Florida's most lopsided loss in 2011 was a 41-11 thrashing at LSU's hands in Baton Rouge. 2012 looks like a very different year for the Gators, which might be why quarterback Jeff Driskel is predicting a "closer game" in this Saturday's clash between the two teams:
Gators QB Jeff Driskel, regarding last year's 41-11 loss to LSU and playing the Tigers this week: "It'll be much closer."— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) October 1, 2012
Driskel also mentioned Florida's confidence as the reason for a closer game, but, really, there's no way that LSU team beats these Gators by 30 points on Saturday. That LSU team, after all, needed a touchdown in the final two minutes to get to 41 — even though it thoroughly destroyed the Gators. Marcus Roberson slipped on one big play in coverage; Florida was playing with its third-string quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, on the day, and Brissett was making his first career start as a true freshman; Brad Wing's fake punt for a touchdown should have been sniffed out by any semi-competent punt coverage team playing a Les Miles team.
That LSU team also got some uncharacteristically big plays, with Rueben Randle catching a 46-yard touchdown pass on the second play from scrimmage and hauled in another 57-yard pass. LSU had just nine passing plays of 40 or more yards in 2011, and just four of more than 50; that they burned the Gators twice on deep balls was fluky, even against a very green Florida secondary.
This year, Florida's secondary is tougher, and the quarterback making the start isn't making his first career start on the road, and there's no injured Jeff Demps the coaching staff is trying to shoehorn into a game plan, and LSU's secondary is weaker, and the LSU offense is even less imposing. A 30-point margin of victory would be a devastating blow to Florida's rebuilding effort — and, fortunately, it seems like a virtual impossibility.