The LSU defense showed flashes of brilliance last Saturday in its 17-6 victory against Florida. The Tigers swarmed to the football, playing their roles to perfection.
Overall, the Tigers have been dominant on defense in their past six quarters of football, dating back to their 59-26 victory against Mississippi State. The Tigers now travel to Oxford to play Ole Miss, a team that has lost their last three games in SEC play.
But despite the Rebels' recent form, the Tigers will struggle on Saturday against Ole Miss.
LSU had a fantastic matchup against Florida. Inexperienced quarterback Trent Murphy was on the road with average weapons at his disposal. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease did not have his sharpest game calling plays. The Florida offensive line also made plenty of mistakes.
Ole Miss will be at home, so crowd noise and communication will be not be an issue. Their offensive line has been battled tested, only giving up six sacks thus far this season. Both Ole Miss quarterbacks have experience against the Tigers too.
The Rebels will be without a healthy Jeff Scott, by far their best running back. Donte Moncrief and Laquon Treadwell should do just fine if Bo Wallace throws the ball confidently.
Ole Miss will be able to move the football. But accumulating first downs and time of possession will not matter if LSU does not let them score.
LSU only allowed six points last week even though Florida possessed the ball for almost nine minutes longer than the Tigers. LSU made the critical stops when it mattered the most.
Florida's 14-6 victory over LSU last season was decided in the red zone. Both teams made two trips, but the Gators scored touchdowns while the Tigers settled for field goals.
LSU went 3-for-4 in the red zone last week, scoring two touchdowns. Florida only made two trips and only scored once, which was a field goal.
The Tigers can win the rest of their games on the schedule if they hold opponents to field goals. The offense has proven it can score enough points to beat anybody.
But the most impressive aspect of Saturday's performance was how LSU closed out Florida.
Offensively, the LSU offensive line showed it could grind out a game on the ground against Florida. But closing out a game on defense has been the Tigers' main issue under defensive coordinator John Chavis. LSU dashed Florida's hopes late when true freshman Kendell Beckwith forced a Trent Murphy fumble on fourth down with less than four minutes remaining.
The game against Ole Miss will likely be, at the very least, within two possessions in the fourth quarter. Great defenses should not be judged by how many stops they make, but if stops are made in critical situations.
If the Tigers play timely defense against the Rebels, expect an LSU victory on Saturday.
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