Photo: Emory Jones; Credit: Zach Goodall
The Florida Gators own the nation's No. 3 rushing offense and a passing attack that, while it has flashed potential, stands at No. 68.
Saturday's game against the LSU Tigers offers UF a chance to assert their dominance on the ground and through the air and make a statement ahead of their next matchup, against Georgia on Oct. 30.
Odds are, Florida's rushing offense - which is tallying 274 yards per game - will continue to dominate on Saturday as it has all season long. LSU's rushing defense, on the other hand, ranks No. 9 in the SEC for allowing 154.2 yards per contest in that department.
It doesn't help that LSU's starting defensive end Ali Gaye, who has 2.5 sacks and as many tackles for loss this year, was ruled out for at least the upcoming game. He's one of five defensive starters who will not be available on Saturday.
The remainder fall within LSU's secondary: Star cornerbacks Derek Stingley Jr. and Eli Ricks, as well as safeties Jay Ward and Major Burns. The only available starter will be Cordale Flott, the team's nickel cornerback, although Flott will move to outside cornerback in place of Ricks.
Which, of course, should be music to UF head coach Dan Mullen and quarterback Emory Jones' ears. Especially as Jones is coming off of a career performance against Vanderbilt in which he threw for 273 yards and four touchdowns.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron has placed confidence in the next men up throughout the Tigers' secondary as any coach would, but the nature of these injuries obviously hand UF an advantage offensively in the passing game, to go along with the Gators' clear edge on the ground.
So long as crowd noise doesn't lead to issues with the snap count, miscommunications, and penalties as seen in Florida's road loss to Kentucky - and in fairness, that was the first true away test for UF's new-look offense - the Gators should be able to have their away against the Tigers' defense as they please.
Such a statement would come at a perfect time, too, as the Gators will have the eyes of the nation on them in two weeks when they take on the No. 1 Bulldogs. Georgia owns a great defense that is certainly less injury-plagued, but Florida can use all the momentum it can get entering that matchup and a blowout victory over LSU can supply that.
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