GAINESVILLE -- In three conference games, No. 10 LSU has scored 35, 41 and 59 points. The Tigers -- No. 23 nationally in total offense (488.8 y/g) -- also dropped 37 points in their season opener against TCU -- the nation’s No. 32 ranked defense.
The Tigers can score -- a lot. So are the No. 17 Gators -- as currently constituted -- prepared for a potential shootout?
“Honestly, I got real caught up in all that stuff when I was a coordinator,” coach Will Muschamp said. “When I’m a head coach, I wanna win. If it take 51-50, lets go. … As long as we win I don’t care.”
First-year offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has transformed LSU's attack, aided by the development and maturity of senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
A year after throwing just 12 touchdowns all season, LSU’s signal caller has 15 touchdowns to just two interceptions -- tops in the SEC. Mettenberger struggled mightily in the 14-6 loss to UF last season, completing just 11 passes for 158 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.
"Where they've taken the next step has been in the throwing game," Muschamp said. Mettenberger is playing at a very high level. What strikes you is he's completing [68.2] percent of his passes, and he's so efficient and effective throwing the vertical balls down the field."
But in an era of offensive expositions -- especially for the SEC -- Florida continues to zig while everyone else zags.
The Gators have held 12 consecutive conference opponents to 20 points or less. Alabama has the next longest streak at one game: An astounding statistic.
Meanwhile, UF’s offense has topped 30 points just a single time all season, but quarterback Tyler Murphy thinks Florida is “capable” of winning a shootout, if necessary.
However, the redshirt junior aslo said, “With the defense we have, I think it's just important that we take care of the ball, try to stay on the field as much as possible. If we do that, if we keep their offense off the field, I think we can be successful.”
Gators safety Jaylen Watkins broke down the matchup, including LSU’s offensive strengths, Mettenberger’s maturity and the Tigers’ talented wide receiver duo (Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry) and their propensity for winning jump balls.
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