In its final regular season SEC game, Florida (8-1, 7-1 SEC) defeated the Missouri Tigers (4-5, 1-5 SEC) 14-7 Saturday afternoon in the Swamp.
The Gators failed to score in the first half, only totaling 111 yards of offense. Florida senior running back Mike Gillislee lost a fumble on the Gators own 27 yard line in the second quarter, which led to a Missouri touchdown.
But thanks to the Gator defense, one of the top rated defensive units in the nation, that would be the only score for the Tigers on the day.
While Missouri’s offense did gain 335 total yards, and entered Florida territory six times in the second half, the Florida defense came up with big stops, intercepting Tiger junior qaurterback James Franklin four times, and sacked him just as many times, allowing the Gator offense opportunites to score. Several young players stepped for Florida including true freshman defensive linemen Jonothan Bullard, who had two sacks, and Dante Fowler, Jr., who had one. Florida head coach Will Muschamp says he and his staff constantly let the defense know how they need to perform, regardless of the situation.
The Gator offense had two scoring drives in the second half, both of which came on short fields thanks to the Florida defense. Gator senior tight end Omarius Hines scored on a 36 yard jet sweep in the third quarter, which tied the game at seven apiece. Then in the fourth, Gillislee caught a screen pass from Gator sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel and took it 45 yards for a touchdown to take the lead for good. Driskel says he was not surprised with the success of the screen pass.
Part of the reason Florida was able to pull out a win this afternoon was because of its lack of turnovers. After turning the ball over six times last week against Georgia, the only turnover the Gators committed today was Gillislee’s lost fumble in the second quarter. Florida redshirt junior offenisive lineman Jonotthan Harrison says the Gators coaching staff emphasized ball security all week.
The Gators did receive a scare at the end of the game. Only down by a touchdown, the Missouri offense drove into Florida territory in the final minute, but Franklin was intercepted in the endzone by safety Josh Evans with less than ten seconds remaining.
Coach Muschamp says, especially after last week’s loss, he could not be happier with his team’s attitude and resolve.
Although Georgia did beat Ole Miss today, Florida still has a chance to claim a spot in the SEC Championship game if the Bulldogs lose to Auburn next week.