This week’s SEC Game of the Week, between the LSU Tigers and Florida Gators, features two top 25 teams that use opposite styles of play. LSU has been using their new offense to overpower opponents. On the other hand, Florida has been using a suffocating defense to shut down opposing offenses.
This top 25 matchup is in effect an SEC elimination game. A loss by either team virtually eliminates them from both the SEC Title Game and National Championship. Florida lost a tough game on the road to the Miami Hurricanes 21- 16.
If the Gators lose to LSU the National Championship is out of the question, but they could still represent the SEC East if they win the remainder of their SEC games. Florida still has a pivotal SEC game with Georgia still on their schedule.
An LSU loss would be detrimental to their season. The Tigers already have an SEC loss, so losing to Florida would remove any hope of earning a rematch with Georgia. LSU needs a big victory here as they prepare for their big date with the Crimson Tide on the 9th of November.
The game between Florida and LSU will feature Zach Mettenberger, one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, and a quarterback that is only starting because Jeff Driskel is injured. Tyler Murphy has stepped up and played well in Driskel’s absence, but his success has come against three of the worst defenses in the SEC.
Mettenberger has been one of the SEC’s top quarterbacks all season and he is only getting better. Mettenberger has thrown for 15 touchdown passes this season, and last week was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week.
Florida has primarily used two running backs this season, Matt Jones and Mack Brown. Together the running back combination has been rather ordinary and has combined for 606 yards on the ground, thirteen more yards than LSU’s leading rusher Jeremy Hill has by himself.
The LSU passing game has been stellar this season, but that has not taken away from the strength of the ground game. LSU uses four running backs effectively. The fourth most used running back, Kenny Hilliard, has five rushing touchdowns this season.
Florida has three primary receivers that have all made a positive contribution to the team. However, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham have been the best receiving duo in the entire nation. They have out gained the entire Florida team by 295 receiving yards. Landry and Beckham have been extremely impressive and have combined for 13 touchdown grabs this season.
Every offensive category points toward LSU in this contest, but the defense is quite the opposite. The LSU defense lost eight defenders to the NFL draft last season, the most in the country. The departure of key athletes has been obvious this season. Defense has been a staple for LSU in years past, but this year LSU is having to find ways to win games despite their defense.
Florida on the other hand has been winning games because of their defense. The gator defense is led by Loucheiz Purifoy, Antonio Morrison, Dante Fowler and Ronald Powell. These four defenders are four of the best at their job in the entire country. The Gators are fourth in the country in points allowed this season, and have completely denied opposing offenses opportunities for success.
LSU has one of the most complete offensive attacks in the entire nation. Florida has a mean defense that has yet to be solved this season. It is going to be a classic strength vs. strength in this epic battle with the loser all but guaranteed of missing out on the SEC championship game.