1. Wonder Twin powers…ACTIVATE - Although LSU DE Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo are projected to be top 10 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, it's been a quiet season for the two Tigers. But, this matchup on Saturday, the 2:30 PM CST kickoff on CBS… This is the perfect opportunity for these two stars to break out with a nation watching.
These two, along with Lavar Edwards, can create a ton of mayhem off the edge against Florida tackles Xavier Nixon and Chaz Green. Suffice to stay, the Gators edge protectors are not All-SEC caliber and have struggled against explosive edge players all year long. This is that day for LSU's DE to shine.
2. Play it again, Zach - Going into each and every game, LSU opponents know that they'll have to stop the Tigers' power running game and Florida is no different. For the first time in a while, the Gators will play with a true front seven on the field. The question of whether the Florida front seven can handle the LSU run game is one thing, but the key for LSU is whether QB Zach Mettenberger will be able to utilize play action throws with seven and even eight Gators jammed up in the box. If he can, the Tigers offense can put a big number up on the board…a much needed big number at that.
3. A Wing and no prayer needed - I hardly ever write about a punter or a kicker in my keys because, well, a) I hate them and b) there's so much more to write about that a goofy, soccer player wannabe. (Man, my boys are going to give me hell for that one).
But LSU P Brad Wing is one of the best left footed weapons we've seen in the college game in quite some time. Last year, Wing had a historic year for the Tigers, as LSU finished 3rd in the nation in net punting. This year, behind Wing's booming blasts, the Tigers are 17th in the nation in net punting (41.1 yards per punt). Wing often pins teams deep in their own territory, which can truly hurt a young, still green quarterback in only his fourth SEC start.
1. The Burton Bone - Although he didn't play two weeks ago against Kentucky, Florida uber-player Trey Burton remains the X factor for this Gators offense. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease hasn't overused Burton the way previous offensive coordinators did and he finds ways to get him the ball, including putting him in the single wing QB position.
Against Tennessee, Burton had an 80-yard touchdown run and a 32 yard reception, becoming the only player in the nation to have a 80+ yard run and a 30+ yard reception in the same game. Because Florida can line him up anywhere in the offensive formation, he's a threat that LSU must quell (much like last year when LSU limited Burton to 18 total yards rushing, passing and receiving).
2. Sprinter's Speed - LSU's offensive tackles haven't been tested much this season. But, an unheralded Florida senior with only nine career starts has come up big this season and could provide "edge issues" for LSU.
Buck linebacker Lerentee McCray intercepted a pass, registered the biggest sack of the game at Texas A&M and forced a Tyler Bray interception in Knoxville. He's got the type of speed and burst that have given offensive tackles major issues on sure passing downs this season. Considering the fact that LSU lost LT Chris Faulk a few weeks ago, stopping an athletic rusher like McCray is that much more difficult for the LSU OL.
3. How will LSU cover him? - Florida TE/H-Back Jordan Reed creates coverage mismatches all over the field. LSU can cover him with its safety Eric Reid, as he might be the only player who can handle that matchup one-on-one. But, if LSU wants to leave Reid in the middle of the field, then it must figure out how else to account for Reed in its pass coverage. Reed leads the Gators with 16 catches and has made catches at nearly every level on the field. He must be a focal point of the passing game against the Tigers.
I've been impressed with the growth and progress of Florida QB Jeff Driskel, but he hasn't faced a defense that possesses the explosive abilities to frustrate him quite like the LSU Tigers. I'm like a number of others when I say I'm not totally sure what to expect from LSU.
But, if my hunch is right, the Tigers have been going through the motions lately, awaiting a challenge like going on the road to Gainesville. The LSU run game will keep Florida's offense off the field and Florida won't be able to ride the 2nd half wave to a win. Les Miles and the Tigers finally get the nation's attention after handling the Gators on Saturday.
LSU - 24 vs. Florida - 16