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Abolverdi’s Analysis: LSU has never been more vulnerable

Zach Abolverdi
Gainesville Sun
LSU is expected to start freshman quarterback Max Johnson against the  Gators on Saturday.

When the Florida-LSU game was postponed in mid-October, it looked like the Tigers had dodged a bullet. 

They just suffered their second loss in three games, and starting quarterback Myles Brennan was lost to a season-ending abdominal injury. 

UF, it seemed, couldn’t be catching LSU at a more vulnerable time. 

Wrong. 

On Oct. 17, the Gators were set to face a true freshman quarterback making his first career start on the road against an SEC rival. 

As luck would have it, they get that same opportunity Saturday night. 

LSU’s Max Johnson will receive the nod over fellow true freshman T.J. Finley, who would’ve been the starter against the Gators two months ago after Brennan’s injury. 

At the time, that was the biggest concern for the Tigers. However, their season has taken a turn for the worst in recent weeks, with top receiver Terrace Marshall and tight end Arik Gilbert both opting out, the team losing three of its last four games and the program’s self-imposed one-year bowl ban. 

LSU has never been more vulnerable than it is now. 

The Gators, meanwhile, are heading in the opposite direction. 

They’ve won six straight, their quarterback (Kyle Trask) is having a Joe Burrow-like season, their star tight end (Kyle Pitts) hasn’t opted out and their postseason could be a CFB Playoff berth. 

That will likely hinge on whether the Gators can win their first SEC title since 2008. That’s also the last time they beat LSU by a big margin, and the Tigers are due for a beatdown. 

Florida will send the seniors out in style Saturday with a blowout win, and Trask is going to pick apart "DBU" as he breaks Danny Wuerffel’s single-season school record for touchdown passes. The offense will also eclipse 40 points after three consecutive games scoring in the 30s. 

Defensively, I expect the Gators to come after the inexperienced Johnson with pressure and force him into some bad throws. He will be sacked a few times and picked off for the first time this year. Todd Grantham’s unit can close out the regular season by allowing less than 20 points for the fourth game in a row. 

Prediction: Florida 48, LSU 17.