The Florida Gators (4-1, 3-0) have a gamer in quarterback Tyler Murphy, who is quickly becoming one of the stories of the year in the SEC. This guy couldn’t get off the bench for three years, and it took an injury and a transfer for him to get on the field as a redshirt junior. But Murphy hasn’t been the slightest bit overwhelmed since getting on the field.
He’s played increasingly well in three-straight Gators victories, peaking with a 240-yard, three-touchdown passing performance against Arkansas last week. Murphy’s 209.4 passer rating in that game was the highest for a Florida quarterback in an SEC game since Rex Grossman in 2001. If that doesn’t already feel like ancient Gators history, Steve Spurrier was still slamming his visor in Gainesville when that happened.
A playmaker on the perimeter also emerged last week in wide receiver Solomon Patton, who hauled in six catches for a career-high 124 yards against the Razorbacks. Most importantly, he turned two short passes into long touchdowns – 51 and 38 yards – with some electrifying moves.
Adding a new-found threat on the outside will help Florida’s offense tremendously, opening up the running game for Matt Jones and company.
Florida has arguably the best defense in the country, and Murphy is looking more and more like the missing puzzle piece it needed earlier this year when the offense sputtered into the dirt. The Gators will need that offensive improvement to continue this week in Baton Rouge against No. 10 LSU, which has one of the best offenses in the SEC.
What to look for in Week 7: Strength on strength – Florida’s crushing defense vs. LSU’s explosive offense. Even more specifically, the key matchup to watch is the Gators’ outstanding cornerbacks – Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy – one-on-one against the Tigers’ supremely talented receiving duo – Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. Each team already has a conference loss, so Saturday’s loser is in all likelihood out of its respective divisional race. The team that performs best when the Tigers have the ball will likely walk away the victor, carrying with it SEC title hopes that are still alive and well.