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The LSU Tigers responded after losing a close game to the Georgia Bulldogs with a resounding victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs. In the SEC there are no breaks on the schedule as the Tigers now have to focus and get prepared to take on the very talented Florida Gators this weekend. The Gators are off a win against Arkansas and eager to get a statement victory.
Florida Gators at LSU Tigers Odds
The college football odds for this game have yet to be released, but the Tigers will obviously be favored.
Florida's trip to LSU will culminate in a 3:30 p.m. game on CBS, the network announced. Florida’s frequently been in the spotlight in Baton Rouge — nine of the last 12 games between the Gators and Tigers have been aired by CBS, including every Florida-LSU in Baton Rouge — but those games have often kicked off at night, the preferred kickoff time for the legions of tailgating Tigers fans.
Florida played memorable games against LSU at night in Baton Rouge in 2007 and 2009, with Tim Tebow's valiant effort in a loss against the eventual national champions and his return from a concussion suffered two weeks prior being the major notes from those games.
The Tigers will have to deal with a tough defense led by Loucheiz Purifoy. Purifoy flaunted his dynamic talents in Florida’s 30-10 win over Arkansas, forcing a pair of turnovers including returning an interception for a touchdown.
One play after missing a tackle on a 31-yard run by Razorback tailback Alex Collins (South Plantation High), Purifoy blindsided quarterback Brandon Allen for a sack and fumble, setting up Florida with excellent field position early in the first quarter.Later, as Florida’s offense stagnated midway through the second quarter, Purifoy picked off his first career pass and took it to the house.
The latest sports betting trends uncover some interesting angles to wager on in this game. The total has gone under in 6 of Florida's last 9 games when playing on the road against LSU and the total has gone under in 11 of LSU's last 16 games when playing Florida overall. LSU is 22-3 straight up in its last 25 games at home but just 1-5-1 against the spread (ATS) in its last 7 games when playing at home against Florida. Florida is 6-2 straight up in its last 8 games on the road but 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games overall.
Florida Gators at LSU Tigers Pick
With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.
Florida has put together a three-game winning streak since suffering its only loss to Miami, as it comes off a 30-10 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks as 12.5-point home favorites last Saturday. The Gators are 31-25-3 all-time against the Tigers, including a dead even 5-5 mark in the last 10 meetings, which is important to consider when making your college football predictions in Week 7. In its last 17 regular-season games, the program has compiled a 15-2 record, which ranks eighth nationally in that category. Florida is 6-4 SUATS on the road the last two-plus seasons.
The Gators have to be impressed with quarterback Tyler Murphy, who completed 16-of-22 passes for a career-high 240 yards and three touchdowns in his first career home start. Florida’s defense is certainly one of the best nationally, as it trails only one team in allowing just 217.0 yards per game. The team is allowing just 2.8 yards per carry and has surrendered just three rushing scores—both ninth in the country in those categories.
LSU bounced back from its only loss of the season, as it picked up a 59-26 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs as seven-point road favorites last Saturday, while going OVER the betting total for a sixth consecutive contest. The Tigers have scored a touchdown on their opening drive in four straight affairs, which is important to consider when looking over the college football odds page. Offensively, the team has thrown for 300 or more yards in back-to-back games for the first time since 2008. LSU is 5-1 SUATS as favorites of 3.5 to 10 points the last two-plus seasons, with no clear edge in the betting total (3-3 Over/Under).
The Tigers are led by the play of quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who improved to 15-4 as a starter with last week’s win. He completed 86.2 percent of his passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns against the Bulldogs—connecting with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. nine times for 179 yards and both scores.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs fought hard against the No. 10 LSU Tigers and were keeping it close early in the third quarter with a 28–26 score until Zach Mettenberger hooked up with Odell Beckham for a 33-yard touchdown. After that touchdown, the Bulldogs never scored again.
LSU has looked far better than anyone anticipated going into the 2013 NCAA football season. They continue to shine on offense, despite letting opponents score a lot of points.
LSU’s biggest flaw has to be that they don’t have the defense that they have been known for in the past. The Tigers are expected to shutdown opponents offensively and grind it out on the ground on offense, but this season they have had much more success through the air and outscoring opponents. This works great against lesser teams, but some of the toughest SEC teams are still on the Tigers’ schedule.
Of the teams left that LSU faces, the Florida Gators could be the team that they have the most trouble against, not including the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Gators have one of the best defenses in the entire country and continue to win despite offensive struggles. Even though Florida hasn’t looked too flashy so far, don’t chalk this game up as a win.
The Tigers will have to fight hard to win this game. Mettenberger will have to play extremely efficiently, because one mistake and the Florida defense usually scores. LSU’s defense will have to step up as well, because if they don’t it’s unlikely the Tigers can score 30+ points on Florida’s defense.
LSU probably won’t make it to the national championship game this season, but the Tigers will be the team that knocks either Alabama or Texas A&M out of the hunt. LSU’s future looks bright in the SEC, and that’s a very scary thing.
Tyler Murphy's facial expressions rarely change. They're bland yet stoic, and focused on the field. Smiles, frowns and sulks are rare in nature.
It's not that he's unhappy, he's just in a relaxed football state of mind. It's been a wild few weeks for Florida's new starting quarterback, but he owes his success to his calm on-field demeanor.
That attitude will be tested on Saturday when he travels to face No. 10 LSU (5-1, 2-1 SEC) in the first daunting road test of his career.
"I try to stay calm and as poised as possible," said Murphy, who has passed for 530 yards and five touchdowns since replacing the injured Jeff Driskel.
Somehow, with everything buzzing around him, Murphy hasn't flinched. He stood tall in relief duty against Tennessee, was smooth in a comfortable win at Kentucky and threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns last week against Arkansas. His 209.4 rating against Arkansas was the highest for a Gator QB against an SEC opponent since Rex Grossman's 235.9 rating against LSU in 2001. With help from Murphy's efficient play, Florida is the only SEC team -- and one of only 10 teams nationally -- to have three wide receivers with more than 270 receiving yards.
His 2-0 starting record might not mean squat this weekend. Murphy, who has completed 72.2 percent of his passes and has an adjusted QBR of 96.5, will enter a ferocious environment inside Tiger Stadium, where LSU is 53-7 under coach Les Miles, has won 27 of its last 28 games and seems to gobble up inexperienced quarterbacks.
Murphy might be calm, cool and collected now, but it'll be tough to fight nerves when he steps inside one of the loudest venues in America and is engulfed in a sea of purple and gold. He was there for Florida's 41-11 drubbing in 2011 and, like Jacoby Brissett then, enters Saturday's game as the new guy under center.
Murphy has never played in a hostile, anti-Gators environment like this, but he's been inside it and grew up watching plenty of LSU games with his father. Will that be enough to prepare him for the scene waiting for him on the Bayou?
"It's definitely going to be a hostile environment and I'm going to have to focus on blocking it out, focus on my attention during the game," Murphy said. "I'm prepared for that and you never really know how bad it's going to be until you're actually in the situation.
"I'll have a good grasp on what to expect going into the game."
You have to like the confidence. It isn't arrogance, it's just Murphy's natural nonchalant attitude. He stays collected in the pocket, on the sideline and in practices.
He isn't a yoga guy, doesn't meditate or read inspirational literature to relax away from the game. He listens to music. Jay-Z echoes inside his bedroom to loosen him up, but it's his love for Motown that keeps him the most relaxed. Thanks to his dad, Murphy grew up with it flowing throughout his house, and the soft, cool lyrics accompanied by smooth instrumentals calm his nerves.
"I just find it really fun for some reason," Murphy said.
And the season has been really fun for him so far. He's surpassed expectations and has sparked a more balanced attack from Florida's usually one-dimensional, run-first offense. When the Gators only mustered 115 rushing yards (2.8 yards per carry) against Arkansas, Murphy delivered clutch passes, finding guys in space to do the rest.
