Before the start of the season, playing Missouri on the road seemed to fall into the category of trap game for the Gators. But it has moved way beyond that with the great start the Tigers have gotten off to this season.
It’s not a trap game, it’s a tough game, one that many believe Missouri should be favored to win based on the different direction the two teams seem to be heading (UF’s arrow is pointing down; Mizzou’s is pointing up).
Missouri showed it was for real, and a real serious contender in the SEC East, with its 41-26 victory at Georgia last Saturday. The way the Tigers were able to pressure and sack Aaron Murray with only a four-man pass rush does not bode well for the Gators, who could not protect Tyler Murphy in UF’s dismal offensive performance in Baton Rouge last Saturday.
Murphy was sacked four times by the blitzing LSU defense. I have a feeling Missouri will be able to match that total Saturday without having to blitz.
After making positive strides in Murphy’s first two starts (Kentucky and Arkansas), the offense clearly regressed in the loss to LSU. And now there’s a blueprint for defending the Gators: pressure Murphy. LSU showed it’s not that hard to do. Send one extra defender against the UF offensive line, and chances are someone is going to get to the quarterback. We saw a lot of that in Baton Rouge, we’ll see more in Columbia on Saturday.
The Florida defense, which obviously has to carry this team, should have some success against a potent Missouri offense that will feature a new starting quarterback, redshirt freshman Maty Mauk. But the Gators may have to score defensive touchdowns to put up enough points to win this game.
UF scored only 14 against Missouri a year ago. And that Gator offense was better than this one, which probably isn’t saying much, but it’s saying something.
Prediction: Missouri 16, Florida 13.