The murderer’s row portion of the LSU Tigers’ schedule continues in Saturday’s SEC tilt with the visiting Florida Gators. An ugly loss to Kentucky followed a heartbreaker at Tiger Stadium against Auburn for LSU. Meanwhile, the Gators took care of business against a bad Vanderbilt team in The Swamp after dropping a 20-13 loss at Kentucky. Florida suffered a 37-34 loss to LSU when these two teams last met up in 2020.
Florida can make it uglyLike boxing and MMA, there are favorable style matchups in football as well. Florida’s meeting on Saturday against LSU would count as one of those games. It would take nothing for the Gators to fee-fi-fo-fum all over the Tigers’ leaky defensive front.
Opposing teams are averaging 154 rushing yards per game against LSU this season. They might have escaped a trip to The Swamp, but the Gators are more than capable of bringing The Swamp to them.
The Gators’ offensive chomp is spearheaded by a rushing attack racking up 273.7 yards per game with a ridiculous 6.7 average per carry attempt. They nearly stifled Alabama in Week 3, and they piled 171 rushing yards on a stout Kentucky defense. Quarterback Emory Jones and Florida’s running backs should have a field day on this LSU defense. If running back Malik Davis is back, it could get downright ugly.
You don’t need a science degree in football X’s and O’s to figure out a game plan for this one.
With that said, LSU’s passing offense with Max Johnson under center will surely be a problem in this game. This isn’t Joe Burrow lighting up the field with Ja’Marr Chase and company, but Johnson has thrown for 1,730 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions.
He must be taken seriously.
The Gators have the pass rush to create problems in the offensive backfield, and their secondary is taking the ball away. They can make it a long night for the Tigers' offense if they show up on the road.
Can the LSU defense get off the field?LSU has to figure out a way to get stops defensively and give quarterback Max Johnson a chance to go to work. The last thing the team needs is Florida running the football and dominating the time of possession.
It’s no secret that’s the key to shutting down this LSU group.
The worst part is the fact that the Tigers’ defense has been terrible on third-down. Throw in the fact that they’re being pounded on the ground and it might end up being another long night of football for coach Ed Orgeron.
Johnson has to make the most of every opportunity he has with the ball because there’s a good chance there won’t be many of them for LSU’s offense. Their ground game stinks right now, and there are clearly problems on the offensive front. But they’ve still done a tremendous job of limiting turnovers, and they have the best red zone offense in the league. They’ve come away with points on 100 percent of their trips in that area.
It’s a good thing because they’ll need a lot of them to force the Gators out of their offensive shell.
The injury bug continues to be an issue for the Tigers with leading receiver Kayshon Boutte done for the season, along with standout cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and Eli Ricks also being on the shelf. Receiver Deion Smith is questionable, and the statuses of defensive players Ali Gaye, Joseph Evans and Major Burns are also up in the air.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Tigers have been bleeding yards on the ground all season, and now, they’ll be facing the No. 1-ranked rushing offense in the SEC. You can rest assured the Gators are going to lean into some good old-fashioned ground-and-pound and clock draining in this one. It’s all about limiting the chances for Max Johnson and the Tigers offense to respond. It will also ruin any hope for the team to settle into an offensive rhythm.
The dual efforts of Emory Jones will be the one thing LSU’s struggling defensive front won’t be able to overcome. Good luck stopping a team averaging 6.7 yards per carry with a run defense that has yielded nearly 1,000 yards on the ground in only six games.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, LSU is too dependent on the passing offense to survive a run-in with this Florida defense. The Gators are second only to the Georgia Bulldogs in putting heat on opposing quarterbacks, and it’s no secret that the Tigers’ offensive front has been a bit shaky this season. Bad things are going to happen if LSU expects to just drop back and pass all night against Florida.
I’m laying the points and taking the Gators.
Full-Game Total Pick
LSU would have a better shot at moving the ball in this game if they were coming in with a more balanced offensive attack. The inability to run the football will leave Max Johnson on an island to get feasted on by Florida’s pass rushers. It’s a recipe for disaster for a team already in the middle of a troublesome season. They were held to around 20 points against both Auburn and Kentucky in back-to-back losses. Florida is second behind Georgia in scoring defense with opponents averaging only 16.5 points per game. Give me the under on Saturday.