Florida vs Missouri
11.3.18 / 4:00 PM
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
It is homecoming week and the Gator faithful will be making the pilgrimage to the Swamp this Saturday with the hopes of erasing the pain of a tough loss last week. Head coach Dan Mullen has high expectations for how the fans and the team respond to disappointment and adversity.
“Our first loss of the season, I think we handled it really well. Then we started handling success pretty well and now we want to see how we handle this adversity.”
Florida will face an offense lead by arguably the best quarterback in the league, Drew Lock. Lock is capable of making every throw and shows poise in the pocket. Despite this, Mizzou has a Jekkyl and Hyde personality on offense.
After putting up 646 yards and 63 points on Memphis, Mizzou could only muster 14 against Kentucky last week. In their fourth SEC loss this season, the offense was held to 8 consecutive three and outs. In fact, the same Mizzou offense that has averaged 35.5 points per game, has only scored just 24 total points in their last 2 SEC games.
Regardless of their offensive struggles against in conference opponents, Mizzou can put up points in wholesale. Their offensive attack centers around Lock, Emmanuel Hall, and Larry Rountree III.
Hall has missed some time recently while recovering from a groin injury but the Tigers are hopeful that he will be ready to go come game time. He currently leads their receiving corps with 18 receptions for 430 yards and a trifecta of touchdowns.
When the Tigers go to the ground game, they rely heavily on Rountree. He has contributed 594 yards and 8 touchdowns on 108 carries and adds a nice counter balance to the passing game.
At a glance:
2018 record: 4-4, 0-4 SEC
For Lock’s part, he has put up pretty decent numbers this year and is considered the top rated senior quarterback prospect for the NFL draft. With that said, he struggles when heavily pressured and it would be a safe bet that Todd Grantham will send a variety of blitz packages. Especially with the return of C.J. Henderson in the Gators secondary.
Lock will be forced to try to find the open man in the midst of relentless pressure, against the nation’s 12th ranked pass defense. A defense that also ranks 20th in points allowed per game with a 19.0 per game average.
While the quarterbacks that will face each other are quite different, both in play style and in national perception, they actually aren’t so far apart in their individual stat lines this year.
Lock has completed 169/279 for 2,144 yards and has 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Feleipe Franks checks in with 116 completions on 203 attempts for 1,511 yards. He also has 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
Florida will need Franks to come out confident, clean, and focused on Saturday. If he can leave the ghosts in the shadows and play in the moment, there is a potential for the Gators to put up some points against a Missouri defense that gives up an average of 28.9 points per game.
As is usually the case, the passing game of Florida needs to come through the running game. Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett will need to run downhill with a chip on their shoulders and remain conscientious of ball security.
This is a game that the Gators need to dominate in all three phases in order to gain a full head of steam for their final three games. There is still much that can be accomplished if the Gators can win out and the remaining schedule favors such a scenario.
A New Years Six bowl game is well within reach. Along with that? Recruiting momentum and the potential to finish a season that began unranked, in the top 5. Not a bad haul for year one of the Dan Mullen era.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville on the SEC Network at 4 p.m. EST. Be sure to follow along with all of the action on the ChompTalk.com Facebook and Twitter accounts.