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Escaping "Death Valley": #17 UF vs. #10 LSU Football Preview

By on October 12th, 2013

Florida defensive back Marcus Roberson hypes up the crowd while the Gators look to make another stop on defense.

Welcome to “Death Valley.”

More than 92,000 people will fill up Tiger Stadium today when the No. 17 Florida Gators (4-1. 3-0) take on No. 10 LSU (5-1, 2-1).

The last time Florida traveled to Baton Rouge, LSU handed it a 41-11 beat down. That was two years ago.

Florida's largest margin of victory came in a 58-3 win in 1993.  Last season's match up ended with Florida on top 14-6, but things have changed.

LSU is averaging 488.8 yards on offense this year, a significant jump from the 374.2 yards it averaged last season. The amount of points the Tigers generate spiked from 29 points a game in 2012 to almost 46 points a game in 2013.

Having said that, Florida enters with the No.2 ranked defense in the nation, allowing just 12.2 points a game and 217 yards per contest. In a nutshell, the Gators' defense is stingy.

Now flip things around.

LSU has given up 5.44 yards a play this year and has surrendered 17 touchdowns in five games. The only highly-ranked offense the Tigers have faced was Georgia, who beat LSU 44-41 two weeks ago. UGA averages 530 yards a game on offense, so it's imaginable as to why the Bulldogs were a problem.

Here come the Gators.

Led by redshirt-junior quarterback Tyler Murphy, Florida could have to pick up big gains through the air in order to keep LSU's defense off balance. The Tigers have given up seven touchdowns via the air attack but only allow opponents to complete 54 percent of their passes.

Now here is how Florida can do that: Matt Jones. The sophomore running back had 176 rushing yards at Kentucky two weeks ago.

Jones, along with junior running back Mack Brown, will have to dice up an LSU rushing defense, which does not even rank in the top-50 in the country.  If the Gators can run the ball effectively, it could open up the play action pass for Murphy and his receivers.

Both Brown and Jones will need to duplicate what former teammate, and now Miami Dolphin, Mike Gillislee did to LSU last season in Gainesville. Gillislee torched the Tigers for 146 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

The two Southeastern Conference rivals have a loss already; this game could potentially catapult the winner toward the SEC Championship game.

Will the Tigers roar or will the Gators chomp?

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