Steve's game-day report: Tigers will edge out the Gators
It’s a pivotal SEC contest today as LSU and Florida meet as ranked foes for the ninth straight season. The Gators lead the all-time series 30-25-3, and they hold a 14-11-3 edge against the Tigers when playing in the Swamp. LSU, however, has won the last two meetings, and are seeking their first three-game win streak over Florida since 1977-80.
The LSU offense is scoring an average of 39 point per game and prides itself on putting forth a balanced effort each time out. The Tigers put up on average 230 yards per game on the ground and 203 through the air. However, the rushing attack has been the main source of scoring, as its produced 16 of the 22 offensive TDs. Tailback Kenny Hilliard leads the team with 366 yards and six TDs, and a total of five players have at least 100 yards on the year.
The Tigers' aerial attack is led by QB Zach Mettenberger, who has completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 1,016 yards, and has six TDs and two interceptions. Receivers Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham, Jr., and Kadron Boone have combined for 44 grabs, 627 yards, and all six of Mett's scoring strikes.
Like so many years past, this year’s LSU defense is among the best in the nation, allowing just 12.6 points and 218 total yards per game. The Tigers have been equally tough against the rush and pass, yielding just 83 yards per game on the ground and only 135 through the air. They also average more than eight tackles for loss per contest, and have logged 11 sacks and 12 turnovers. Linebacker Kevin Minter leads the team with 34 tackles, while safety Micah Eugene has a club-best three sacks. Both cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Ronald Martin have a pair of interceptions. Opponents have not scored a single point in the third quarter this season against LSU, and average just four points in the second half of games against the Tigers.
Florida has used the ground attack to maximum efficiency this season, averaging 225 yards per game. Running back Mike Gillislee has rumbled his way to 402 yards and five TDs already. As for the Gators' passing attack, it typically generates 183 yards per contest, with QB Jeff Driskell hitting the mark on nearly 70 percent of his throws. He has just four passing TDs, and has been picked off only once. Tight end Jordan Reed is the club's top receiver, having hauled in 16 balls for 193 yards and a score. The one area of concern if you're Coach Will Muschamp is opponents getting to the quarterback, which is 12 times already.
Defensively, Florida has enjoyed similar success to that of LSU, allowing a mere 12.8 point per game and has given up only two passing scores all season. They are led by defensive back Josh Evans and his 26 total tackles, while the entire defense has been credited with 20 tackles for loss and six takeaways. Additionally, the Gators have yet to allow a point in the fourth quarter of a game this year.
Both teams have exceptional defenses, so don't expect either to cruise up and down the field when they have the ball. LSU probably has more overall talent, but winning in the Swamp isn't easy, so expect a real dogfight.
The Tigers have been noticeably sleepwalking through the last couple of games and have the doubters out in force wondering if the cracks in the dam are real. Here's the deal: The praise of the Gator's defense is well deserved…BUT, they haven't played a team as proficient at running the ball and as physically controlling of the line of scrimmage as LSU.
This should be a close, hard-hitting game, but the experience of Les Miles squad gives the Tigers the edge.
My Prediction: LSU 23, Florida 21
Tags : Topics : SportsSocial : SportsLocations : FloridaPeople : Jalen Mills, Jeff Driskell, Jordan Reed, Josh Evans, Kadron Boone, Kenny Hilliard, Kevin Minter, Les Miles, Micah Eugene, Mike Gillislee, Odell Beckham , Jr., Receivers Jarvis Landry, Ronald Martin, Will Muschamp, Zach Mettenberger