Missouri Tigers maul Florida Gators 36-17

An unrelenting offensive attack from the No. 14/14 Missouri Tigers (7-0, 3-0 SEC) dominated an injured No. 22/22 Florida Gators (4-3, 3-2 SEC) defense, picking up a 36-17 victory on Saturday afternoon at in Columbia, MO.

The Gators allowed the Tigers to rack up 500 yards of offense, the most given up by Florida in 2013, as Missouri became the first Southeastern Conference team in 14 tries to post more than 20 points in a single game against UF’s stout defense.

The visitors were outmatched all afternoon as the Gators struggled on the way to gaining just 151 yards of offense. Florida was 3-for-15 on third down as the Gators’ offensive line allowed six sacks and failed to adequately protect the quarterback throughout the contest or open up holes in the running game most of the afternoon.

After Florida deferred until the second half, Missouri started on offense and got on the board in just 22 seconds.

Quarterback Maty Mauk completed a 41-yard pass on the first play of the game to wide receiver L’Damian Washington, and the Tigers gained 15 additional yards on the play after a targeting penalty was called against Gators redshirt junior safety Cody Riggs. He was subsequently ejected from the game. On the very next play, Mauk hit WR Bud Sasser for a 20-yard touchdown.

Florida went three-and-out on its first possession, running the ball three-straight times, but lucked out on the ensuing punt, which was muffed and recovered by junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy.

Facing first down at Missouri’s 24-yard line, UF gained 17 yards on a rush by freshman running back Kelvin Taylor before stalling and settling for a 23-yard field goal by redshirt junior kicker Frankie Velez.

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Gameday: No. 22 Florida Gators at No. 14 Missouri

Location: Farout Field at Memorial Stadium – Columbia, MO [Capacity: 67,124]
Weather: 50°F (feels like 45°F), sunny, winds WSW at 14 mph
Time: 12:21 p.m. EDT

TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, Andre Ware, Cara Capuano) [Affiliates]
SiriusXM: 112/200 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

No. 22/22 FLORIDA GATORS No. 14/14 MISSOURI TIGERS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Gary Pinkel
Record: 4-2 (3-1 SEC) Record: 6-0 (2-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -3 | O/U: 43.5

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you missed via the links below!

Story: RB Matt Jones out for the season | Notebook: Will Muschamp previews Missouri | Notes: Updated depth chart | Story: Limping, struggling Gators down but not out | Notebook: Muschamp updates injuries, kicking game | Notebook: Brent Pease talks RB Kelvin Taylor, pass protection | Friday Final: Florida controls own destiny, players speak

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida and Missouri are 1-1 in the all-time series against each other with UF picking up a 14-7 victory in Gainesville, FL, last season. It was the first meeting between the teams since Mizzou joined the SEC.
» The Gators will be playing in Columbia for the first time. Saturday’s game is also the furthest north Florida has traveled for a game since 1991.
» Last week, the Tigers beat a top-10 opponent on the road for the first time since 1981.
» Last week, the Gators fell to a top 25-ranked opponent for the fourth time in their last five opportunities dating back to Oct. 27, 2012.
» Missouri has not hosted a ranked opponent since Oct. 23, 2010. A victory that evening was also the last time the Tigers started a season 7-0.
» Florida is 15-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards (7-10 when rushing for fewer than 150 yards). The Gators are also 18-4 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 13-3 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 14-4 when scoring first (8-6 when an opponent scores first) and 18-1 when leading at the half (4-9 when tied or trailing at the break).
» UF has registered a nation-leading 104 interceptions since 2008. Florida is also first in interceptions returned for touchdowns (17) and interception return yards (1,830).
» The Gators have forced the most interceptions among SEC teams this century (360).
» Florida has at least one turnover in 17-straight games.
» Missouri has at least one turnover in 36-straight games, the longest active streak in the nation among BCS teams.
» The Gators’ top-ranked defense and Tigers’ top-ranked offense will provide one of the best match-ups of the season. Florida is ranked third in total defense (235.3 yards), fourth in scoring defense (13.0 points) and first in passing efficiency defense (85.52), while Missouri is 12th in total offense (515.7 yards), eighth in scoring offense (45.7 points) and 15th in passing efficiency (158.02). UF is fourth in first down defense (84 allowed) and eighth in third down conversion defense (.271), while Mizzou is 11th in first down offense (164 gained) and 10th in third down conversion percentage (.519).
» Florida is also first in time of possession (37 minutes), second in passing yards allowed (152), fourth in rushing defense (83.3 yards), sixth in kick return defense (16.88 yards) and 13th in red zone defense (.692).
» Missouri is also first in interceptions (13) and fourth in turnover margin (+9).
» The Gators have gained more than 400 yards of offense in three of six games; UF had the same number of 400+ yard games in 13 contests in 2012.

Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!

Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 22 Florida Gators at No. 14 Missouri

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Friday Final: Florida to square off with Mizzou

No. 22/22 Florida Gators coaches and players spoke this week ahead of Saturday’s road game against the No. 14/14 Missouri Tigers scheduled to kick off at 12:21 p.m. from Memorial Stadium in Columbia, MO, and air live on SEC Network affiliates.

Below are some stories, notes and quotes that fell through the cracks and did not make it into one of the six posts already published here on OnlyGators.com (see links).

Monday: RB Matt Jones out for the season | Will Muschamp recaps LSU, talks injuries, previews Missouri
Tuesday: Updated depth chart | Limping, struggling Gators down but not out
Wednesday: Injury and kicking game updates from Muschamp
Thursday: Brent Pease talks RB Kelvin Taylor, pass protection (plus more notes from Pease and D.J. Durkin)

FLORIDA CONTROLS ITS OWN DESTINY

With every team in the East division already having dropped a league game – with the exception of Missouri, a team Florida could hand a loss to on Saturday – the Gators are very much in control of their own destiny, at least as far as the Southeastern Conference is concerned. Florida still has all of its goals in sight – winning the division, moving on to the SEC Championship in Atlanta, GA – a fact that was not lost on the coaches or players this week.

» Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy: “A lot of people brought up saying we could still win the East, we still have a chance to get to Atlanta. That’s our number one goal. Everyone was just saying we really need to focus in and have a great week of practice and get ready to go on the road and put forth a great effort to beat Missouri. We have a bye week the week after so this is a big week for us. Nothing would be worse than losing to Missouri going into a bye week. That’s in the back of everyone’s head. Everyone’s ready to go and ready to get this game on the road.”

» Senior safety Jaylen Watkins: “We definitely turn our eyes towards the East now. We definitely would like to have that game, but we do have everything still in front of us that we want to accomplish his season, which is the Sec East and going to the SEC Championship. We just have to regain our focus and get ready to go play Missouri.”

» Junior cornerback Marcus Roberson: “We haven’t lost to a team in the East yet, so we just have to win on out from Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri is coming up. We just have to win out and keep a positive mindset. We can’t let the past or the games we lost affect our season ahead of us. We control our own destiny, so if we play good and just do and trust what the coaches [tell us], we’ll win.”

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10/15: Pease talks Taylor, Gators’ pass protection

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin met with the media on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively ahead of the seventh game of the season against the Missouri Tigers on Oct. 19.

A CHANGE AT RUNNING BACK

Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor has displayed great ability with the ball in his hands during his limited action this season and impressed Pease on Saturday with his poise and flashes of ability. With sophomore Matt Jones now sidelined, Taylor’s role will continue significantly increase going forward.

“I think Kelvin did really well. I mean, he ran the ball hard. You see he made some good vertical cuts and did a good job in space and ran tough,” Pease said. “He did his job. So, I think it’s good experience for him. I think he showed us something. And, you know, he really actually gave us a little spark in running the ball there for a while.”

Pease believes Taylor is ready to handle a large number of carries but said the player has to “zero in” because he’s going to have a lot more pressure on his shoulders and responsibilities other than toting the rock.

“It just can’t be all hand-offs to him. There’s some things that he didn’t do that he needed to do. The expectation on every down,” he said. “But I’ll tell you, the kid is a physical runner. He put it north and south. We missed a couple guys. Just his speed how he hit the holes, he made them miss, especially down in the red zone. And he got good, positive yardage. When we were in that position, we kind of kept going to him a little bit. When he got the ball, he was gaining five, six, seven [yards].”

