The stakes couldn’t be any higher.
When Florida meets LSU in Baton Rouge on Saturday, not only will SEC implications be on the line, but the entire national picture will be considerably affected.
Nothing is more strenuous than trying to knock off a champion; if the Bayou Bengals are to do so, it will take a Herculean effort by everyone involved.
Here, I will illustrate five points the Tigers must execute if they are to have any chance at knocking off the consensus number one team in the country.
1) Hold the Gators to under 100 yards rushing. – Through four games Florida leads the nation in rushing offense, averaging 307.50 ypg and 7.03 ypc; so this is easier said than done.
However, if LSU can effectively stop the gators from doing what they do best not only will it energize the D and boost their confidence as a whole, but it may result into the gators getting somewhat out of sync, in what is very much a rhythm offense. If Florida has a weakness, it may be their vertical passing game.
2) Win first and second down. – On offense: If Jefferson is continuously placed in third-and-long situations, advantage Gators. The True Sophomore is not far enough along In his development to be consistently effective in those circumstances; especially against a defense as talented as the gators.
On defense: If they can repeatedly force Florida into third and long situations (they may still get burned) but they will have a better chance of stalling Florida drive’s, getting pressure on Tebow, and causing turnovers.
3) Play in the 20s. – What LSU will be aiming to do is to keep the game close up to the fourth quarter in which case it will be anybody’s game; give themselves a chance to win. For this to happen it is essential that they limit Florida’s scoring opportunities by running the ball and winning the time of possession.
If this turns into a shootout, Florida could win easily.
When Florida does score, they can’t make it effortless; it is imperative that they make them execute long sustaining drives down the field. In other words, keep everything in front of them, don’t give up the big play.
4) Win on Special Teams. – Any time a team faces a foe that is superior, winning in this category is a practical way of tipping the odds in their favor. Needless to say, winning the field position battle is a must for the Bengals. (Good luck however, Florida seemingly never losses on special teams).
Getting Kick and Punt Returns for TD’s for Holiday and others are all components that could help them win. They also must be wary of the blocked punt (Florida is great at this). All attempted FG’s must be successful. Every point will count for the Bayou Bengals, they can ill afford to leave anything on the table.
5) Win the first quarter – The Gators can get off to a slow start and still have a propitious chance at winning, a luxury LSU does not have. The Talent and leadership is too abundant for the gators to ever be out of a game. LSU must start off well to have any shot at this one.
For one, Jefferson can’t be asked to mount a momentous comeback and furthermore, Florida just doesn’t relinquish leads when they have them.
In conclusion, LSU could do everything I have listed on Saturday and still lose by 10. That’s how arduous this game will be for them. However, if they can execute, keep focus, and be within striking distance in the fourth quarter they may just have what it takes to pull of the upset.