Five things to ponder about the Florida-LSU game:
1. With Jarrad Davis and Marcus Moye out, can the Florida defense stand up to the LSU attack?
It’ll have to. It’s hard to see Florida winning this game without a great defensive performance. You know, the kind of performance missing in the second half against Tennessee and in the Arkansas game. The Gators are third in the nation in defense, but LSU is 13th, which isn’t bad either.
2. Leonard Fournette rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns in LSU’s narrow win over the Gators last year. Is stopping him the key?
Not anymore. Fournette is still a talented running back, but these days, the Tigers depend on another face, too. Sophomore Darren Guice (881) actually has more yards rushing than Fournette (803). Florida is 12th in the nation against the run, hinting this could be a low-scoring game.
3. Florida quarterback Austin Appleby once beat out LSU’s Danny Etling when both were at Purdue. Does that give the Gators an edge?
Maybe a small one. But LSU has an offense less dependent on its quarterback than Florida’s. The Gators will go in looking to break a big play behind running back Jordan Scarlett or wide receiver Antonio Callaway, but Florida has struggled on offense all season. Building a consistent offense has been the disappointing part of Jim McElwain‘s era. The Gators are ranked only 95th in the country.
4. Is Florida afraid of the game?
LSU linebacker Arden Keys says they are. He says the Gators postponed the first game because they were injured, and now, without all their stars, they’re afraid. (Florida’s players, of course, deny this).
So is that just more trash talking? We’ll see. Florida is the underdog in this game, but are they afraid? Doubtful.
5. Who’s playing for the most?
It’s a toss-up. With a victory, the Gators win the SEC East and get to the conference title game. But LSU’s players seem to like interim coach Ed Orgeron. A victory against Florida would help him in his quest to make the job assignment permanent.