Week six of the 2012 NCAA Football season is here and with it comes plenty of quality, in-conference match-ups including two heavyweight battles between four top-ten ranked SEC teams. One of those contests will pit the #4 LSU Tigers up against the #10 Florida Gators at Ben Griffin Stadium down in Gainesville, FL. This one will be a defensive battle as both teams rank within the top ten in the nation in points allowed per game.
Entering the game LSU is ranked 90th in the FBS in passing yards per game (203.2), 18th in rushing yards per game (229.6), 24th in points scored per game (39) and ninth in points allowed per game (12.6) while Florida is ranked 110th in passing yards per game (183), 20th in rushing yards per game (224.5), 51st in points scored per game (30.5) and 10th in points allowed per game (12.8).
The Tigers (5-0, 1-0 in the SEC) will need to continue to run the ball effectively with sophomore back Kenny Hilliard (53 carries for 366 yards and 6 TD this season) and junior back Alfred Blue (40 carries for 270 yards and 2 TD) or much of the offensive weight will fall on to the shoulders of junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Although Mettenberger is having a decent season so far (78-119 for 1,016 yards 6 TD and 2 INT) he really isn’t the type of signal caller that will win many games by himself. When Mettenberger does drop back to pass he’ll be looking for Odell Beckham and Kardon Boone early and often as those two represent 33% of his completions and 46% of his yardage.
The Gators (4-0, 3-0 in the SEC) will also be relying heavily on their running attack with senior back Mike Gillislee who has rushed for 402 yards and five touchdowns on 69 carries; the bigger game that he has the better chance Florida has to come out victorious. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel will need to put together his best game of the season and elevate the entire offense against the best defense the Gators have faced this season. So far this season Driskel has been a dual threat passing for 698 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for another 148 yards and a trip to the endzone.
This game is going to be close and could easily come down to which team has the ball on the final possession. I’ll take LSU 23-20.