The Matchup: Missouri (4-4, 1-4) at #7 Florida (7-1, 6-1)
When: Saturday, November 3rd
Where: Gainesville, FL
Game Time: 12:00 PM ET
Series History: The last time these two teams met was back in 1965 in the Sugar Bowl, and Missouri won that football game 20-18.
Missouri Will Win If: The Tigers play their best football game of the season. It’s no mystery how teams will play Florida moving forward – load the box and minimize the impact of the zone-read with Jeff Driskel and the downhill running attack from Mike Gillislee. DT Sheldon Richardson will have to be a force in the middle, controlling the line of scrimmage just like he’s been all season. The defense hasn’t been the problem. It’s been the offense that’s currently ranked 12th in the SEC. Granted, they’ve had major injury issues at quarterback and offensive line, but James Franklin is officially back for Saturday, hoping to give the team some momentum. He played last week but didn’t start. This will be his football game. Special teams will be key, too, because Marcus Murphy leads the SEC in punt returns and will be going against the SEC’s best punter in Kyle Christy. It’s going to take a complete effort in all three phases of the game, but it’s certainly not out of the question to leave Gainesville with a win if the Gators are careless with the football again.
Florida Will Win If: The Gators take care of the football. Entering last week’s game against Georgia, Florida had turned it over only four times on offense. Georgia caused mass chaos and confusion with their physical presence, and Florida turned it over six times. Missouri leads the SEC in forced fumbles. Florida has hung their hat on protecting the football and forcing fumbles against opponents, who are also known as ‘violators’ around the Gators’ program. Florida is a much more physical football team than Missouri, but that Gators’ team last week is a .500 program with turnovers. Jeff Driskel has to take care of the football much better, as he threw two picks and lost two fumbles and took blame for the loss after the game.
Interesting Stat: Florida is 118th out of 124 in passing offense, only averaging 143.6 yards per game. If Missouri can have some success shutting down the running game, they’ll be in this football game until the very end.
Storyline(s): Florida must win this game in order to stay in contention in the SEC East. The Gators hope Ole Miss can find a way to upset Georgia on the road this week. But Florida must take of business against Missouri to get back into talks.
Player(s) To Watch: For Missouri, keep your eye on Sheldon Richardson. His ability to control the line of scrimmage from the point of attack will be critical in helping reduce the number of big plays in the Florida running game. He has two forced fumbles, 7.5 tackles for loss and four sacks for the Tigers.
For Florida, Jeff Driskel will continue to be at the forefront of everyone’s conversation about the Gators’ offense. He took a step backwards last week with his inability to protect the football, and he hasn’t shown the progression that many were hoping for throughout the course of the season. But it’s only one bad game, and he hopes that is out of his system. He looks to rebound against Missouri’s defense.
Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE