Rapid reaction: Florida defense shuts down Missouri for 21-3 victory
A quick look at the Florida-Missouri SEC East showdown. The Gators leaned on their defense to come away with a 21-3 win and widen their lead in the division.
What it means: UF avoided a let down in a classic trap game, a road trip to Columbia, Missouri sandwiched between an upset win over Ole Miss and a showdown with No. 7 LSU. Mizzou had a chance to get back in the SEC East race and cause a three-way tie of one loss teams, but instead joins Georgia and Tennessee in the two-loss club.
What I liked: Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier used a very balanced approach in the first half. Florida RB Kelvin Taylor ran hard all night, finishing with99 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. Missouri QB Drew Lock showed poise under pressure. MU wasn’t afraid to challenge Florida’s highly touted secondary. Defensively, the Gators got consistent pressure and picked up the slack for a sputtering offense in the second half. The Gators allowed one Missouri third-down conversion.
What I didn’t like: Missouri had multiple undisciplined penalties, including two on Florida’s first-quarter scoring drives. Florida coach Jim McElwain allowed the Tigers to train the clock before a punt with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter. The first half ended with the Gators in Missouri territory. The Tigers frequently threw deep, low-percentage passes praying for a big play. Neither team seized the momentum in the second half, which turned into “punt fest.” Missouri even chose to punt in the fourth quarter, trailing 21-3, with six minutes remaining.
Who’s the man: Taylor ran hard in between the tackles and made the most of 28 carries against a stout Missouri defense. Florida’s only two offensive touchdowns came on Taylor runs.
Key play: UF CB Jalen Tabor’s pick-six in the third quarter gave the Gators some momentum in a second half which had been all punts through the first six possessions. It also opened up Florida’s lead to 21-3.
What’s next: Florida faces its biggest test with an Oct. 17 showdown in Death Valley against the LSU Tigers. Missouri hosts its fourth straight division opponent in as many weeks, the Georgia Bulldogs.