PREVIEW: Getting to know the Gators

The LSU Tigers travel to Gainesville Saturday for a pivotal SEC matchup with Eastern Division leader Florida. Kickoff is set for 2:30 CDT.

QUICK FACTS:

 

 

FLORIDA GATORS

 

All-Time Series: Florida leads 22-27-3

 

Stadium: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (88,548)

 

First Meeting: 1937, LSU 19, Florida 0

 

Last Meeting: 2005, LSU 21, Florida 17

 

Conference: SEC

 

Head Coach: Urban Meyer, 14-3, 2nd year at UF

          53-11 overall, 6 years

 

2005 in Review: 9-3, 5-3 SEC

 

Final '05 Ranking: 12 AP, 16 Coaches

 

Off./Def. Systems: Spread/Multiple 4-3

 

Returning Starters: 14; 6 offense, 6 defense, kicker, punter

 

Last Bowl Appearance: 2006 Outback Bowl

                                       Florida 31, Iowa 24

 

Last Conference Championship: 2000

 

 

 

STATISTICAL LEADERS

 

Rushing: DeShawn Wynn – 64 attempts, 359 yards, 3 TD

 

Passing: Chris Leak – 130-84-4, 1,240 yards, 14 TD

 

Receiving: Dallas Baker – 27 catches, 448 yards, 5 TD

 

Tackles: Tony Joiner – 32 TT (21 S, 11 A)

 

 

2006 SCHEDULE

 

Date                    Opponent                                 '05 Result

 

S-2                  W, 34-7 Southern Miss           ---

 

S-9                  W, 42-0 Central Florida           ---

 

S-16                W, 21-20 at Tennessee           W, 16-7

 

S-23                W, 26-7 Kentucky                  W, 49-28

 

S-30                W, 28-13 Alabama                  L, 31-3

 

O-7                  LSU                                     L, 21-17

 

O-14                at Auburn                             ---

 

O-28                vs. Georgia (Jax)                    W, 14-10

 

N-4                  at Vanderbilt                         W, 49-42 (2 OT)

 

N-11                South Carolina                       L, 30-22

 

N-18                Western Carolina                    ---

 

N-25                at Florida State                     W, 34-7

 

 

Head to Head:

 

Florida S vs. LSU WR

Reggie Nelson vs. Dwayne Bowe

 

Reggie Nelson was a one-man show versus Alabama, logging five tackles and a critical fumble recovery which led to the Gators' go-ahead touchdown. On the year, the junior from Melbourne (Fla.) Palm Bay High School has 14 tackles and four interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Nelson is a physical player at 6-1, 195, but he will face the most physical player he will have seen so far this season when he squares off against LSU wideout Dwayne Bowe.

 

 

Florida WR vs. LSU CB

Dallas Baker vs. Jonathan Zenon

 

Dallas Baker is one of the most explosive wide receivers in the SEC as well as the nation. The 6-3, 206-pound senior is one of quarterback Chris Leak's favorite targets. On the year, Baker has already logged 27 catches for 448 yards and five touchdowns. Jonathan Zenon got off to a fast start this season but was slowed by a concussion during the early stages of the loss at Auburn. Look for Zenon to jump back onto the scene, going man-up on Baker.

 

 

Player to Watch:

 

Chris Leak

 

QB, Senior ~ 6-0, 207

Independence HS

Charlotte, NC

 

Why is it important to stop him?

 

Coming into the 2006 season, Chris Leak was regarded as the best quarterback in the SEC, as well as one of the top signal callers in the nation. A Heisman Trophy candidate, Leak has finally embraced Urban Meyer's offense after struggling with the gimmicky "spread" offense as a junior. Leak ranks ninth nationally in passing efficiency, is averaging 310 yards passing per game, and has tossed 14 touchdowns. Leak is complemented by talented freshman Tim Tebow, who makes cameo appearances on short yardage situations.

 

Who has to stop him?

 

It should be an interesting matchup between the SEC's best quarterback and the nation's top secondary. The Tiger stoppers rank third in Division I in passing yards allowed (124) and are the top-rated unit in terms of passing efficiency defense. The Tigers rank fifth in the nation, averaging 3.8 sacks per game. Tyson Jackson leads the way with 3.5 sacks.


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