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NO. 5 Florida (5-0, 3-0 SEC) vs. NO. 9 LSU (4-1, 1-1), 3:30

By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published October 7, 2006


The nation's best total defense faces the SEC's best total offense. Led by quarterback Chris Leak, Florida leads the league at 438.4 yards a game, while the Tigers' defense is holding teams to 193.4 yards. Florida is putting its 12-game home winning streak on the line against LSU, which ranks among the top five in the nation in five defensive categories. Florida could get a boost with the return of suspended defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, but even without him the Gator defense has been stellar, allowing SEC opponents just 1.5 yards per carry. But this could be the toughest test of the season. The Gators are ranked No. 10 in the league in passing defense and LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell leads the SEC in pass efficiency (188.4) and has thrown 84 passes without an interception. And at 6 feet 6, 252 pounds, he's also mobile, which causes problems for defenses. He's surrounded by one of the best receiving trios in the country - Buster Davis, Dwayne Bowe and Early Doucet have combined for 64 receptions, 1,019 yards and eight touchdowns. Leak is tied for second in the nation in touchdown passes (14), but faces a starting defense that has allowed 13 points all season. The Tigers also lead the league in sacks with 19. LSU coach Les Miles likes the matchup of his defense against Florida's offense. This is the first time in the 53-game series that both teams enter in the AP top 10.