NOTEBOOK: A look toward Florida

For the second time this year, LSU will be involved in a road game against a top five opponent as the ninth-ranked Tigers travel to face fifth-ranked Florida in Gainesville on Saturday. Kickoff for the nationally-televised contest is set for 2:30 pm. CDT.

CBS will televise the game. Earlier this year, LSU dropped a 7-3 road decision to then-No. 3 Auburn in other road contest against a top five team. LSU brings a 4-1 overall mark and a 1-1 league record into the Florida game. The Gators, who have won 12 straight home games, stand at 5-0 overall and 3-0 in SEC action. Florida's last home loss came to LSU during the 2004 season.


Last year, LSU posted a 21-17 win over Florida in Tiger Stadium. LSU goes into Saturday's game having won two straight and three of the last four against the Gators, which includes victories in its last two trips to Gainesville (LSU won 36-7 in 2002 and 24-21 in 2004). LSU hasn't won three straight over Florida since winning four consecutive games over the Gators from 1977-80.


The LSU-Florida contest will feature two of the top offenses and defenses in the nation. LSU goes into the game leading the SEC in scoring with 38.0 points per game (Florida averages 30.2 points per game). Florida is first in the SEC in total offense with 438.4 yards per game (LSU is No. 3 at 412.0 yards per game).


Defensively, the Tigers rank among the top five in the nation in five categories including No. 1 in total defense (193.4 yards per game) and pass efficiency defense (73.46 rating) and No. 2 in scoring defense (7.4 points per game). Florida is fourth in the nation in scoring defense (9.4 points per game) and rush defense (50.2 yards per game).


Individually, LSU QB JaMarcus Russell is coming a career day, connecting on 18-of-20 passes for a career-best 330 yards and three scores in the win over Mississippi State. Russell, who tied a school-record with 14 straight completions against the Bulldogs, ranks No. 2 in the nation in pass efficiency with a 188.4 rating. Russell has completed 81 of 115 passes for 1,246 yards, 10 TDs and just one interception.


His top targets have been Craig Davis (25 for 394, 1 TD) and Dwayne Bowe (21 for 353, 3 TDs). LB Darry Beckwith leads the Tigers with 30 tackles, while DE Tyson Jackson is first in the SEC in sacks with 5.5 to his credit. LSU S Craig Steltz has intercepted a pass in four straight games and leads the league in that category. 



Russell Passes LSU Past Mississippi State, 48-17


LSU scored touchdowns on its first five possessions, building a 35-0 lead just 20 minutes into the contest as the ninth-ranked Tigers rolled to a 48-17 win over Mississippi State. The game was delayed 52 minutes just after halftime due to lightning. LSU led 35-3 when the game was halted with just over 10 minutes left in the third quarter.


JaMarcus Russell completed 15 of his first 16 passes on his way to the best passing day of his career. Russell finished 18 of 20 for a career-best 330 yards and 3 TDs. Russell threw first half TD passes of 9, 37, and 6 yards. For the game, the Tigers piled up 446 yards of total offense, including 338 passing and 108 rushing.


Charles Scott, making his first career start, rushed for 27 yards and 2 TDs for the Tigers. Jacob Hester led the Tigers in rushing with 49 yards and 1 TD. Craig Davis led LSU in receiving with 6 receptions for 101 yards and a TD, while Dwayne Bowe added 5 catches for 95 yards and a score.


Defensively, LSU limited State to just 14 yards rushing and 226 yards of offense. LSU sacked MSU quarterbacks five times as the Tigers held the Bulldogs to 3-and-out on five of their seven first half possessions.



Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 7 at 2:30 p.m. CDT


Location: Gainesville, Fla. (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium - 88,548)


Television: CBS (live); Cox Sports Television (delay) - cable ch. 37 in Baton Rouge


Radio: LSU Sports Radio Network - 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge; Sirius Satellite Radio - ch. 153


The Series: Florida, 27-22-3



The Series


LSU and Florida meet for the 53rd time on Saturday in Gainesville … Florida leads the series that dates back to 1937, 27-22-3 … LSU, however, has won two straight and three of the last four in the series …


A year ago, LSU beat the Gators, 21-17, in Baton Rouge … The Tigers have won also two straight in Gainesville, winning 36-7 in 2002 and 24-21 in 2004 … LSU hasn't won three straight games over Florida since 1977-80 when the Tigers posted four consecutive victories over the Gators …


LSU hasn't won three straight over Florida in Gainesville since posting victories in 1978, 1980 and 1982 … LSU also won three consecutive games in Gainesville in 1959, 1961, and 1963 … LSU is 10-12-3 in games in Gainesville … The teams have played every year since 1971 … LSU coach Les Miles is 1-0 against Florida. 



