LSU already pointing toward Florida showdown
October, 3, 2009
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
ATHENS, Ga. -- The sweat was still thick on Charles Scott’s brow Saturday evening when he ignited the official countdown to The Game.
LSU hadn’t even had time to celebrate its thrilling 20-13 victory over Georgia when the subject invariably turned to next week.
|Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images|
|LSU coach Les Miles and the Tigers will put their undefeated record up against Florida next Saturday.|
The Florida Gators.
“We’ll feel great for another hour or so and then we’ll start thinking about Florida,” said Scott, whose 33-yard touchdown run with 46 seconds to play won it for the Tigers.
It was another skin-of-their-teeth win for the Tigers, who’ve pretty much experienced this all this season.
They’ve gone all the way across the country to face Washington in the opener in a game that was closer than anyone expected at the time. They played just well enough to win the next week at home against Vanderbilt and then came up with a goal-line stand for the ages last week to escape at Mississippi State.
They head back home to Tiger Stadium to face the No. 1-ranked Gators after coming alive offensively in the final three minutes against Georgia.
“My heart can’t take too many more of these,” LSU coach Les Miles joked.
Something says he probably better get used to it, because the SEC race is shaping up as a wild one.
Next weekend, in a lot of ways, will separate the contenders from the pretenders. In addition to the Florida-LSU showdown, Alabama goes to Ole Miss.
“We’re right where we wanted to be, undefeated and going back to our house,” LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “Florida’s coming to town, and nobody is going to want to miss this game.”
The Gators, who were off this week, thrashed the Tigers 51-21 a year ago in Gainesville, a romp that was still fresh in the LSU players’ minds only minutes after taking care of Georgia on Saturday night.
“Florida put it on us last year, and we’re holding a grudge,” LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson said. “They were disrespecting us, doing stuff like punting the ball in the stands. We’ve been looking forward to this.”
Jefferson was referring to Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes punting the ball into the stands after returning an interception for a touchdown a year ago.
Linebacker Kevin Sheppard’s eyes lit up when asked what Tiger Stadium was going to be like next Saturday. LSU has won 32 consecutive Saturday night games at home.
“Oh man, words can’t describe that,” beamed Sheppard, already anticipating the atmosphere on the Bayou.
Something else the Tigers are anticipating is seeing Florida quarterback Tim Tebow in the lineup despite the concussion he suffered at Kentucky.
“He’s going to play. I know he is,” Peterson said. “He’s a competitor. He’s always in guys’ ears, and I know he’s going to play.
“They call him Superman. We’re just going to have to contain Superman.”
Added Sheppard: “Knowing that guy, he’s definitely going to give it his all to get in there and play.”
Either way, the Tigers (5-0) go into that game feeling better about themselves than they have all season.
“I love the passion we’re playing with, the way the offense came through, the way the defense is playing,” Scott said. “It’s coming along, and the best thing is that we’re only going to get better.
“We’ll keep our eyes open and keep heading down that road.”
It’s a road the leads to one of the most anticipated showdowns of the season next Saturday between a Florida team many have called the most talented team in the country and an LSU team many have called the most overrated team in the country.
“People can sit back and talk and talk,” Sheppard said. “One of these days, you have to line up and play each other. That’s what happened today and what’s going to happen next week against a great team.
“We’ll see how it turns out on the field.”