No. 11 Florida Gators football is surging and will have its newfound success tested by the Missouri Tigers on Saturday evening. Florida is hoping to avoid dropping a Southeastern Conference game while remaining atop the SEC East and getting a measure of revenge against Mizzou.
Here’s a look ahead at Saturday’s game: what to know and how to watch the Gators.
Location: Memorial Stadium at Farout Field – Columbia, Missouri [Capacity: 71,168]
Weather: 61°F, clear (0% chance of rain), winds S at 4 mph
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT
TV: SEC Network (Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer, Maria Taylor)
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
Tale of the tape
|No. 11 Florida Gators||Missouri Tigers|
|Head Coach: Jim McElwain||Head Coach: Gary Pinkel|
|Record: 5-0 (3-0 SEC)||Record: 4-1 (1-1 SEC)|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
Spread: Florida -5 | O/U: 38
Rolling into Columbia coming off one of the program’s biggest wins in years, Florida will be tested by a perennially underrated Missouri team. Though the Tigers have really struggled in some games this season, they still boast a tremendous defense and steadily improving offense that could give the Gators fits as a road team Saturday night at Farout Field.
Under Pinkel, Mizzou is 32-13 (17-9 SEC) since joining the league in 2012. That includes back-to-back 7-1 seasons in league play and consecutive division titles in each of the last two years. Florida’s struggles in the same time frame are well-known, though it appears those issues and the recent success of its opponent is playing into Saturday’s line and projected outcomes.
The Gators only managed single-digit victories in three straight games before routing then-No. 3 Ole Miss last week. Similarly, the Tigers struggled to one-score victories at Arkansas State (27-20) and vs. UConn (9-6) before actually falling at Kentucky (13-21), a team UF held to nine points in a victory one week earlier. Pinkel is a tremendous coach and definitely has the home field advantage Saturday, but there is plenty working against Missouri.
Simply put, Florida is surging. Its last five quarters are as impressive as anything that has been put on film by a team in 2015. Mizzou’s defense has been stout against lower-tier opponents, but while freshman quarterback Drew Lock provided some hope in his first start last week, he took advantage of a South Carolina defense that has been a sieve all season. The Gators are not the Gamecocks, and asking Lock to manage a game against Florida’s defense, even at home, is a tall task.
The line was tough at 5.5. When it dropped to 4, it became a lot easier to make a decision for UF. Even at 5 though, the Gators are the pick. It should be a low-scoring affair in Columbia, which is why those swings make a difference in terms of confidence. The total is a tough bet either way, but it is simply more likely to go under than over considering the defenses playing in the contest.
ATS picks: 4-1 | O/U picks: 4-1
Injuries and absences
» Active (3): Defensive back Marcell Harris (undisclosed), offensive lineman Travaris Dorsey (undisclosed), OL Kavaris Harkless (undisclosed)
» Questionable (1): Linebacker Jeremi Powell (leg)
» Doubtful (4): DB Chris Williamson (leg), tight end C’yontai Lewis (hand), DB Kylan Johnson (ankle), defensive tackle Thomas Holley (hip), LB Matt Rolin (undisclosed)
» Out (3): Kicker Austin Hardin (undisclosed), LB Alex Anzalone (shoulder), running back Case Harrison (thumb)
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) October 10, 2015
The team captains, which change weekly, are solely responsible for choosing the uniforms ahead of each game.
» Missouri is 3-1 all-time against Florida with a 2-1 mark since joining the SEC in 2012. The other game between the teams was played to a 20-18 loss for the Gators in 1966.
» UF and Mizzou are both 13-7 against SEC East opponents since 2012.
» The Gators will be playing their fifth of six night games in a seven-game span dating back to the start of the season. It will be the third time UF is featured as the 7:30 p.m. game on SEC Network through the season’s first six games.
» Florida’s victory over Ole Miss last week was its first regular-season win against a top-three opponent since 1999.
» With the win, The Gators jumped back into the top half of the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2012. It was the third-largest move (14 spots) by any team week-to-week since 1936.
» UF in 2015 will face eight bowl teams, six ranked in the preseason AP Top 25.
» The Gators’ defense has been a hallmark of the program; it are 198-11 since 1990 when an opponent scores 21 points or fewer in a contest.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC since 2000 (407).
» The Gators are tied for the nation’s longest streak of returning either a kickoff or punt for a touchdown, doing so in 10 straight seasons. UF has not done so this year, as of press time.
» Florida is one of only four teams nationally to play three or more consecutive games away from home in 2015 (Arkansas, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe). UF begins that trek Saturday against Mizzou.
» Florida has the second-most wins in the nation since 1990 (244, Ohio State – 252).