The physical battle in the trenches and the spectacular speed of Florida's skill position players against LSU's second level defenders have overtaken Tim Tebow as the primary areas to watch in this game.
Tebow, of course, is going to get all of the attention, but LSU's secondary is doing a great job so far of limiting his throwing options downfield and Florida is understandably hesitant to begin pounding the ball inside with their typically successful quarterback draws.
Two early mismatches thus far could prove key to deciding the winner of this game.
Junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap has the speed to beat left tackle Ciron Black off the edge and certainly has the burst to beat the Tigers' interior linemen, as he's been shuffled inside on mutliple occasions. This position versatility from the 6-6, 280 pound Dunlap not only will provide the Gators with a decided edge up front in the passing game, it could potentially boost his stock with NFL scouts. The risk, however, in moving Dunlap inside, is negating his burst and allowing LSU's shorter interior linemen opportunities to get into his chest and drive Dunlap off the ball.
Not surprisingly considering how evenly matched these teams are, the other mismatch is in LSU's favor. Wide receiver Brandon LaFell, NFLDraftScout.com's top rated prospect at the position, has been able to shake off tight coverage to already have 3 catches for 37 yards in this contest. Blessed with a similar combination of size, strength and run-after-catch ability as former Tiger Dwayne Bowe, LaFell has already made some big plays in this game, including a spectacular catch on 3rd down. A better throw by Jordan Jefferson would have given the Tigers a first down. LaFell, however, snatched the back half of the ball and if not for tight coverage by the Gators, easily would picked up the yardage.