Travels To The Swamp For Florida's Homecoming


LSU returns to the road for the second time in 2006 as the ninth-ranked Tigers travel to Gainesville to face fifth-ranked Florida. LSU goes into the game with a 4-1 overall mark and a 1-1 league record following last week's 48-17 win over Mississippi State. Florida brings a 12-game home winning streak and a 5-0 overall mark and a 3-0 league record into the game. The Gators haven't lost at home since a 24-21 loss to LSU in 2004. The game will also serve as Homecoming for Florida.



More On The LSU-Florida Series


Saturday's game marks the first time in the 53-game LSU-Florida series that both teams enter the game ranked in the top 10. The previous highest-ranked meeting between the teams came in 1998 when No. 11 dropped a 22-10 decision to No. 6 Florida in Gainesville. Other meetings when both teams were ranked among the best in the nation came in 1985 when No. 8 LSU dropped a 20-0 decision to No. 11 Florida in Baton Rouge. Last year, the Tigers were ranked No. 10 and the Gators No. 11.  This year's game will mark the 14th time that both teams go into the game ranked.



In The Polls


The Tigers remained among the top 10 in the nation this week, staying at No. 9 in the AP poll and at No. 10 in the USA Today Coaches poll. The Tigers did move up one spot (past Georgia) to No. 9 in the Harris poll. LSU has now been ranked for 55 consecutive polls by USA Today and 54 straight polls by the AP. Florida is No. 5 in all three polls.



LSU Back On CBS For Second Time This Year


LSU returns to CBS for the second time this year against Florida. LSU lost to Auburn on CBS on Sept. 16. It's the second straight year and the third time in four seasons that LSU and Florida are playing on CBS. LSU is 19-17-1 all-time on CBS, which includes a 3-2 mark under Les Miles.



Sunshine State Tigers


LSU has five players on its roster, including three starters, who call Florida home. LSU's Florida natives include WR Dwayne Bowe (Miami), LB Ali Highsmith (Miami), DT Ricky Jean-Francois (Miami), DB Keron Gordon (Tampa) and OG Brian Johnson (Tallahassee).



LSU Brings Nation's Top Rated Defense Into Florida Game


LSU brings the nation's No. 1 rated defense in terms of total yards (193.4 yards per game) into the Florida game. In five games this year, LSU's defense has allowed only 3 touchdowns (2 rushing and 1 passing). The Tigers are ranked No. 2 in the nation in scoring defense (7.4 points per game) and No. 3 in pass defense (124.2 yards per game).



LSU Starting Defense Has Allowed Only 13 Points This Year


While LSU may be allowing 7.4 points per game, the Tiger starting defense is responsible for allowing only 13 of the 37 points scored by the opponents this year. LSU's starting defense has actually outscored the opposition this season as the Tiger starters have scored two touchdowns of their own, while holding the opposition to just one TD and a pair of field goals. LSU's starting defense yielded field goals against Louisiana-Lafayette and Mississippi State and a touchdown against Auburn.



Quick Starting Tigers


LSU's been good at getting off to quick starts this year as the Tigers have scored on their first possession in four of five games this year. The only game in which LSU didn't score on their opening possession came against Auburn. The following is a look at the quick starts LSU's offense has gotten off to this year:



LSU's Scored 190 Points Through First 5 Games; Second Most In School History


LSU's 190 points in the first 5 games of the season ranks as the second-highest total in modern day school history. The 190 points trails the 201 points scored during the first 5 weeks of the 2003 season (the year the Tigers won the national title). In addition, this year's LSU team is the first team in modern day school history to score 40 or more points in the first five games of the season. The only other LSU team to do it was the 1911 squad.



Miles Is 8-2 In SEC Games


With the win over Mississippi State, LSU coach Les Miles ran his overall SEC record to 8-2. The 8 wins in 10 tries is the best start for an LSU coach since 1987-88 when Mike Archer won 9 of his first 11 games as the Tiger head coach.



