The LSU Tigers and the Florida Gators will meet with more than just a win on the line Saturday afternoon in Baton Rogue.
While the Tigers, ranked 10th in the AP poll, are trying to regroup after a loss to Georgia two weeks ago, the Gators are finding better footing with Tyler Murphy behind center and a growing and improving Florida offense.
Brent Pease and his game plan is beginning to pay off in a big way.
Can the Gators' defense, which is still as dominant as any in the country, stop the Tigers and Zach Mettenberger? Can Les Miles prove he still has a trick or two up his sleeve when it comes to playing the Gators? Does the Florida running game have the stones to run through the LSU defense?
For a game that is not in the division, it means everything to the SEC and the race to the championship game. At the end of the game, LSU could have two losses in the conference. Remember, Florida’s loss is from Miami, a team outside the conference, which means they are still undefeated in the SEC, which speaks volumes of competing for a title and possible BCS bowl game.
Here are three things to know about this clash of titans.
Florida quarterbacks do well in Louisiana
Tyler Murphy will become the eighth Florida quarterback since the Steve Spurrier Era began to make his first start in Baton Rouge on Saturday when the 17th-ranked Gators (4-1, 3-0) face No. 10 LSU (5-1, 2-1).
Call it magic or karma or something in the water, but the Gators' passers just do well. Can the LSU defensive do what it needs to calm down the hype of the backup-turned starter and make him hurry into mistakes?
Murphy must be controlling and use the clock and make smart decisions, use the running game and find his receivers who are open and not rush the pass as the pass rush will try to use against the Gators' offensive line.
Zach Mettenberger is better than we think
Mettenberger is now a household name. He is getting better, raising eyebrows and making a true name for himself. According to gamedayr.com, “His first year in Baton Rouge did not go too smoothly, but he has flourished as a senior under first year offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Through six games, he has completed 68.2-percent of his passes for 1,738 yards, 15 touchdowns and only two picks.”
The Gators' secondary could be chasing Odell Beckham (686 receiving yards and six scores) and Jarvis Landry (616, seven) all day long.
The defenses will rule the day
This will be a 20-17 game, either way. Will Muschamp will try running the football early and often. Sophomore Matt Jones is a star in the making. Mack Brown is the type of bruising backup that Muschamp loves to punish defensive fronts with. Both will have their opportunity to shine, but actually accumulating yardage will not be easy.
Can the front seven of the Gators' defense put pressure on Mettenberger early and often? The pass rush and force up front led to mistakes made by Arkansas last week and an interception returned for a touchdown by Louchiez Purifoy.
LSU is not Arkansas.