Heavily-favored LSU faces daunting challenge from elite Florida defense
Well, we approach kickoff for Florida at LSU, and the betting line hasn’t really moved.
The Tigers are still 13.5 point favorites over the Gators. This is certainly a nod to LSU’s offensive prowess.
Heading into their annual showdown with their annual crossover SEC East rival, LSU is averaging more than 54 points a game to lead the Football Bowl Subdivision.
It has certainly been a sudden offensive transformation in Tigertown, so much so that head coach Ed Orgeron lamented that LSU missed some scoring chances while scoring 42 points in a dominant win over Utah State.
His apprehension makes more sense when you check out the stats for the Florida defense, and Tiger fans have a right to feel a little queasy.
The Gators have 19 takeaways, tops in the entire FBS, and are second in the country in preventing touchdowns once opponents reach the red zone. Florida has allowed TD’s on only 21 percent of those opponent’s drives.
Want more? The Gators have 26 sacks, tied for the third in the FBS, and 50 tackles for losses, the fourth most in the FBS.
Winners of 10 in a row – two short of the school record – Florida is 4-1 against top 10 teams under Dan Mullen.
Granted many of these numbers were rung up by the Gators against a soft schedule but you could say the same thing about LSU’s offensive numbers.
However, Florida does two things the Tigers have not done this season. They consistently pressure the quarterback and turn the other team over. The Gators have forced four turnovers in three of their last four games.
Yet, the oddsmakers put the line up as LSU as almost a two-touchdown favorite, and there’s has not been a lot of money bet on the Florida Gators to push it down.
Yes, the Gators are playing with a backup quarterback, redshirt junior Kyle Trask, and yes he did injure a knee against Auburn.
Yet, Trask is completing 71.7 percent of his passes and looks to be much more than an adequate backup to injured starter Feleipe Franks, who is out for the season.
Maybe LSU will again play pitch-and-catch en route to another high-scoring night. Maybe Joe Burrow will continue his assault on the record book. Maybe it is time to have some alligator sausage on a Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
Still it is hard to ignore a team that can play great defense in a rivalry game. It should make anyone in purple and gold a little queasy.
Do the oddsmakers have this one dead solid perfect. Will the Tigers win comfortably?
For so many to think that, quite frankly should make LSU fans, well, uncomfortable.
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WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…