After two-consecutive SEC road victories, the No. 22 Florida Gators will return to the friendly confines of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Florida will host an undefeated and top-5 nationally ranked LSU team that already has two top-10 wins under its belt. Say what you want about Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron, but he certainly has his team rolling right now, and it’s going to take a heck of an effort from the Gators this weekend to dethrone LSU from the ranks of the unbeaten.
“You know how this league is, we had two straight road games, one over a huge rival, the second over a top-25 team, and you win those two and you get rewarded by playing a top-5 team in the country at home in LSU coming in here, ” Gators head coach Dan Mullen said at his Monday press conference. “The league always gets tougher from one week to the next, but that’s playing in the Southeastern Conference.”
UF to honor Tebow
Adding to the game day experience at the Swamp will be the return of the 2008 national championship team, as well as Tim Tebow’s induction into Florida’s Ring of Honor. Also, the school has encouraged fans to wear blue to form a “blue-out” at the stadium on Saturday as the Gators plan on running out of the tunnel in all-blue uniforms.
Gators vs. Tigers!@TimTebow inducted to Ring of Honor!
2008 National Championship team reunion!
“After the last couple weeks, it’ll be nice to get back home, let somebody else deal with all the crowd noise,” Mullen said. “What we need to do is sell out the Swamp, pack it early, get loud and give us that home-field advantage.”
The energy the crowd will bring to the game could go a long way in helping a team that seems to be finally buying in to what the coaching staff has been preaching to them the past couple weeks.
Defense key for both teams
UF’s defense has been especially impressive as of late. After giving up over 300 yards on the ground in a loss to Kentucky three weeks ago, the defensive line and linebackers have embraced the necessity to be physical during the team’s three-game winning streak. It helps when the team can create turnovers (nine in the last three games) and register sacks (12 in the last three games).
“I think they’re buying in to what we’re trying to do,” Mullen said after he was asked about his defense’s recent success. “I think one of the things that’s helping is I like to rotate players. What you see is, when you get to the end of the fourth quarter or the second half and at that point your defense is fresh.”
That strategy seemed to have worked wonders last Saturday. Florida’s defense only gave up 43 yards total in the second half.
UF and LSU both rank in the top-35 nationally in total defense, so one should expect a low-scoring affair on the scoreboard when the clock hits triple zero next Saturday.
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