This season was supposed to be the coming out party for Florida Gators running back Matt Jones who took over the starting job for the departed Mike Gillislee, but a viral infection knocked him out of fall camp and zapped his breakout potential.
Through four games, Jones has three games with 50 or fewer yards and one monster game at Kentucky where he ran for a career high 176 yards, but that performance looks to be the exception rather than the norm. Florida’s No. 2 running back, Mack Brown has had some ups-and-downs with two games with more than 86 yards and three games with 39 or fewer yards.
Brown is averaging a modest 3.7 yards per carry while Jones has fared slightly better at 4.3, but collectively there is zero big-play ability in the ground game this year. To make matters worse neither provides any threat out of the backfield as a receiver as the duo has combined for seven receptions for 28 yard.
LSU has struggled stopping the run in their three SEC games vs. Auburn, Georgia and Mississippi State giving up an average of 208.3 yards per game, but each of those three teams had a runner who posted a 1,000-yard season the year before.
Look for LSU to stack the box and tackles Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson to stymy the Florida rushing game and force the Gators into long third downs and make them one-dimensional. Florida is averaging 192 yards per game on the ground which ranks 49th in the nation, but I think they may be held to half that on Saturday.