Kelly, Napier get first taste of wild LSU-Florida series

Published 11:20 am Thursday, October 13, 2022

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LSU (4-2, 2-1 SEC) at Florida (4-2, 1-2), 7 p.m. ET, Saturday (ESPN)

Line: Florida by 3, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Florida leads 33-32-3.

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First-year coaches Brian Kelly and Billy Napier can move a step closer to bowl eligibility with a victory. LSU had been enjoying an impressive turnaround under Kelly until last week’s 40-13 debacle at Tennessee. Florida has been in every game this season under Napier, with both losses coming against ranked teams. The first meeting between the two coaches puts a spotlight on LSU athletic director Scott Woodward, who chose Kelly over Napier in Baton Rouge. Woodward preferred a proven commodity instead of the coach who had led Louisiana-Lafayette to four consecutive division titles in the Sun Belt Conference. If Napier wins the first of what’s expected to be many head-to-heads, it could start some second-guessing on the bayou.


Florida QB Anthony Richardson against LSU’s defensive front led by B.J. Ojulari. The Tigers were allowing 14.8 points a game until struggling against Hendon Hooker and the Volunteers last week. Richardson has been dynamic at times, but he also has at least one turnover in five straight games.


LSU: Ojulari leads LSU with 3½ sacks and twice has been named SEC defensive lineman of the week this season. He’ll be tasked with helping keep Richardson in the pocket.

Florida: LB Ventrell Miller is coming off an 11-tackle performance against Missouri that included 10 solo takedowns. He’s the best player on Florida’s flawed defense and one of the few guys capable of changing a game.


LSU has won three straight in the series — the past two have been wild finishes — and seven of nine. … The last meeting in Gainesville was epic, with the final minutes coming in an eerie fog and including a shoe toss that prompted a 15-yard penalty and set up Cade York’s 57-yard field goal. Florida’s Evan McPherson missed a tying 51-yarder on the final play. … LSU LT Will Campbell is expected to return to the starting lineup following a three-day hospital stay. Campbell collapsed during a walk-through last Friday and was hospitalized for tests. He was released Monday and returned to practice the following day. … LSU will start a different quarterback for the ninth straight trip to Gainesville. JaMarcus Russell (2004-06) was the program’s last QB to start consecutive games in Gainesville. … LSU’s Kayshon Boutte reached the 100-career reception mark last week. He has 100 receptions for 1,374 yards and 15 TDs in 21 games. … The Gators are playing their sixth home game in seven weeks to start the season. They are 4-1 in the Swamp. … Florida has scored in 429 consecutive games, an NCAA-record streak that began in 1988.