First Half 3-And-Outs For The Opposition


One of the keys to LSU's defensive success has been keeping the Tigers fresh early in the game. First half drives of over three plays are anything but common for the Tiger opposition this year. Through five games, LSU has allowed only 6 first half points and of the 31 first half possessions for Tiger opponents, 19 ended after 3 plays or less. The longest first half drive allowed by the Tigers this year is 61 yards (vs. Auburn - resulted in missed FG) and the longest the LSU defense has been on the field in the first half is 8:31 (same drive vs. Auburn). In SEC games against Auburn and Mississippi State, LSU held both of those teams to a combined 25 first quarter yards (minus 1-yard for Auburn and 25 yards for Miss. State).



LSU Defense Going Old School


Through the first four games of the 2006 season, LSU's defense is looking more and more like the Tiger defense from either the 1969 or 1970 seasons. Through the first five games of the year, the Tigers have allowed only 37 points, which is the fewest since the 1970 squad held its first five opponents to 37 points. The 1969 defense limited its first five opponents to 24 points. In addition, this year's Tigers have allowed only 967 yards in five games, it's the fewest yards during the first five weeks of a season since the 1969 squad limited its first five opponents to 935 yards. The 1970 squad allowed 1029 yards during the first five games of the season.



Miles Is 15-3 Overall At LSU; Ties For Most Wins After First 18 Games In School History


With a 15-3 mark as LSU's head coach, Les Miles is tied with Bernie Moore for the most victories over the first 18 games of a coaches career in school history. Moore posted a 15-2-1 mark in his first 18 games with the Tigers from 1935-36. Charles McClendon is next on the list as he won 14 of his first 18 games with the Tigers in 1962-63. Earlier this year, Miles became the first coach in LSU history to win 13 of his first 15 games. The 13 victories in 15 attempts was one better than McClendon and Mike Archer, who both posted a 12-2-1 mark during their first 15 games as the Tiger head coach.



LSU Is 5-1 In Road Games Under Miles


LSU brings a 5-1 mark in road games under Les Miles into the Florida contest. LSU won all five of its road games a year ago. The Tigers are 0-1 on the road this season, dropping a 7-3 decision to Auburn in week 3.



LSU In Road Games Against Ranked Opponents


Despite its loss to then-No. 3 ranked Auburn earlier this year, LSU still has won three of its last four road games against Top 25 teams. The streak goes back to a 24-21 win over then-No. 12 Florida in 2004. That was followed by a 35-31 win over No. 15 Arizona State, 35-31, in Tempe in 2005 and a 16-13 overtime win over No. 3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2005.



Russell Has Career Day Against Mississippi State


LSU QB JaMarcus Russell goes into the Florida game coming off a career-day against Mississippi State. Russell threw for a career-best 330 yards and tied a career-high with 3 TD passes (all in the first half) against the Bulldogs. In addition, he tied a school-record with 14 consecutive completions in the contest and he tied another school record for completion percentage by connecting on 18 of 20 passes (.900 percent) in the contest. Russell did all of this despite not playing in the fourth quarter of the contest.



Russell Now In Top 5 In LSU History In TD Passes And Passing Yards


Following is 330-yard, 3 TD performance against Mississippi State, LSU QB JaMarcus Russell has now climbed into the top 5 in LSU history in both TD passes and passing yards. Russell ranks fourth in school history in TD passes with 34 and he's fifth in passing yards with 4,742.



Tiger Receiving Trio Among The Best Around


LSU's receiving trio of Buster Davis, Dwayne Bowe and Early Doucet forms arguably the nation's best receiving corps. Through 5 games, the trio has combined for 64 receptions for 1,019 yards and 8 TDs. Davis leads all Tigers with 25 catches for 394 yards and 1 TD, while Bowe has 21 receptions for 353 yards and 3 scores. Doucet leads the team with 4 TD receptions and he's caught a total of 18 passes for 272 yards. Doucet goes into the Florida game needing only 82 receiving yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark for his career. When Doucet reaches that milestone, all three of LSU's starting receivers will have 1,000-yards to their credit. Bowe currently leads the group with 1,766 yards on 110 receptions, while Davis has 1,666 yards on 110 receptions.



