LSU Football: 5 Keys to the Game vs. Florida
If you are a fan of good, hard-nosed, defensive-minded college football, then this is the perfect game for you.
LSU and Florida will square off on Saturday afternoon in what promises to be a classic SEC clash.
Both teams are undefeated, LSU 5-0 and Florida 4-0, and both teams rely on a dominant run game and a suffocating defense.
This will undoubtedly be the Tigers' toughest test yet this season, but one that they will have to get through if they want to secure a second straight SEC Championship in 2012.
Let's go ahead and take an inside look at this SEC matchup and break down five keys to the game if the Tigers are going to leave Gainesville with a victory under their belts.
Bleacher Report style!
Contain Florida RB Mike Gillislee
LSU's run defense has been strong throughout this season, with the exception of last week's game against Towson, which still leaves me scratching my head.
After holding both Washington and Auburn under 100 yards rushing, the Tigers surrendered 188 yards on the ground to a Towson team that was shocked to even be playing in the same stadium as the Tigers, no less be within a touchdown of them at halftime.
This week, the Tigers will have the task of stopping Florida senior running back Mike Gillislee, who is arguably the best running back they have faced yet this season.
Gillislee has already totaled more than 400 yards and five touchdown in the Gators' four games this season. He torched Tennessee for 115 yards on just 18 carries and will look to do the same against Les Miles' defense on Saturday.
LSU has the talent to stop him, but will it happen?
Establish the Run Early and Often
LSU dominated Florida at home last season in a 41-11 rout.
They key to that game: stopping Florida's passing game on defense and establishing the run game on offense.
The Tigers combined to rush for 238 yards in that win last season, and the beauty of that is that every one of their running backs are back this season.
Alfred Blue, who rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown in this matchup last year, will likely miss another game with a foot injury. But the trio of Spencer Ware, Michael Ford and Kenny Hilliard should be more than enough to get it done on the ground for the Tigers.
Ware and Hilliard have already had breakout performances this season; perhaps this is Ford's game now to shine.
If LSU wants to come away with a victory, it needs at least one of them to have a breakout performance.
Pressure Jeff Driskel
Jeff Driskel is elusive, and he will burn this LSU team if it gives him too much time to step up in the pocket and deliver the ball to his receivers.
Fortunately for LSU, it has one of the top pass rushing attacks in the nation and should be able to provide plenty of pressure on Florida's shifty sophomore quarterback.
Driskel has been nothing short of spectacular thus far for Florida, completing 70 percent of his passes for 698 yards and four touchdowns in four games this season. But on the other hand, Driskel has yet to face a pass rush as athletic and aggressive as the one he will face on Saturday.
Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo have been somewhat quiet for their standards thus far this season.
Expect one, if not both, of these future first-round picks to have a breakout game and be in Driskel's face all afternoon long.
Time to let those defensive ends loose.
Take the Fans out of the Game Early
Everyone who follows college football closely knows very well that the swamp is not an inviting environment for visiting teams.
LSU will find out that first hand on Saturday, as the rowdy Florida cheering section will be on the Tigers' case early and often.
How do you stop that?
Simple: Get out to a big lead and take the visiting crowd out of the game.
LSU is the better football team, but beating Florida in the swamp is no easy task. If the Tigers can establish the run early and jump out to a nice lead, they should be able to hush this rowdy crowd, which will only help as the game goes on.
Let's see what the Tigers can do come Saturday.
Get Zach Mettenberger Comfortable
Easier said than done, right?
This will be Zach Mettenberger's second road start as LSU's starting quarterback.
The first one, against Auburn, did not go as well as it could have.
Mettenberger seemed nervous and tense in that game, rushing several throws and fumbling away the ball on two separate occasions.
This Florida defense is just as good as, if not better than, that Auburn defense Mettenberger faced two weeks ago. This defense will make it a point to get after Mettenberger and pressure the first-year signal-caller into making some quick decisions.
How Mettenberger handles that pressure could ultimately decide the final outcome of this game.