Though many fans were frustrated that Taylor, outside of the Toledo game, had not seen much action, Pease said Taylor was accepting of his previously limited role.

“The thing about him, leading up to this point and not having so many turns, is that he never complained about it. He never said it’s not fair or this isn’t equal or anything like that. He just continued to work, tried to find some consistency in what he was doing and said when my opportunity comes, I’m gonna do it. Now it’s there. I’m happy for him, and I think he’ll just continue to get better and better.”

Continue Reading » 10/15: Pease talks Taylor, Gators’ pass protection

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10/12: Florida at LSU post-game report

The No. 17/17 Florida Gators (4-2, 3-1 SEC) got manhandled by the more physical No. 10/11 LSU Tigers (6-1, 3-1 SEC), falling 17-6 on the road at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, FL. After the tough loss, Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media to provide some of his thoughts on his team and its defeat.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» LSU improved to 4-1 against Florida at Tiger Stadium since Les Miles took over the program and is now 15-16 at home all-time against UF
» The Gators are 1-4 in their last five games against ranked opponents, beating Florida State in 2012 but falling to Georgia, Louisville, Miami and LSU all since Oct. 27, 2012.
» Florida fell to 7-10 under Muschamp when rushing for fewer than 150 yards and 4-9 when tied or trailing at the half.
» The Tigers posted 327 yards of offense against the Gators’ top-ranked defense, the most UF has allowed in a single game yet in 2013. LSU was held to fewer than 400 yards and less than 30 points, both for the first time this season.
» Florida has held 13-straight SEC opponents under 20 points.
» The Gators have forced at least one turnover in 17-straight games.
» Florida failed to score a touchdown in an entire game for the first time since falling 17-9 to Georgia on Oct. 27, 2012.
» UF once again won the time of possession battle (34:11-25:49) and have done so in all six games this season.
» The Gators did not sack the opposing quarterback once, the first time that has happened in 2013.
» Florida committed at least eight penalties in a game for the fourth time this season. It’s also the fourth time the Gators lost 70+ yards in a game due to penalties. Two of those four contests ended as losses.
» UF was held to 2.8 yards per carry and under 150 team rushing yards for the second-straight game and third time overall this season (two losses).
» The Gators have not turned the ball over in back-to-back games.

» Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor registered career-highs of 10 carries and 52 rushing yards. He was a breath of fresh air in the Gators’ backfield but also missed a key block late in the game that resulted in a sack.
» Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy completed just 55.6 percent of his passes, registered 115 passing yards and a QB rating of 91.3, all career lows. He also rushed for -13 yards (due to sacks), another career low mark. Murphy succeeded on a pooch punt attempt, booting the ball 36 yards and pinning LSU at its own one-yard line.
» Redshirt junior walk-on kicker Frankie Valez handled field goals for Florida on Saturday. He went 2-for-2, making the first two attempts of his career. His long of 44 was also a season-long for UF.
» Junior punter Kyle Christy struggled mightily in his primary role but completed a 14-yard pass to redshirt junior linebacker Neiron Ball on a fake punt. It was the first pass of his career and Ball’s first reception.
» The Gators did not register a sack on the evening, but Florida’s offensive line and allowed Murphy to be taken down four times and hurried on five more occasions.
» Redshirt junior nose tackle Leon Orr recovered the first fumble of his career.

Continue Reading » 10/12: Florida at LSU post-game report

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Tigers outwork Gators 17-6 in Baton Rouge

The No. 17/17 Florida Gators (4-2, 3-1 SEC) got a taste of their own medicine at the hands of the No. 10/10 LSU Tigers (6-1, 3-1 SEC), which dominated both lines of scrimmage and thoroughly outworked the visitors on the way to a 17-6 victory at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA, on Saturday.

LSU outgained Florida 327-239 on offense, racking up more yards on the Gators in a single game than any other team this season. The Tigers also converted 5-of-9 third down attempts and held UF to a paltry 109 rushing yards on 40 carries.

While Florida redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy was pressured all day long and even sacked four times, LSU signal caller Zach Mettenberger was not taken down once on the afternoon. He gained chunk yardage on UF’s cornerbacks by completing a number of nice passes and racked up more yards on nine completions (152) than Murphy registered on 15 connections (116).

