LSU meets Florida in top-10 clash

Kyle Riviere
Russell Shepard dives into the end zone after a 78-yard run in the Tigers' 38-22 win over Towson.

LSU hasn't quite looked like a top-10 team the past two weeks, but they'll have to live up to that No. 4 ranking if they want to escape Gainsville with a win this Saturday.

The No. 10 Gators have flourished so far this season under second-year head coach and former Tiger defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

At 4-0 and 3-0 in SEC play, Florida is doing things this year that they weren't a season ago. They are running the ball consistently with Mike Gillislee and doing it right up the gut unlike in the past.

They are getting the kind of solid quarterback play that they haven't gotten since Tim Tebow graduated. Sophomore signal-caller Jeff Driskel has steadily improved with every game

He's completing nearly 70 percent of his passes and being very smart with the football--only throwing one interception all year. To go with this, he's been successful running the ball as well--rushing for nearly 150 yards and a touchdown through four games.

Finally, Florida has shown a grittiness and toughness that was absent a year ago. Last season, they often let the game snowball on them once they fell behind; that hasn't been the case in 2012.

They went to College Station in week two and fought back from a 17-7 deficit. The Gators scored 13 unanswered points to edge out SEC new-comer Texas A&M 20-17.

Two weeks later, in the hostile, unforgiving environment of Neyland Stadium, Florida erased a 20-13 deficit to score 24 unanswered and win the game 37-20 over Tennessee.

Florida will provide the toughest defense LSU has faced all year. They rank No. 10 in the nation in scoring defense as they only give up 13 points a game.

This is a concern considering the offensive struggles the Tigers have encountered the past two weeks against much weaker competition.

LSU's stale performance against Auburn was supposed to just be an aberration, a product of a young team's first SEC road game. However, the same things that haunted them against the War Eagles carried over to their game with overmatched Towson.

Though the offense looked much better in the second half, it was still an inauspicious performance overall. The Tiger receivers dropped more passes, Zach Mettenberger looked uncomfortable for much of the game and was sacked three times.

Even the running game had trouble getting started as Michael Ford, Spencer Ware and Kenny Hilliard all put the ball on the ground. Towson recovered two of the fumbles and another by Mettenberger following a sack.

To add to the miscues, LSU committed 10 penalties. They now have 19 in the last

The rushing attack will have to get going for LSU's offense to be successful. As long as they can grind it out on the ground, it should help the offensive line in pass protection and open up the field for Mettenberger and the passing game.

The Tigers will be trying to get their fourth win in The Swamp in their last six trips.