LSU, the nation's top-ranked team, hopes to dominate another SEC opponent, short-handed Florida, when they meet on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised by CBS (Ch. 4).
The 17th-ranked Gators opened 4-0 under coach Will Muschamp, a former LSU assistant. They fell to Alabama last Saturday 38-10 and lost starting quarterback John Brantley (high ankle sprain).
The Tigers have yet to be challenged, winning all five of their games in double figures. Last week, LSU overwhelmed Kentucky 35.7.
Freshman Jeff Driskel, last season's top -rated quarterback recruit, will lead the Gators against one-of the nation's leading defenses. The best thing he can do is hand off to running backs and track stars Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. But Rainey was held to four rushing yards on 11 carries and Demps barely touched the ball against Alabama.
Florida faces another strong offense this week, but LSU isn't exactly explosive with the ball. Although the Tigers are averaging 38 points per game it is only a modest total yards per game.
Jarrett Lee has been a steady quarterback and the Tigers have made good on 46 per cent of their third-down conversion attempts. Lee is hitting almost 60 per cent of his passes for 793 yards with seven touchdowns and only one interception .
The star of the LSU defense is defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who is always around the ball and is being mentioned in Heisman Trophy conversations. He has made 35 tackles including for four tackles for a loss and has recovered three fumbles while forcing four.
Quarterback Jordan Jefferson is back and sneaked in at the goal for a touchdown last week,
"Jarrett Lee is our quarterback," said Tigers coach Les Miles, making it clear there isn't a quarterback controversy.
Gators offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will really be tested, sending out a youngster with only 16 passing attempts, two of which were intercepted.
It's hard to believe that this game won't be a continuation of the loss to Alabama, which was the Gators' worst loss at The Swamp since 2002. The visitor that day was LSU, which won 36-7.
It won't be a blowout like the Gators's loss to Bama, but it will be convincing.
Prediction: Lay the 9 1/2 points. Final score: LSU 28, Florida 10.
College picks: Syracuse -10 over Tulane; Texas Tech +9 over Texas A&M; Texas +10 over Oklahoma; Auburn +10 over Arkansas; Georgia Tech -14 over Maryland; South Carolina -21 over Kentucky. Last week: 5-3.
by Ed Staton
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Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item. He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director. He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.
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