The Missouri Tiger football team is for real…even without its starting quarterback.
There were some questions about Missouri's offense with freshman Maty Mauk taking the snaps after senior starter James Franklin went down with an injury; those questions became an afterthought on Saturday afternoon in Columbia. Mauk finished the afternoon going 18-for-36 for 295 yards a touchdown and an interception guiding Mizzou to a 36-17 win over Florida.
The 14th ranked Tigers improve to 7-0 (3-0 SEC) for the first time since 2010. The 22nd ranked Gators fall to 4-3 (3-2 SEC). The Tigers became the first SEC team in 14 conference games to score over 21 points against the Gator defense. Florida head coach Will Muschamp was not pleased with his team's defensive performance.
Mizzou outgained Florida 500 yards to 151. Missouri was perfect when they were inside the red zone finishing the afternoon 6-for-6. Tigers halfback Henry Josey enjoyed a big day against the Gators, carrying 18 times for 136 yards and a touchdown including a 50 yard burst.
On defense, The Tigers were able to harass the Gator offensive line all day, sacking Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy six times and flushing him out of the pocket for most of the game. Florida's offense never got anything going. Mizzou held Florida to 92 passing yards, 52 rushing yards, and only allowed 11 first downs. The Gators were 3-for-15 on third down conversions. Murphy finished the day 15-for-29 for 92 yards and an interception.
Despite all this, big plays in the third quarter brought Florida within striking distance of Missouri. Wide receiver Solomon Patton had a 100-yard kickoff return to open the second half to cut Mizzou's lead to 13-10. UF freshman running back Kelvin Taylor provided a silver lining for the Orange and Blue as well rushing for 74 yards on 12 carries while scoring his first career touchdown on a 20-yard run. The touchdown trimmed the deficit to 23-17 to end the third quarter.
But, Mizzou was able to pull away in the fourth quarter. A couple of field goals and a Mauk 17-yard touchdown sealed the deal. Missouri takes on South Carolina next week as they look to pad their lead in the SEC East.
The Gators will have an open week before making the trip to Jacksonville to battle Georgia on November 2nd.