LSU Tigers (3-2 SU, 1-4 ATS) vs. No. 18 Florida Gators (4-1 SU, 1-4 ATS)
College Football Week 6
Date/Time: Saturday, October 8th, 12:00PM (EST)
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Gainesville, F.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LSU -2.5/UF +2.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
Last week, the LSU Tigers kicked off the post Les Miles era in a big way by blowing out Missouri 42-7 in Baton Rouge. It was the first game under new interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron and it did not disappoint as LSU came out with guns blazing to rack up a school record (vs. SEC competition) 634 total yards. It was a stark difference to the LSU offense that stumbled their way through the first 4 games of the season and a performance worthy of putting some fear back into the SEC. This week we see if LSU can build off their new offensive look as they travel into Gainesville for a much anticipated date with the no. 18 Florida Gators at The Swamp.
Last week’s demolishing of Missouri was not just the breakout game LSU had been waiting for but it was a huge confidence boost that this team needed for the remainder of the year. Even without star running back Leonard Fournette sidelined with an ankle injury, LSU found some firepower that the offense had been missing for much of the last several years. For the first time in recent memory, the Tigers offense took the field in a 4 wide receiver set and used the spread set to create space for their playmakers. When the dust settled, LSU had racked up over 400 yards of rushing thanks to big performances from Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams combining for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns a piece.
It was a much different look than LSU has posted all season and they even had a pretty decent showing at the quarterback position with Danny Etling hitting 19 of 30 passing for 216 yards. The quarterback position has been the blame of much of the issues that plagued the offense and ultimately led to Miles’ termination. However, Ed Orgeron and new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger did a phenomenal job of tweaking the offense in just a week timeframe. However, the offensive showing on Saturday was against Missouri, one of the bottom teams in the SEC East, and at home in Baton Rouge where the Tigers historically dominate opponents. This week we really get to measure how much the Tigers have improved as they go on the road against a tough Florida team.
Honestly, this game is kind of hard to predict. I don’t want to get caught up in what LSU did last week because I know it’s definitely not going to happen again this week against a very talented Gators team. In fact, Florida’s defense may be the best in the SEC. The Gators have given up just 230 yards per game this season which ranks 2nd overall in the FBS. If you exclude the 2nd half collapse at Tennessee two weeks ago, Florida has yielded just 2 touchdowns in 18 quarters. Therefore, do not expect LSU to run wild again this weekend even if we do concede the fact that they will be better offensively under Orgeron which is still very debatable.
What we do know is that this game should be very physical on both sides of the football. The Gators are very tough on defense and very physical on offense as they rely heavily on their ground attack. Tailbacks Jordan Scarlett and Mark Thompson have become heavily involved in the rushing attack. The good news for Florida fans is that they should get a boost in the passing game this week. Quarterback Luke Del Rio is expected to return after missing the last two games with a knee injury. Though Austin Appleby has not performed bad, Del Rio is definitely the better passer and gives the offense more versatility which they will need against a talented LSU defense.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This game is setting up to be a fun one to watch. The Tigers have won 5 of the last 6 meetings against Florida and their explosive offense in Orgeron’s debut should challenge Florida’s defense. I think LSU finds a way to win this one and keep the momentum going. Consider a small play with LSU -2.5!
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