This Saturday, the 17th ranked Florida Gators travel to Death Valley to take on the 10th ranked LSU Tigers. Both teams are coming off impressive SEC wins last week and will look to carry that momentum into Saturday’s game. Under head coach Les Miles, the Tigers have won 50 of 57 games at Tiger Stadium, and the last time they hosted the Gators they won 41-11.
Florida has turned to junior quarterback Tyler Murphy after starter Jeff Driskel broke his leg earlier in the season. Murphy has impressed so far this season and will look to get his signature win against LSU.
Let’s take a look at the three things the Gators must do to upset the Tigers in Death Valley.
3) Establish a Run Game
The Gators boast two stud running backs in sophomore Matt Jones and junior Mack Brown. Jones leads the team in rushing with 322 yards, while Brown leads the team with three touchdowns. The Gators are a run-first team, however have become much more balanced with Murphy at the helm.
If the Gators can get both running backs going early, that will open up the play action pass game for Murphy. Florida is much more dangerous when they are balanced, and this will cause fits for the LSU defense.
Look for Florida to pound the ball early on the ground and wear down the Tigers' front seven, leading to big plays through the air. Look for the Gators to rack up over 100 yards on the ground and pick up two rushing touchdowns along the way.
2) Continue to Dominate on Defense
Florida has the best defense in the SEC and will need to get pressure on LSU QB Zach Mettenberger. Mettenberger is one of the best pocket passers in the country, however struggles when blitzed and hurried. He has limited mobility and the athletic Florida defense will give Mettenberger problems all day.
The Gators defense hasn't missed a beat since defensive tackle Dominique Easley tore his ACL two weeks ago. They currently are fourth in the country in points allowed with just 12.2 and that starts with two great defensive backs. Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson are two of the best corners in the country and should thrive against the LSU wide receivers.
Look for the Florida defense to create some short fields for the offense and give LSU issues throughout the game.
1) Tyler Murphy Must Protect the Ball
If the Gators want to upset the Tigers on the road, Murphy must play mistake-free football for 60 minutes. He has only thrown one interception and has zero fumbles through three starts this year. This is a great sign for the Gators, who play great defense and love to run the ball. Murphy has played exceptional as the starter and has given new life to the Florida offense.
The Gators are more than capable of beating the Tigers, but will almost certainly fall short if Murphy turns the ball over. However, if Murphy can continue to play at this high level, the offense will prove to be much more consistent and the Gators will go into Death Valley and upset the Tigers.
Look for Murphy to have one of his best games of the year throwing for 250 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions.