College Football Preview – LSU Tigers vs. Florida Gators
Could this be Ed Orgeron’s last game on the sidelines for the LSU Tigers? Orgeron is just 8-8 since the Bayou Bengals won the national championship two years ago, and this defense has been bad. LSU looked set to finish the year with a losing record, and it’s become apparent that Orgeron caught lightning in a bottle with Joe Brady and an insanely talented group of skill position players. Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators have the potential to blow out LSU in Baton Rouge this Saturday, potentially leading to Orgeron’s immediate exit.
Florida opened as a 10-point road favorite against LSU in this game, and the line has only rose over the course of the week. This game will take place at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN.
College Football Betting Odds
It’s safe to say that Florida is the best two-loss team in the country. The Gators’ only two losses have been to unbeaten Kentucky and one-loss Alabama, and they could have won both of those games. Florida has dominated its opponents in its other four games, winning by at least three touchdowns against Florida Atlantic, South Florida, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.
LSU has not looked good this season. The Tigers lost by double digits to UCLA and Kentucky, and their only decent win this year came against Mississippi State. They haven’t had projected starting quarterback Myles Brennan all season, but that doesn’t excuse the performance of this defense.
When LSU Has the Ball
Max Johnson has done a solid job under center in place of Brennan. Johnson is completing 61.6% of his passes for 1,730 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. He isn’t a real mobile threat, but he has had to use his legs more than expected because this offensive line hasn’t been good.
The Tigers are averaging just 2.9 YPC. They have had more success in the passing game, but top receiver Kayshon Boutte is out for the season with a leg injury. That will really hurt the best part of this offense, hamstringing LSU’s chances of knocking off Florida.
Florida has been very good on defense this season. The Gators are allowing just 16.5 PPG and 319.2 YPG. They have looked strong against the pass and the run, so it won’t be easy for LSU to move the ball.
When Florida Has the Ball
Mullen clearly has his quarterback of the future in Anthony Richardson. Although Emory Jones is still the starter, it’s only a matter of time until Richardson takes over the position. He has been far more effective than Jones in limited action, and he hasn’t been nearly as mistake prone.
The Gators are running the ball better than any team in the country. They are averaging 6.7 YPC and 274 YPG on the ground. Jones and Richardson currently lead the team in rushing, and there are three running backs averaging at least 5.0 YPC behind them.
This LSU defense has not been good. The Tigers are allowing 5.1 YPC, and they are without several key players. Star cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., cornerback Eli Ricks, and defensive end Ali Gaye will all miss a significant amount of time. This defensive line is missing three contributors in total, so Florida should be able to run at will.
Some of the value is gone, but Florida is still the right play. The Gators should have a lot of success running on this front seven, and these cornerbacks aren’t good with Stingley and Ricks both out.