Florida is going back to a redshirt freshman quarterback and LSU is sticking with a fifth-year senior quarterback for their Southeastern Conference game on Saturday in Gainesville, Fla.
Feleipe Franks returns to the starting lineup for the 21st-ranked Gators (3-1, 3-0 SEC) a week after Luke Del Rio suffered a season-ending collarbone injury during the 38-24 victory against Vanderbilt.
Danny Etling remains the starter for the Tigers (3-2, 0-1), and coach Ed Orgeron says he plans to play Etling the whole game after giving true freshman Myles Brennan playing time in four of five games.
Franks started the first three games before being benched in the second half of a win over Kentucky on Sept. 23. After Del Rio was injured against Vanderbilt, Franks completed 10 of 14 passes for 185 yards in that game.
"Feleipe has been growing ever since the first game," Gators tackle Jawaan Taylor said. "I feel like he's going to get even better and better each week as games go by."
Franks likely will have to operate without the team's leading wide receiver, Tyrie Cleveland, who sprained an ankle against Vanderbilt. Cleveland is averaging 21.7 yards on 15 catches.
"It definitely hurts a lot," sophomore wide receiver Josh Hammond told The Gainesville Sun. "He was definitely a big problem for defenses. Definitely a big, vertical, deep threat and definitely helped take things off a lot of other guys."
LSU has lost two of its last three games. It was routed by Mississippi State 37-7 in its SEC opener three weeks ago, and after beating Syracuse 35-26, it was shocked by Troy 24-21 last Saturday in Tiger Stadium.
Etling completed 17 of 25 passes for 198 yards, and Brennan completed 4 of 7 for 68 yards.
"Danny is our starter," Orgeron said.
"Hopefully we can go four quarters with him in a very big football game. We've never planned to play Myles in one of the SEC games to just throw him in there. We're just preparing Myles in case Danny got hurt, that he has some snaps and can perform. And I think he has performed pretty well."
The Tigers went scoreless in the first half against Troy before Brennan replaced Etling to start the third quarter. Brennan led LSU to one touchdown, but after Brennan threw an interception Etling returned and threw two touchdown passes before being intercepted.
"It's always nice to get a vote of confidence to make it seem like you'll play the whole game and get that opportunity to finish the game in any type of situation," Etling said. "I'll still kind of go about the same way I've been doing, whether or not I get to play the whole game or just half the game or whatever they want to do."
Though the quarterback position seems to have stabilized, the same can't be said for the LSU running backs.
Derrius Guice, the SEC's rushing champion last year, sat out last week's game because of a leg injury. He returned to practice this week, but his backup, Darrel Williams, who has out-gained Guice (320-314) this season, suffered an undisclosed injury against Troy that kept him out of practice early in the week.
This game was originally scheduled to be played in Baton Rouge, La., but last year's meeting was moved from Gainesville to Baton Rouge because of the threat of Hurricane Matthew to Florida. As a result of delicate negotiations to reschedule last year's game, these teams will meet two years in a row in Gainesville.
Florida won last year's meeting 16-10, stopping the Tigers on two rushes from the Gators' 1 on the final two plays of the game.
"It meant a lot to win that game," Gators linebacker David Reese said told the Florida Times-Union, "and it's going to mean a lot to win this game in the Swamp this year."
The loss to Florida was a rare blemish on LSU's record during a 6-2 finish after Orgeron was named head coach when Les Miles was fired after a 2-2 start.
But this Tigers team already has lost as many games as last year's team did under Orgeron, and the lopsided margin against Mississippi State and the surprising loss against Troy jolted the LSU program.