On of the strengths of this undefeated Florida team has been its resiliency. Bad things happen and they bounce back every time, whether it’s from a fourth-quarter deficit against Tennessee or beating back the flu against Ole Miss.
But this latest setback is a doozy — losing starting quarterback Will Grier for an entire year the Monday before facing No. 6 LSU in Death Valley. This one is going to be hard to overcome. Not impossible, but improbable.
The players said earlier this week that they’ve already bounced back; that they feel bad for Grier but they’re eager to move on with sophomore Treon Harris. That sounds good, but the reality is this already inconsistent offense is probably going to have all kinds of problems with LSU’s defense.
Jim McElwain said the offense will basically be the same with Harris at quarterback. But after watching both quarterbacks early in the season, it was obvious Grier is a much better passer and can make the throws Harris struggles with. So, the passing game is not going to be as good as it was with Grier and the Gators are going to have a difficult time sustaining drives and scoring Saturday night.
The defense, as it always does, gives the Gators a chance. They’ll make things tough early in the game for Leonard Fournette, but he will eventually bust loose like he always does and pile up some impressive rushing yardage.
Here’s my first prediction: with UF loading up the box to defend the run, the Tigers will try to throw it over the secondary’s head on LSU’s first offensive play. So, watch for that one, Gators.
If the Grier mess hadn’t happened, I would have picked the Gators to win this game. Even without Grier, I think Florida matches up really well against this LSU team and will have a chance to pull the upset.
Bottom line, though, the defense will keep the Gators in the game, but the offense won’t score enough points for Florida to win. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Prediction: LSU 21, Florida 17.