LSU Turnover Streak Ends Against State


LSU's streak of not committing a turnover ended on Saturday against Mississippi State when QB JaMarcus Russell fumbled late in the second quarter. Prior to the Russell fumble, LSU hadn't committed a turnover since the third quarter of the Arizona game, a streak that covered just over 10 quarters of play. LSU didn't turn the ball over at all in games against Auburn and Tulane, marking the second time in Les Miles era that the Tigers went consecutive games without a turnover. Last year, LSU didn't turn the ball over in wins over Appalachian State and Alabama. It may not seem like much, but prior to the 2005 season, the last time LSU went consecutive games without a turnover came in 2002 when the Tigers beat Florida and South Carolina in back-to-back weeks without turning the ball over. Before that, you have to back to 1998 when the Tigers did it against Mississippi State and Ole Miss.



Russell's Thrown 84 Passes Without An Interception


LSU QB JaMarcus Russell goes into the Florida game riding a streak of 84 passes without an interception. Russell's only interception of the year came just before halftime against Arizona back in the second week of the season. Since throwing his only interception of the year, Russell has completed 59 of 84 passes (70.2 percent) for 889 yards and 6 touchdowns.



Tigers Lead The SEC In Scoring Offense, Rank Second In Scoring Defense


LSU goes into the Florida game leading the SEC in scoring offense with an average of 38.0 points per game. The Tigers are second in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing just 7.4 points per game. LSU's 38.0 points per game ranks 10th nationally, while the Tiger defense is ranked No. 2 in the nation behind Georgia (6.8 points per game). In five games, LSU has outscored its opposition 190 to 37, which includes a 118 to 6 margin in the first half.



Russell-To-Bowe TD Combination Now Second Best Combo In School History


The pitch and catch combination of JaMarcus Russell-to-Dwayne Bowe ran their TD streak to 15 with a second quarter score against Mississippi State. The 15 touchdowns between the pair (Russell throwing and Bowe catching) ranks as the second most prolific scoring combo in school history. Russell and Bowe hooked up for 8 TDs in 2005 after combining for 4 scores in 2004. This year, the duo has combined for 3 touchdowns. Tommy Hodson-to-Wendell Davis ranks as the most prolific TD combination in school history as the duo accounted for 21 touchdowns during their careers.



Craig Davis Reception Streak At 28 Straight


With 6 catches for 101 yards against Mississippi State, senior WR Craig Davis has caught at least one pass in 28 straight games. The streak dates back to LSU's season-opener in 2003 against Oregon State. Davis caught at least one pass in all 12 games a year ago. Davis missed the Mississippi State and Florida contests with injuries a year ago. In 11 games in 2005, Davis caught 35 passes for 559 yards and 2 TDs. This year, Davis ranks first on the team with 25 catches for 394 yards and 1 TD.



Colt David PAT Streak At 57 Straight


LSU PK Colt David ran his streak of successful PATs to 57 straight by connecting on all four of his attempts against Mississippi State. The 57 straight successful PATs ranks as the third-longest streak in school history, trailing only David Browndyke (109 straight) and Andre' Lafleur (69).



Dorsey Already An All-American? Yes, According To Dennis Dodd And Ivan Maisel


LSU DT Glenn Dorsey, the leader of the Tiger defensive front, has already been tabbed as an All-American by a pair of national sportswriters. Dorsey played so well against Auburn that CBSsportsline's Dennis Dodd wrote, "based on Saturday, Glenn Dorsey should be named an All-American right now. End of discussion."'s Ivan Maisel wrote, "three-quarters of the season is left, but if LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey continues to perform the way he did Saturday (vs. Auburn), you can write his name in ink on your All-America team." Dorsey keyed an LSU defense that held Auburn to 182 yards of offense. Dorsey finished with 8 tackles, 3 tackles for losses (17 yards) and 1.5 sacks (11 yards). He also added a QB hurry in the game. For the season, Dorsey is second on the team with 23 tackles. He also has 6.0 tackles for losses and 2 sacks.



Tyson Jackson Leads The SEC In Sacks


With two sacks against Mississippi State, LSU DE Tyson Jackson now leads the SEC in total sacks with 5.5 to his credit this year. Jackson's 5.5 sacks have resulted in 25 yards in losses for opposing quarterbacks. LSU's other DE Chase Pittman is fifth in the league in sacks with 4.0 through the first five games of the season.


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