For whatever reason, the Gators have struggled with the Missouri Tigers, going 3-5 all time. Florida will enter Saturday’s early game looking to end a two-game skid that includes a 38-17 beatdown in last year’s homecoming game. Despite the Tigers having been tamed in recent weeks, they are unbeaten at Faurot Field this season.
Not only will the Gators have to battle the home crowd, but they will also need to fight off any early morning doldrums. The two teams will be kicking off at 11 a.m., a full hour earlier than any game that Florida has played in this season. Add to all of that, the fact that the temperatures will be in the 40’s on Saturday morning, meaning the Gators will have to exhibit discipline and mental toughness in order to avoid coming out flat.
Mizzou quarterback, Kelly Bryant is supposed to play this weekend but he is still not at 100% and even if he were, he hasn’t lit opposing defenses up this season. Bryant has completed 62% of his 225 passes for 1,845 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions through eight games.
Kyle Trask, on the other hand, is coming off of a career-high 363 yard, three-touchdown — one of them came on the ground — performance. On the season, Trask has performed quite well since his late-game entrance following a season-ending injury to Feleipe Franks. Since taking over as the starter, Trask has completed 160 of 239 passes for 2011 yards, 11 touchdowns, and six interceptions.
Although both teams have played well on the defensive side of the ball this season, Mizzou will give up some plays in the passing game. They don’t have the elite level pass rush that the Gators have and that means Trask will have time to find the holes in their coverage.
For Florida, the key to shutting the Tigers down will be to contain the run. Mizzou has lost every game that they’ve failed to reach their per game rushing average of 165 yards. Meanwhile, only LSU and South Carolina have rushed for more than 140 yards against the Gators defense. Unless they can’t quite get the sleep out of their eyes, the Gators will make Mizzou one dimensional which means a long day for Barry Odom’s team.
The Gators enter Saturday’s contest as 6.5 point favorites. If they protect the ball and keep Larry Rountree, Kelly Bryant, and John Nance under wraps, Florida will beat that spread. I like the Gators to win, 38-21.
Florida closes out its SEC schedule in Columbia, Missouri at 11 a.m. CST (Noon EST). The game will be televised on CBS and as always, you can follow along with the action with @ChompTalk and @MikeyPfeffer on our Twitter accounts. Tune into Own The 4th Quarter beginning at the conclusion of the third quarter with me and @WillMilesSEC.