Florida thwarted Auburn’s top-10 glory with arguable ease and made Bo Nix look like a backup. But that’s the kind of discomfort the number one red zone defense in the FBS should deliver.
Now, it’s time for an entirely different pack of tigers in Death Valley: an experienced, electrifying, No. 5 ranked pack of Tigers.
But how scary can these Tigers be?
The Terror of Florida’s Defense
Florida safety Brad Stewart derailed Joe Burrow’s quest for a late-game comeback in 2018, returning Burrow’s first interception of the year for a 25-yard touchdown. But Burrow and his band of receivers are no less fearsome in 2019, dismantling defenses left and right. His FBS-leading 1,864 yards speaks to the development of his passing game, and reliable weapons in former Florida commit Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson account for a majority of the production. The latter has been Burrow’s favorite target this season, racking up seven touchdowns and 547 yards.
However, there’s something to be said for LSU’s schedule. While it’s only had one FCS matchup in 2019, LSU is rid of many Power 5 teams in its history. The Tigers’ toughest test was an early-season visit to Texas, a team that’s hardly made a top-10 case with a 104th ranked defense nationally.
A No. 17-ranked overall Florida defense will likely have LSU running in circles.
Yes, LSU’s passing offense is smart. However, Florida’s secondary is both strategic and aggressive, and with a refreshed C.J. Henderson back in the swing of things, the pressure has undoubtedly increased. Henderson’s presence only complements the level of toughness delivered by some staples in the 2019 defense. Defensive back Shawn Davis is locking in when it matters most, with three interceptions on the season, all from the Kentucky and Auburn matchups. Amari Burney has exploited plenty of offenses with his pressure styled play.
Paired with a defensive line in the ever-so elite Jonathan Greenard, David Reese, Jabari Zuniga and Zach Carter, it’s hard to deny the challenge LSU has in front of it.
Dan Mullen hyped up his defense’s performance when paired against its toughest offensive matchup of the season.
All in all, Florida is very capable of dismantling LSU’s scoring juggernaut. If an already elite defense steps it up another level against its toughest ranked opponent of the season, another top-10 SEC win is likely in the cards for the Gators.