Missouri was not on the preseason radar in the race for the SEC East, but they are certainly front and center now after upsetting the Georgia Bulldogs 41-26 in Athens last weekend.
The Tigers come into this game against the Gators with a 6-0 record and a pair of conference wins under their belt. A far cry from Mizzou's first season in the SEC when they finished last year with a 5-7 record.
The Gators find themselves at 4-2 and 3-1 in the SEC after a 17-6 loss to LSU in Death Valley. The road doesn't get any easier when Missouri and Florida kickoff later today in Columbia.
Missouri quarterback James Franklin went down with a shoulder injury last week in the fourth quarter against Georgia. Franklin had some impressive numbers this season, completing 67 percent of his passes, throwing for 1577 yards, piling up 14 touchdowns, and only throwing three interceptions. He was also a dual threat rushing for 290 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel will give freshman quarterback Maty Mauk the keys to Mizzou's potent offensive attack.
Missouri is eighth in the nation in scoring averaging 45.7 points per game. A big part of Missouri's success has been running the football. The Tigers have a three-headed rushing attack led by Russell Hansbrough. Hansbrough has carried the ball for 52 times for 391 yards and three scores. Fellow tailback Henry Josey has 65 carries for 358 yards and has found the end zone seven times and Marcus Murphy rounds out the trio with 40 carries for 350 yards and five touchdowns.
The Tigers can also stretch secondaries with their lanky wide receivers. The three leading receivers for Mizzou L'Damian Washington, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Marcus Lucas are over six feet four inches. However they will have to contend with a stingy Gator defense.
Florida's defense has been elite this season. UF is fourth in the country only surrendering 13 points per game. After holding LSU to only 17 points last time out, the Gators have held SEC opponents to under 20 points for 13 straight games. The next closest streak to Florida's is Alabama at two games and South Carolina at one.
Florida and Missouri are meeting for just the third time ever. Last year, the Gators beat the Tigers 14-7 in Gainesville in their first meeting as SEC opponents. The first meeting between the two schools came in the 1966 Sugar Bowl, when No. 6 Missouri beat Florida 20-18.
Be sure to tune into ESPN 850-WRUF for pregame coverage beginning at 9:15 am. Kickoff between the Gators and Tigers is set for 12:21 pm.