators are tied for fourth in the FBS with just 3.0 sacks allowed on the season, while the Tigers rank 89th nationally with 15.0 sacks allowed.