Leak will make too many plays

Scouts, Inc., examines the LSU-Florida matchup and sees the Gators winning a thriller.

Originally Published: September 30, 2004
By Todd McShay | Scouts, Inc.
The Gators will be looking for their third consecutive victory in the program's first ever four-game homestand. After Florida handed LSU its only loss of the 2003 season, the Tigers will be looking to repay the favor in The Swamp.

Who: LSU (24) vs. Florida (12)
When: Sat., 7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL

Florida head coach Ron Zook has done a fine job of refocusing his team following a controversial loss at Tennessee, rebounding with wins over Kentucky and Arkansas. Florida is still very much in the thick of the SEC East title hunt, as it still has a chance to knock off the only undefeated team in the division, Georgia.

When the Tigers suffered their second defeat to Georgia last week, any thoughts of defending the BCS national championship title vanished. But Nick Saban's squad can still play in a major bowl game with an upset over the Gators this weekend.

Florida's offense ranks second in the SEC with an average of 35.5 points per game, while LSU's defense is giving up just 15.8 points per contest.

The Gators' offense features one of the nation's most explosive quarterbacks in Chris Leak. His weapons include running back Ciatrick Fason and wide receiver Andre Caldwell. Following its embarrassing performance against Georgia last week, LSU's defense will be out to prove its worth.

While all the hype surrounds the showdown between the Gators' offense and Tigers' defense, the game is likely to be decided on the other side of the ball. The Florida defense is young and inconsistent. It is loaded with talent and anchored by one of the nation's best linebackers, Channing Crowder, but mental breakdowns have led to too many big plays this season.

The LSU offense seemingly has every piece of the puzzle in place outside of the quarterback position. If Marcus Randall and JaMarcus Russell fail to step up in Saturday's trip to Gainesville, it could lead to yet another embarrassment for the defending champs.

Todd McShay

ESPN Senior Writer