His calm demeanor shows in how patient he is with his passes and how he slips through tackles to extend plays.
"I'm just glad he doesn't force anything and makes smart decisions," wide receiver Solomon Patton said. "That's real big, and that has a lot to do with the success that our offense has had with him not making any unnecessary throws and getting down when he needs to."
Murphy isn't very vocal, but he immerses himself in the offense. He stays late after practice, bombards his coaches with questions, and serves as a motivator through good and bad times with his teammates.
Murphy will need to lean on his laid-back persona in Baton Rouge. That unsympathetic environment and aggressive defense looking to make a statement will be breathing down his neck, looking to knock the cool right out of him.
"They say, 'Never let them see you sweat,' so I try to remain calm and continue to execute," he said. "The more I prepare, the more comfortable I feel, so I'm going to need a great week of preparation."
Florida limped into Baton Rouge, La., two years ago, coming off a 38-10 loss at Alabama after beginning the year 4-0 and playing without its starting quarterback.
When it left town, the season was pretty much over — a 41-11 humiliation that was followed by two more losses to drop Florida to 4-4.
A lot of those players are gone. But those still around haven't forgotten.
"It was definitely a low point in most of our careers here," Florida senior safety and leading tackler Jaylen Watkins said Monday. "It was definitely a bad taste in our mouth but that's the game of football. We get a chance to go back and try to redeem ourselves and we're looking forward to it."
The Gators are 4-1 overall but 3-0 in SEC play and a win against the Tigers would give the season a huge lift.
"It's probably one of the better matchups we've faced this year. It's a rivalry game, so it's a lot of emotions going into the game," Watkins said. "It's a very tough place to play, like I said we have a bad taste in there from the loss and just how rowdy their fans are."
Gators coach Will Muschamp, a former LSU defensive coordinator, is certainly looking at the game as a motivation although he realizes not everybody is the same.
"I think everybody is motivated differently, but if it motivates (the UF players) then certainly it should if you're a competitor it should," he said. "And I know we have a bunch of competitive guys in the locker room. Sometimes, some people don't get motivated by negatives. They don't want to think abut negatives, they want to think about positive things. So I think everybody is motivated differently, but most of the guys I've been around certainly will use that (loss to fire them up). I will."
It's a very different team this time around on both sides.
Florida's Tyler Murphy now ranks third in the SEC in passing efficiency after stepping in for Jeff Driskel, who suffered a broken leg, and has five TDs and one interception in three games.
"I definitely feel like they're getting a little more comfortable with me being back there," Murphy said of the Gators' coaches. "That's something that you have to earn. Honestly, I'm just going to keep working hard and keep striving to get better. I have to keep proving to them that when they put the ball in my hands, I'll make good decisions with it. I have to continue to keep putting the offense in the right place and stuff like that. That's just constant preparation. I just have to keep preparing and preparing."
The Gators are still strong defensively, leading the SEC in scoring defense, total defense, pass defense and rush defense. But LSU has gone from being rated No. 8 in the national in total defense a year ago to No. 7 in the SEC this week and has given up 70 points and close to 1,000 yards in the last two outings.
"I feel like obviously we have got some big-time opportunities to make plays," said Gators receiver Solomon Patton, who has four TD receptions this season, two over 50 yards. "We're going to try to take advantage of their defense as much as we can."
LSU's Zach Mettenberger has responded to the defense's issues by throwing for 15 touchdowns with two interceptions this season.
"Everyone goes through that. They replaced a bunch of really good players that were seniors or came out early for the draft," Muschamp said of the Tigers' defense. "You see where all of those guys were picked. They had a bunch of good players on their defense last year. I've got great respect for (LSU defensive coordinator) John (Chavis) and the job he does. They're young, but they're extremely talented. They run well, they play physical, they're gonna be fundamentally sound. We expect a good LSU defense on Saturday, that's for sure."
If the game turns into a shoot out, Muschamp is OK with it, "As long as we win. I don't care. Honestly. I got real caught up in all that stuff when I was a (defensive) coordinator. When I'm a head coach, I want to win. If it takes 51-50, let's go."
