The Florida defense will face it's toughest test of the season thus far on Saturday when it takes on the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge.
Not only will the Gators be in one of the toughest environments in all of college football, but they will also be trying to slow down a Tigers offense that ranks ninth in the nation in scoring, putting up 45.5 points per game.
In the past, Les Miles' LSU offenses have been led by their run game, which is still the case as the Tigers have run on almost 60-percent of their plays this year, but it is LSU's newly found passing game that has people turning their heads. Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger ranks fifth in the nation with a QBR of 92.3, completing 68.2 percent of his passes for 1,738 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin has taken notice of Mettenberger's success.
The key to stopping the LSU passing attack will be shutting down Tiger wide-outs Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. This season, the two have combined to catch 77 passes for 1,302 yards and 13 touchdowns; no other player on the team has more than seven catches. Durkin knows slowing down Beckham and Landry is easier said than done.
As stated before though, while the LSU passing attack is getting a lot of attention, the Tigers are still a run first team. LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron utilizes a stable of running backs, including Jeremy Hill, Terrence Magee, Alfred Blue, and Kenny Hilliard. Hill is the leader of the crew, rushing for 593 yards and nine touchdowns already this season, but each of the other three backs have at least 33 carries and one touchdown this season as well.
Durkin says the success of the LSU run game is no surprise, but the fact that the men in Purple and Gold are having success on the ground and through the air is what makes them so difficult to stop.
Durkin added that stopping the Tigers on third down will be key for a Gator win as well; LSU ranks third in the nation in third down conversion percentage.
It should be an exciting matchup on Saturday afternoon. LSU might have the ninth ranked scoring offense in the country, but the Florida defense ranks second in the nation and leads the SEC in almost every defensive statistical category.
You can catch Saturday's game on ESPN 850 WRUF. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.