Florida handled Missouri in the Swamp in a game that featured sporadic rain, five interceptions, and a dominant Gator defense.
Here’s my Missouri Tigers vs. Florida Gators, Homecoming Recap – 2016
The 40-14 final score gave Gators a lot to cheer about and capped off Homecoming, but there are some big questions in Gainesville going forward as Jarrad Davis exited the game with a lower leg injury. Although we know there’s no fracture, the extent of the injury is still unknown and there is little depth at linebacker behind Alex Anzalone and Davis, who is on the Butkus Award watch list.
The Gators notched their third win against Missouri since the Tigers arrived on the SEC scene, moving the all-time series record to an even 3-3.
After the news broke Thursday that Florida would travel to Baton Rouge in November, Jim McElwain’s offense certainly appeared to lack focus. Every starting offensive lineman other than Cam Dillard, the center, was called for a false start at some point. The offense failed to put the ball in the end zone in the first half despite having some success on the ground against a poor Missouri run defense.
Luke Del Rio looked shaky at best in his first start after an MCL sprain suffered against North Texas. He recklessly threw the ball into tight coverage, often under throwing receivers who had defensive backs beat. Del Rio finished the day with a 32.3 QBR and three interceptions. Although one of the picks came on a deep ball to end the first half, he’ll need to be better for the Gators to make it to Atlanta.
On the bright side for the offense, freshman Tyrie Cleveland finally impacted the game, scoring his first touchdown of the season after being hampered by a hamstring injury earlier in the year. The stable in the backfield looked solid, with Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine logging over 100 yards each and Mark Thompson adding another 65 to salt the game away. However, Del Rio and the O-Line’s play left a lot to be desired for most of the game.
— #InAllKindsOfWeather (@AllKindsWeather) October 15, 2016
Luckily, the Gator defense played at a championship level on a day Florida celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the 2006 National Championship Team. Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson intercepted Drew Lock on consecutive possessions and returned them both for touchdowns to give the Gators a 20-0 lead going into halftime. Missouri also didn’t move the chains for the first time until just under three and a half minutes in the second quarter.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 15, 2016
The Missouri offense definitely isn’t up to par with Georgia, Arkansas, or LSU, but the Gator defense utterly dominated the game and did everything that could be asked of them. Missouri’s second touchdown came with just over a minute left in the game and backups in for both sides. However, Antonio Callaway got the Swamp rocking again on the ensuing onside kick, plucking the ball out of the air and returning it up the sideline for a touchdown to put an exclamation point the win.
Florida will need offensive improvement and a healthy defense going forward to hold onto first place in the SEC East. They are 5-1 on the year with a 3-1 conference record. The Gators will play Georgia next on 10/29 in Jacksonville.