Head to Head:
Anchoring the Florida offensive line, Mike Degory has been a rock for the Gators. Florida is running the ball more these days than in the past, but the Gator offense is still successful when it throws the ball around. LSU's Kyle Williams need to keep constant pressure on Degory as he gets the snap back to quarterback Chris Leak.
Florida LB vs. LSU RB
While Florida's defense got ripped against Alabama, the gators actually have one of the best defensive units in the SEC. A unit led by led by linebacker Earl Everret, who has 28 tackles, two for loss and a sack on the year, the gators have an attacking defnse under coordinator Charlie String. Plus, they are pretty good against the run limiting opponents to just 91 yards per game meaning workhorse Joseph Addai will have to work hard for yardage.
Player to Watch:
Why it is important to stop him?
Chris Leak is arguably the best quarterback in the SEC along with Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler and Alabama's Brodie Croyle. Leak is highly efficient, doesn't make a lot of mistakes and is elusive as well. He is a smart decision maker and can tuck it and run as well.
Who has to stop him?
The LSU defense has logged 15 sacks in the last three games terrorizing quarterbacks in the process. The Tigers blitz packages have worked against the likes of Miss. State and Vanderbilt, but can LSU penetrate Florida's offensive front and get to Leak. They had better or this game will resemble one of Sam Keller and Arizona State.
LSU rushing offense vs. Florida rushing defense:
The LSU Tigers have had no problems running the ball this season on anyone. While the Tigers did struggle against Tennessee in the second half, LSU has pretty much moved the ball on the ground in every game with a nice dose of Joseph Addai, Shyrone Carey and an improving Justin Vincent. The Gators are solid against the run giving up just 91 yards per game. Sounds pretty even
LSU passing offense vs. Florida passing defense:
LSU will throw the ball well against Florida, just ask Brodie Croyle. As long as JaMarcus Russell gets plenty of time to throw the ball (a la Vanderbilt), he can carve up Florida's secondary, much the way Croyle did in beating the gators 31-3. Jimbo Fisher has done a good job of putting Russell in good situations throwing high-percentage passes and look for more of the same Saturday.
Florida rushing offense vs. LSU rushing defense:
Urban Meyer wants to run the ball in his spread offensive set saying he wants to run at least 70 plays every game – 25 on the ground and 35 through the air. However, he doesn't quite have the personnel to do exactly what he wants the way he did in Utah. DeShawn Wynn is Florida's leading rusher with 265 yards and six TDs. LSU held Vanderbilt to 25 yards on the ground and now ranks second in the nation giving up just 62 yards per game on the ground.
Florida passing offense vs. LSU passing defense:
This is tricky. Some folks were touting Jay Cutler as the league's best quarterback after Chris Leak and the Gators got trashed by Alabama. Now, Cutler is in the dog house. It is apparent, Leak isn't durable enough to run the option in Meyer's system and is better served throwing the ball form the pocket. However, it will be interesting to see if Meyer sticks with what he has been doing when he comes to LSU. At any rate, LSU jumped 20 spots in pass defense rankings this week holding Cutler to just 113 yards passing. The Tigers are getting better on defense, especially in the secondary, but are they in time. If LSU doesn't get enough pressure on Leak and he is allowed to stand in the pocket, look out.
LSU special teams vs. Florida special teams:
The Tigers special teams are a big reason LSU is 3-1. Chris Jackson has been the most valuable player so far downing 50-percent of his punts inside the 20. Skyler Green constantly gives LSU good field position on punt and kick returns, however, penalties have hurt. Florida took advantage of several special teams blunders in beating Tennessee. It is likely they won't get the same chances against LSU.
Les Miles got cheated out of enjoying a victory in his debut in Tiger Stadium. The Tigers will be fired up to deliver a victory to their coach. Urban Meyer was rudely greeted to the SEC West by getting hammered by Alabama. Expect LSU hungry to give him more of the same. Plus, Tiger players and fans have not forgotten the gators' last trip to baton Rouge, when Florida spoiled the Tigers' perfect season.
Florida is struggling right now. Believe it or not, but the Gators' 35-9 win over Mississippi State wasn't as decisive as it appeared in the newspapers. Florida is having major issues on offense and is really struggling to score points. The Gators managed 16 against Tennessee and three at Alabama. Not good, especially going up against a team that is improving rapidly on defense. Florida proved they can score points in a hurry running up 49 in the first half versus Kentucky, but LSU is not Kentucky. The Tigers can score points at will and need a fast start to get Russell in an early rhythm. If that happens and the Tiger defense is anywhere as good as it was in Nashville, it will be a long flight back to Gainesville for Meyer and the Gators.
LSU 27, Florida 16