In a must-win game, the Florida Gator football team didn’t show up.
Instead, the Gators (3-3, 2-3 SEC) were blown out by Missouri (5-2, 2-1 SEC) 42-13 inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday night.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp summed up his frustration with the team’s lackluster performance.
“You don’t even give yourself a chance to win when you turn the ball over six times. You got two special teams touchdowns. Every single point they have leads to points. Six sacks, you don’t protect the quarterback. It changes the game and how you gotta play going into the second half. Offensively, just abysmal.”
Missouri only mustered up 119 total yards of offense, compared to 283 by Florida, but turnovers, special teams, and a brutal offensive performance is what sealed Florida’s fate in its second Homecoming loss in two years.
Missouri wasted no time scoring first as Marcus Murphy returned the opening kickoff 96 yards to give the Tigers a quick 7-0 lead. After Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel was ineffective in his first two series going 2-of-6 for 17 yards and a fumble, Muschamp decided to give back up quarterback Treon Harris a shot.
It didn’t start off the way anyone expected it to.
On Harris’ first series, he was whacked from behind and fumbled deep in Florida’s territory. That led to a five yard touchdown run by Tigers running back Marcus Murphy that put Mizzou up 14-0.
Missouri extended its lead in the second quarter to 17-0 after they went on an 18 play, 55 yard drive that ended in a 25-yard field goal from Tigers kicker Andrew Baggett.
Driskel threw an interception late in the second quarter on a rainbow throw over the middle that ended up in the bread-basket of Tigers safety Braylon Webb, who returned to the UF five yard line. The Gator defense held Mizzou to a 34-yard field goal that made it 20-0.
The Tigers shut out the Gators in the first half 20-0. That’s the third time in Florida’s last seven games that they’ve been shut out at the half.
“It was 20 to zero in the first half and it honestly could’ve been a lot worse,” Florida center Max Garcia said. “But our defense stepped up and made plays. We just put them in tough positions. We didn’t get them on the field enough. We had a couple turnovers where they scored on the turnovers. So, that’s on us as an offense, just not taking care of the football for them.”
Things got worse for the Orange and Blue in the second half.
Missouri’s Marcus Murphy returned a punt for 82 yards to make it 26-0, his second touchdown return of the game. Then the Tigers made a two-point conversion to add insult to injury to widen their lead to 28-0.
The Mizzou defense would continue to make things worse for Florida as they sacked Driskel and forced a fumble, which was recovered by defensive end Markus Golden who took it 21 yards to the end zone. That put the Tigers up 35-0 midway through the third quarter.
A few minutes later, Driskel threw his second interception of the game, a 46 yard interception return by Darvin Ruise to put the Tigers up 42-0. That would signal the end of the night for Driskel, who now has 12 turnovers in the last four games. He finished 7-of-19 for 50 yards with two interceptions and two fumbles.
Florida would refuse to be shut out as Treon Harris led the Gators on a nine play, 63 yard drive that concluded with a five yard touchdown pass to tight end Tevin Westbrook, who somehow caught it with defenders draped all over him. The Gators would head into the fourth quarter down 42-7.
Early in the fourth quarter, Harris threw his first career interception on a deep ball down the sideline in an attempt to hit Demarcus Robinson. That turnover marked six turnovers by the Gators, their most since Georgia in 2012.
“You turn it over six times, you’re not going to win,” Muschamp said. ”It wasn’t from a lack of effort or trying, it was a lack of ball security. Protection at times. Those are things we gotta clean up.”
After the game, Muschamp told his guys they need to self evaluate themselves after a disastrous performance.
“I told them anytime you go have one like this you look in the mirror and figure out what we need to do to improve. That’s what some of our guys need to do is look in the mirror and they need to play better in some situations. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Now the Gators will have a bye week to get over the egg they just laid and get ready to take on Georgia, who leads the SEC East, on November 1 in Jacksonville.
For audio of the above quotes, click below:
Muschamp on the teams struggles
Garcia on how the offense didn’t help the defense with all the turnovers
Muschamp on the turnovers
Muschamp on what he told the team after the game