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LSU vs. Florida Prediction: Tigers and Gators Renew Rivalry in The Swamp

LSU has won three in a row over Florida.

The LSU Tigers and the Florida Gators will continue their storied rivalry this Saturday at The Swamp.

Related: College Football Predictions for Every Game in Week 7

Normally, the Tigers and Gators would be ranked when these two teams meet, but that is not the case this season. LSU (4-2, 2-1 SEC) was No. 25 last week but was destroyed by Tennessee 40-13 on its own home turf. Florida (4-2, 1-2) has won two straight since also losing to Tennessee, 38-33, back on Sept. 24.

Saturday will mark the 69th meeting between the Gators and the Tigers. Florida leads the series, 33-32-3, and owns a 16-14-3 advantage in Gainesville.

LSU at Florida

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Florida -2.5
Tickets: As low as $77 on SITickets.com

When LSU Has the Ball

After transferring from Arizona State, Jayden Daniels has played well under center for the Tigers. He has thrown for 1,215 yards and seven touchdowns with just one interception.

However, LSU has gotten off to slow starts in all three of its SEC games. Against Tennessee, the Tigers fumbled the ball on the opening kickoff. That allowed the Volunteers to score an early touchdown. The lead would grow to 20-0 before LSU finally got on the scoreboard with a touchdown late in the second quarter.

"We certainly can't start the way we did," head coach Brian Kelly said earlier this week. "The great part about it is you get to flip the script and get back to work and get ready for a trip to Gainesville and a very difficult place to play on the road."

More production from the running game besides Daniels (359 yds., 3 TDs) would be a good place to start. No other Tiger has more than 199 rushing yards this season and that player (Armoni Goodwin) has missed the past two games because of injury. Florida is second to last in the SEC in rushing defense (186 ypg), so perhaps LSU's committee approach will work on Saturday.

When Florida Has the Ball

The Gators' offense has had its peaks and valleys this season, as Anthony Richardson has been inconsistent. Richardson has accumulated 1,182 passing yards in six games with more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (five). Richardson's struggles are a big reason why Florida is 92nd nationally in passing offense (222.3 ypg).

But running the ball hasn't been a problem. The Gators are 19th in FBS with 213.7 rushing yards per game and went for 231 in last week's 24-17 home win over Missouri. Running backs Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne have combined for 674 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Richardson is third on the team with 286 rushing yards and tied with Johnson in rushing scores (five each).

LSU has done a decent job of stopping the run. The Tigers come into this game sixth in the SEC at 134.8 yards per game and are allowing 3.9 yards per carry. Opponents have scored a total of five rushing touchdowns in six games. However, Tennessee gashed LSU for 263 yards (5.4 ypc) and two scores on the ground last week, both season highs allowed by the Tigers, and that was at home. 

Final Analysis

It is pretty straightforward as to how this game will be decided. Florida will look to rely on its ground game. If LSU can do a better job against the run this week compared to last week's effort against Tennessee, that will force Richardson to have to make plays with his arm. That is the Tigers' best-case scenario on defense.

Even though Daniels has had his ups and downs, he's been more reliable than Richardson when it comes to quarterback play. The key for LSU on offense is to put some scoring drives together early to avoid digging itself into another early hole, especially on the road in The Swamp.

Expect another close game between these rivals. Special teams could play a huge role in this matchup, an area that slightly appears to favor the home team. That may be it all takes to for the Gators to end their three-game losing streak in this series.

Prediction: Florida 27, LSU 24

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— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders, and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

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