published Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Can Murphy outperform Mettenberger?

OTHER PICKS

Miss. St. 35, Bowling Green 16

Va. Tech 28, Pittsburgh 21

Duke 26, Navy 19

Clemson 42, Boston Coll. 25

N.C. State 29, Syracuse 20

Maryland 20, Virginia 17

MTSU 23, North Texas 22

Louisville 34, Rutgers 13

Oklahoma 41, Texas 18

Texas Tech 37, Iowa State 14

Baylor 45, Kansas State 30

Wisconsin 30, Northwestern 27

Oregon 48, Washington 31

Michigan 24, Penn State 23

Stanford 39, Utah 28

No. Illinois 31, Akron 24

UCLA 56, California 26

Saturday's game between No. 10 LSU and No. 17 Florida could come down to how Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who leads the SEC in pass efficiency, fares against the league's top statistical defense.

Then again, it could be all about Tyler Murphy.

Florida's redshirt junior quarterback has been brilliant since filling in for the injured Jeff Driskel in the early stages of the Sept. 21 win over Tennessee. The 6-foot-2, 208-pounder from Connecticut has completed 39 of 54 passes (72.2 percent) for 530 yards with five touchdowns and one interception.

Murphy also has rushed 24 times for 135 yards and two scores.

"The game slows down to him when it becomes tight, and I think that's the way it's supposed to be," LSU coach Les Miles said Wednesday on the SEC teleconference. "We'll have to pressure him in a number of ways."

Murphy was the only two-star signee in Florida's 2010 class and seemed destined to be a career backup. Gators coach Will Muschamp said Murphy benefited from Driskel missing the start of preseason camp due to appendix surgery, and Muschamp has few complaints with the way he is performing.

The Gators are 3-0 with Murphy, with two of the wins coming at home and the other at Kentucky.

"Tyler has been a guy who has been able to create some off-rhythm plays for us," Muschamp said. "We've improved ourselves as a scrambling team, but we've also improved ourselves throwing the football to start the year, and we've continued to improve through the year.

"We've taken steps forward in the passing game every week."

Pasquali's Pix:

Missouri at Georgia: Glad this thing kicks off at noon, because it could take a while. Bulldogs 38, Tigers 33.

South Carolina at Arkansas: Did Jadeveon Clowney just become Steve Spurrier's first soap opera that didn't involve a rival coach or a beleaguered quarterback? Gamecocks 23, Razorbacks 20.

Western Carolina at Auburn: Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Missouri's Gary Pinkel seem to be vying for the SEC's best midseason coaching job. Tigers 48, Catamounts 9.

Florida at LSU: This is an annual matchup neither school is thrilled about playing, but it sure has been entertaining and important. Tigers 27, Gators 17.

Furman at UTC: The Mocs haven't defeated the Paladins in consecutive seasons since 1993-94. Mocs 34, Paladins 23.

Alabama at Kentucky: Hal Mumme's Wildcats once beat Mike DuBose's Crimson Tide, but UK's good times against Bama apparently didn't last. Tide 34, Wildcats 10.

Georgia Tech at Brigham Young: The Yellow Jackets don't need altitude right now. They need another game with Elon. Cougars 37, Yellow Jackets 24.

Texas A&M at Ole Miss: Talk about unbalanced schedules -- the Rebels could start out 3-0, fall to 3-4 and finish 8-4. Aggies 38, Rebels 31.

Last week:

Winners....................22

Blue-paint vandals.....3

Pasquali is 133-17 overall (88.7 percent) this season.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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