Comign into Saturday's shwodown, no doubt the offense is the strength of the Florida Gators while the LSU Tigers boast a suffocating defense. Here we break down which one will give as the top-ranked Tigers and the 9th-ranked Gators go head to head on Saturday.
LSU rushing offense
vs. Florida rushing defense
Judging from the stat book, LSU has
done a good job of running the football this season. Through five games, the
Tigers are averaging 223 yards per game on the ground, good enough for
16th nationally. But last Saturday's performance against Tulane left
something to be desired. In the first half, the Tigers were held to minus-11
yards on the ground. In the last two quarters, though, LSU earned 145 yards on
the ground finishing with 134 total. The offensive line didn't play well, was
plagued with motion penalties and gave up six sacks. That has to improve against
defense that gives up only 63.4 yards per game.
LSU passing offense
While Florida might be good
facing the run, it is just the opposite against the pass. The Gators' secondary
is allowing 247 yards per game through the air, that's 80th in the
nation. Matt Flynn might have gotten off to a rough start versus Tulane, but he
finished 16 of 29 for 258 yards. In the second half, Flynn was 8 of 11 for 120
yards. Ryan Perrilloux has gotten lots of snaps over the last two weeks under
center, but he has thrown only a handful of passes. Could Les Miles be saving
Perrilloux's rocket arm for the Gators' porous secondary?
Florida rushing offense
vs. LSU rushing defense
Unstoppable force meet the
immovable object. Something has to give here. Florida's offense is quite explosive, but it
all starts with quarterback Tim Tebow. The Gators offense is simple, give the
ball to the 6-3, 235-pound quarterback and let him work his magic. Tebow likes
to run designed running plays, but he has yet to face a rushing defense like the
one he will meet Saturday. Tebow ran 19 times for a hard-earned 75 yards against
Auburn, but LSU
is giving up only 39 yards per game on the ground. If Tebow intends to play his
game, he'll definitely feel it next Sunday morning back in Gainesville.
Florida passing offense
vs. LSU passing defense
Many people are fooled by Tebow
thinking he is a big bruising running quarterback that can't throw the ball.
That is the farthest thing for the truth. Tebow has complete 85 of 122 passes
for 1,297 yards and 11 touchdowns. Plus, he has thrown only two interceptions.
He will, however, be going against a defense that is allowing only 135 yards per
game through the air, that ranks fifth nationally. No quarterback that has
started the game this season versus LSU's defense has finished the game. Also,
the Gators are No. 1 in the nation in sacks allowed giving .40 per game. LSU is
fifth in the nation in sacking the quarterback logging almost four per game.
LSU special teams
"Punt ugly" was beginning to look
downright attractive after the first three games. But South Carolina and Tulane
have put monstrous pressure on LSU punter Patrick Fisher and he has been
fortunate not to have a punt fully blocked. Colt David is still very solid on
field goals and PATs and LSU kickoff coverage has improved. Florida kicker Joey Ijjas
hasn't missed an extra point and is 4 of 6 on field goals. Punter Chas Henry is
averaging only 36.9 yards per punt, but his uncanny ability to produce amazing
hangtime has resulted in no punt returns by an opponent this season.