Florida vs. LSU: 10 Things We Learned from Tigers' Win
In LSU's 17-6 victory against Florida at home, the Tigers proved that they are a versatile football team.
After averaging 45.5 points per game and nearly giving up 25 points per game in the first six contests of the season, the Tigers buckled down and played like the LSU of old.
In a game that featured toughness, fans learned that the Tigers can change their style of play to win football games.
That was just one lesson taught over the course of the ballgame. Here are 10 others.
Defense Can Still Win in This League
Some teams still play defense in the SEC after all.
Heading into the contest, I talked with Anthony Johnson about the defense's struggles, and he seemed like he was tired of discussing it.
After producing eight tackles for loss and four sacks, both totals being season highs, the Tigers told everyone that they remember how to play defense.
LSU held the Gators to 240 yards of offense and six points, which ultimately led to an LSU victory.
Heisman Talk Will Slow Down for Mettenberger
Media members and fans alike put the cart before the horse entering the Florida game.
Just about everyone stated that a big performance against Florida would boost Mettenberger's Heisman stock.
Well, a 152-passing-yard performance without any touchdown throws will probably see him fall out of the top 10 in the Heisman race.
That doesn't reflect Mettenberger's performance, though. He played well, putting the ball where it needed to be in critical moments. It wasn't his normal air raid show, but it was good enough to get the win.
Tre'Davious White Is Gaining Confidence
You knew there would be a slide about the guy.
It seems like every week he's on here, but that's just because he has a huge impact on the game.
With a frame that enables him to post up wide receivers and play them physically, Tre'Davious White didn't allow his receiver to break away from him.
And when he did? Well, the second quarter gave us a prime example of this guy's athleticism, as he chased down the receiver and nearly made an interception out of nowhere. He continues to improve.
Jalen Mills Move to Nickel Is Beneficial
Jalen Mills had a bright smile this week at practice.
The reason? He's back playing the position he played last year for the Tigers. The result has seen him become a more effective player, but it's had a resounding impact on this defense.
Ever since the change, the Tigers have given up nine total points.
Rashard Robinson and White showed that they can play cornerback, and with Mills lurking around at the nickel position, this LSU defense is able to provide more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The Tigers Defense Found Pride
You could see it in the players' eyes at media interviews this past week.
The defense was sick of hearing about how soft it was. It took it out on Mississippi State in the second half with a much improved effort, and against Florida, the Tigers picked up where they left off.
Anthony Johnson said after the game that La'el Collins told him that the Gators thought LSU's defensive line was soft.
Johnson and his unit took those words to heart and dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the contest.
Danielle Hunter Can Channel His Inner Dikembe Mutombo
Use those long limbs, Danielle.
Danielle Hunter put in his first complete game since putting the LSU uniform on. Hunter was active in the backfield and in run support.
However, his greatest contribution to the team was his long, athletic arms. Time and time again, Tyler Murphy would drop back to pass and Hunter would knock down the pass at the line of scrimmage.
Great defensive linemen affect the game even when they can't get pressure on the quarterback. Hunter did just that against Florida.
LSU Won't Play a Better Defense All Year
Yes, I know Alabama is still on the schedule.
This Florida team is tough with athletes scattered all over the field.
No other team in the country can match defensive backs (Vernon Hargreaves III, Loucheiz Purifoy, Marcus Roberson) against LSU's elite wide receivers and hold them at bay for most of the game.
The Tigers finished the game with Landry sporting 58 receiving yards and Beckham reeling in only two catches for 47 yards. I ask again—what defense in the country can do that besides Florida?
The Veterans Can Answer the Call
Anthony Johnson said defensive coordinator John Chavis confronted him and a select few before the game Saturday.
Chavis told Johnson, Mills, Jermauria Rasco and Lamin Barrow that he expected more of them and it was their time to step up and lead this defense.
Those four answered the bell in a big way. Johnson and Mills had a sack, while Rasco provided pressure and Barrow recorded a career-high 13 tackles.
The veterans came to play with great leadership, and if they continue to do so, this LSU defense will be just fine.
The Running Game Can Carry the Offense
The offensive line fired off of the football against Florida.
With a game plan set to out-Florida Florida, the Tigers muscled the Gators defensive line around, and Jeremy Hill did the rest.
Hill rushed for 121 yards, which is nearly double the average that Florida has given up rushing per game in 2013.
When the receivers are covered and Mettenberger is not at his best, Hill and the big boys up-front have the LSU offense covered.
Never Call Miles the 'Nail'
A reporter made the mistake of calling LSU the nail in last year's encounter with Florida following the game. A classic Les Miles press conference ensued.
Miles went on a tangent, pleading with the media to give him a reason why LSU was the nail in a contest the Tigers could have won if not for a late turnover.
That led to him saying, "I thought my team played like a son of a b**** on that field." He used that term multiple times.
Remember you heard about the press conference here first, because you're going to be seeing it nonstop the next couple of days.
Jake Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a contributor for the The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials from The Sun Herald.
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