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Florida vs. LSU, Game Thread, first half: 25 predictions for a Death Valley showdown

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Can Florida beat LSU? Sure. Will it? I'm not so sure.

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When Florida and LSU meet tonight (7 p.m., ESPN or WatchESPN), it will be LSU's chance to win three straight in the series for the third time ever and first time since 1980. It will be LSU's chance to be the SEC's last unbeaten, and the unassailed lord of the SEC West for the time being.

And it will be Florida's chance to continue a Cinderella season in which the Gators have exceeded every expectation.

Florida will have to do that with Treon Harris at quarterback, after Will Grier's season-ending suspension was announced on Monday. It will have to do that against the nation's best running back, Leonard Fournette, and one year after Fournette emerged on the national stage by ripping off 140 yards against the Gators for his first 100-yard performance against a Power 5 team.

And it might. But I'm not counting on it.

I think Harris will struggle after the scripting stops. I think Fournette will run well, if not for 200 yards. And I think LSU will cleverly attack Florida's aggressive defense with quarterback runs to put the Gators in traction.

I think it will be close, too. I think Florida will have every chance to win.

But I also think the Gators are playing with house money. And I won't be too upset if they roll snake eyes just once this year, after an emotional week and against a team playing with a cauldron of intensity boiling over around it.

Here are my 25 predictions. I'd be okay with a few of them being wrong.

  1. Florida will not score first.
  2. The first score of the game will be a field goal.
  3. Neither team will lead by more than 20 in the first half.
  4. Treon Harris will not take every snap for Florida.
  5. Harris will have at least 40 rushing yards.
  6. Harris will throw for more than 175 yards.
  7. Treon Harris will have a better completion percentage than Brandon Harris.
  8. Both quarterbacks will throw an interception.
  9. Florida will average more than 4.5 yards per play on offense.
  10. A Florida tight end will make a touchdown catch.
  11. Florida will not have a run of more than 30 yards on the night.
  12. Florida will have at least five "explosive" plays on offense.
  13. LSU will hold Florida scoreless in at least one quarter.
  14. Florida will record two or more sacks.
  15. Cece Jefferson will have a big play.
  16. A defensive back will lead Florida in tackles.
  17. Florida will commit more than one turnover.
  18. Jalen Tabor will record at least one interception.
  19. Johnny Townsend will average better than 45 yards per punt.
  20. Florida will make no more than one field goal.
  21. Florida will not gain more than 350 yards.
  22. Florida will allow at least one play of 50 or more yards.
  23. LSU will not trail in the fourth quarter.
  24. Neither team will score more than 27 points.
  25. LSU will win, 23-17.

Last Week:

18-for-25, 72 percent.

Season to Date:

91-for-150, 60.7 percent.