Muschamp went against LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron when both were in the NFL but said it's a different time now.
"(Mettenberger is) more accurate with the ball," Muschamp said of Cameron's impact on the LSU quarterback. "I think he's got a better understanding in the passing game obviously last year being his first year as the guy. I think, you know, everybody matures as different ages. I know we're all in an instant coffee society where we want it right now and that's not always the way it is. Sometimes that happens with players, so from a maturity standpoint he's playing at an extremely high level."
LSU's offense appears to be one of the best in school history, but the Tigers haven't run into a defense quite like Florida's.
Tenth-ranked LSU seeks its 28th win in 29 home games Saturday as its high-powered offense squares off against the stingy defense of the No. 17 Gators.
With a relatively tame schedule, the Tigers (5-1, 2-1 SEC) have mostly cruised behind the offense, with the only blemish a 44-41 loss at then-No. 9 Georgia on Sept. 28. They come off last Saturday's 59-26 win at Mississippi State in which they tallied 563 total yards and 28 fourth-quarter points. The total points were their most in an SEC game since a 63-28 victory at Kentucky on Nov. 1, 1997.
LSU has topped 400 yards in each of its first six games and scored at least 35 points in each of its first six for the first time in school history.
Les Miles' club averaged 374.2 yards and 29.8 points last year to rank in the bottom half of the SEC with first-year starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger at the helm. He's been a revelation this season under first-year offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, pushing those numbers to 488.8 and 45.5 this year. The scoring average ranks ninth nationally.
Mettenberger's 190.1 passer ratings is the FBS' fourth-best, and he's already thrown 15 touchdowns after totaling 12 last year. He's completing 68.8 percent of his passes, leads the country with 35 passes for 20 yards or more and is on pace for single-season school records for passing yards and TDs.
"Zach is playing just like we need him to play at home or on the road," Miles said. "He is the leader. He is in charge of the communication. Zach is one of those guys on the field who gives you advantages not just with his arm, but with his mind."
Helping Mettenberger's cause have been receivers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, who are third and fourth in the SEC in receiving yardage with 686 and 616 yards, respectively. Beckham is also college football's leader in all-purpose yardage at 228.2 per game.
Running back Jeremy Hill has also helped keep defenses honest by averaging 118.8 rushing yards to rank second in the conference.
The offense hardly resembles the unit that was held to two field goals, 200 yards and eight first downs in a 14-6 loss at then-No. 10 Florida last season. Still, LSU's gaudy numbers this year haven't come against anything close to an elite defense. Three of their opponents have ranked 96th or worst in team defense with TCU's 34th-ranked unit providing the greatest challenge in a 37-27 season-opening win.
The competition improves significantly with the Gators (4-1, 3-0).
Florida allows 217.0 yards per game, second-fewest in the country, while its 12.2 opponent scoring average is tied for the FBS' fourth-lowest.
But the Gators haven't faced a high-octane offense either, defeating Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas in conference play -- the SEC's three worst in terms of total offense.
They have recorded at least one takeaway in 16 straight games, including three against LSU last season. Mettenberger was 11 for 25 for 158 yards with an interception and sacked four times
Vernon Hargreaves leads the Gators with three interceptions, while five other players have tallied one each.
Florida's offense has been bolstered in three games with Tyler Murphy under center after original starter Jeff Driskel's season ended due to a broken leg suffered against the Volunteers on Sept. 21. Murphy has recorded a 181.5 passer rating compared to the 135.5 mark by Driskel, though he has yet to play in an environment like Tiger Stadium, where LSU has won three of the last four meetings.
The Tigers' lone home loss in their last 28 was to top-ranked Alabama last year.
"I don't see him getting flustered," Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease said of Murphy. "He's demanding of himself. He's demanding of what he wants from coaches, too. And he's demanding from his teammates."
LSU's defense has been uncharacteristically vulnerable, surrendering an average of 466.3 yards in conference play. However, the Tigers held Mississippi State to just three second-half points last week.
Florida leads all-time series 31-25-3, though they've split the last 10 matchups
The partnership between LSU's Zach Mettenberger and Cam Cameron is still in the honeymoon stage, but it will face its toughest test to date when Florida visits on Saturday.
Thus far, Tigers fans could hardly have expected more from their quarterback, Mettenberger, and first-year offensive coordinator, Cameron, who have turned LSU's formerly unimaginative offense into a juggernaut.
“I think Zach in his fifth year, or in his final year in college, kind of looks around and goes, 'I kind of got this. I understand this,' ” LSU coach Les Miles said of Mettenberger, who ranks fifth nationally with a Total QBR of 92.3. “Then to take a mentor that can fine tune the thought process, I just think it's exactly the right thing.”
No. 10 LSU (5-1, 2-1 SEC) and its talented offense -- which also boasts tailback Jeremy Hill and wideouts Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. -- hasn't had to function against a defense like that of No. 17 Florida (4-1, 3-0), however.
The Gators lead the SEC in scoring defense (12.2 ppg), total defense (217 ypg), passing defense (152 ypg) and rushing defense (65 ypg) and come in having just held Arkansas' powerful rushing attack to just 111 yards in last Saturday's 30-10 victory.
Florida coach Will Muschamp said this week that he'd be happy to win 51-50 on Saturday at Tiger Stadium, as long as his team comes out on the winning end. And a close game would be a reasonable expectation, as the annual cross-divisional rivals have split their last 10 meetings, with six of those 10 games being decided by 10 points or less.
Miles agreed that a one-point win would suit him, as well, although he would prefer to see his defense return to the imposing style of years past that has been absent for most of this season.
The Tigers took a step in the right direction in last week's 59-26 win over Mississippi State when they outscored the Bulldogs 31-3 in the second half. They hope it's a sign that their young defense has turned a corner.
“We came out in the second half and everybody had it on their mind and said, 'Hey, we're going to communicate, get the calls and play great football,' ” defensive lineman Anthony Johnson said.
They'll get a shot at a Florida offense on Saturday that has improved with Tyler Murphy under center, but still ranks 93rd nationally in scoring at 25 ppg. That means the strength-versus-strength matchup between the LSU offense and Florida defense will be the showdown worth watching -- and the Tigers like their chances with Cameron calling plays for Mettenberger.
“Coach Cameron's always talking about, 'It's not them, it's us. It's what we can do right and if we do things right, nobody can beat us,' ” offensive lineman Vadal Alexander said.
The Florida Gators expect something closer to a shutout than a shootout when they visit No. 10 LSU on Saturday.
The Tigers (5-1, 2-1 SEC), led by quarterback Zach Mettenberger, are averaging 45 points and 489 yards a game this season.
"We're not going to allow ourselves to let that happen," Florida defensive tackle Darious Cummings said.
No. 17 Florida (4-1, 3-0), meanwhile, hasn't given up 21 points in any of its last 13 league games.
"I don't think anybody in the country is playing better defense than we are," Cummings said. "We haven't even reached our max yet, so I feel we just have that relentless effort and we're not taking no for an answer. We get challenged week in and week out to be the best."
Mettenberger, under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, has thrown for 1,738 yards and 15 touchdowns, the most through the first six games in school history.
"He's more accurate with the ball," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "I think he's got a better understanding in the passing game. Everybody matures as different ages. I know we're all in an instant-coffee society, where we want it right now, and that's not always the way it is."
The Tigers have scored 100 points the last two games: 41 in a loss at Georgia and 59 in a victory at Mississippi. Mettenberger completed 73 percent of his passes for 712 yards in those outings, with five touchdowns and an interception.
The Gators boast one of the deepest secondaries in the country, and it has benefited from defensive linemen putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
"That's kind of been our identity, coming after the quarterback, getting after him, getting hits on the quarterback, pressuring the quarterback, making him make bad decisions," Ronald Powell said. "That's kind of like what we do. That's what we want to do. We want to play physical and force our will on people."