Florida deferred the opening kickoff but still struck first, putting three points on the board at the conclusion of a 14-play, 60-yard drive that started at UF’s 13-yard line, ended at LSU’s 27 and lasted 7:27. Redshirt junior walk-on kicker Frankie Velez connected on a 44-yard field goal, the first of his career and longest for the Gators this season.

LSU did not take long to answer back as Mettenberger completed passes of 17 and 26 yards – and benefited from a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on UF junior defensive tackle Darious Cummings – to move the ball to the visitors’ 12-yard line.

A pass interference call on redshirt junior safety Cody Riggs gave the Tigers a second chance to punch it in the end zone, and they responded with a short touchdown to go up 7-3 just four ticks into the second quarter.

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Friday Final: Florida prepares for LSU

No. 17/18 Florida Gators coaches and players spoke this week ahead of Saturday’s road game against the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m. from Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA, and air live on CBS.

Below are some stories, notes and quotes that fell through the cracks and did not make it into one of the six posts already published here on OnlyGators.com (see links).

Monday: WR Solomon Patton: from “jet sweep guy” to game-breaking receiver | Will Muschamp recaps Arkansas, previews LSU
Tuesday: Brent Pease talks RB Kelvin Taylor, quarterbacks and LSU
Wednesday: Muschamp, Les Miles and Steve Spurrier talk Florida-LSU on the SEC teleconference
Thursday: DT Darious Cummings doing his part to replace the irreplaceable
Friday: LB Ronald Powell has payback on his mind for LSU

DANTE FOWLER, JR.: FEROCIOUS TEDDY BEAR

As menacing as sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. is on the field, he’s quite the opposite off the gridiron. That is according to basically every coach and player that was asked about him over the past week – which amounted to every single person who was made available to speak to the media.

“He’s a big kid. He’s tough on the field, but he’s like a little teddy bear off the field,” said senior safety Jaylen Watkins. “He’s funny, jokes around. I’ve never seen him get mad.”

Concurred junior defensive tackle Darious Cummings: “He’s a big kid. He’s very soft spoken. It’s night and day how he is on the field and off the field. That being said, it’s a pleasure to play with him every Saturday.”

Fowler is happy his teammates see him that way and even referred to himself this week as a “big, goofy teddy bear-guy.” But he also doesn’t understand why his laid back personality is such a big deal.

“Look at me, I’m smiling right now. I’m goofy. I like to play around and stuff,” he said. “I just turned 19, so I just try to live life. I’m still a kid. I’m not 21 yet. My mom still washes my clothes … when I go home. Now I have to. It sucks though, man.”

He also explained why he can turn off that personality at a dime as soon as he dons his pads and puts his helmet on.

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Snell’s Slant: Mind the gaps, respect Death Valley

A three-year starter for the Florida Gators who played under Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, former guard Shannon Snell joined OnlyGators.com in 2012 as a football columnist to provide his unique perspective on the team. He has returned to continue sharing his musings through the 2013 season. Snell, who played in 46 games over four seasons and started 36 of those contests, was named a First Team All-American by Sporting News in 2003 and spent two seasons in the NFL.

With the team facing so much adversity over the last few weeks, it was pleasing to see the Gators put together such a convincing win over an above average Southeastern Conference opponent (at least as far as physicality is concerned). This was the first week that I thought Florida would truly be tested on both sides of the ball, and for the most part the Gators passed with flying colors. That is not to say everything was perfect; there is plenty of room for opportunity and growth.

Florida finally seems to be finding some chemistry in the passing game, especially between Tyler Murphy and Solomon Patton, but I cannot help but concentrate on the issues in the running game. There is a severe lack of explosive plays on the ground save for Matt Jones’s 67-yard gain at Kentucky, an outlier.

As head coach Will Muschamp indicated after Saturday’s game, the offensive linemen are not getting any movement on their blocks. It is not necessary for these guys to absolutely maul and knock their counterparts flat on their backs every single play (a pancake block) for the running game to be successful.

What Muschamp is referring to is the offensive line struggling to move defenders out of what are supposed to be gaps for the running backs to hit.

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