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Five questions about the rescheduled Florida-LSU game

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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.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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