The Tailgate’s Pat Dooley hands out grades after Florida’s 33-31 loss to No. 9 Missouri at Memorial Stadium in Columbia on Saturday night:
First half: It was about as bad as it has been so far this season. Florida managed only 30 plays and 153 yards in the half and Trevor Etienne only touched the ball twice. Graham Mertz was beaten up pretty bad behind that makeshift line.
Second half: Florida lost its quarterback in the third quarter, but didn’t lose its offense, as the Gators ended up scoring 24 points in the second half. Max Brown was this close to becoming a legend.
For the game: You have to give this team credit for scoring 31 points even if it again came up short. The offense finally unleashed Etienne and was able to use Brown as a runner on the read options.
First half: The stops Gator fans were clamoring for last week received a few this time. Why Missouri threw the ball at all was the question, as Cory Schrader went for 123 yards and scored from 42 yards out with nobody touching him.
Second half: It was fourth-and-17. All Florida needed to do was get some pressure or make a play in the secondary. As usual, neither thing happened and Brady Cook was able to drive his team to the winning field goal.
For the game: As I have said throughout the second half of this season, Florida’s problem for the last three seasons has been defense and this one deserves a failing grade for not getting the job done with so much on the line.
SPECIAL TEAMS C
First half: The Missouri punts were intentionally kicked away from Ricky Pearsall and backed the Gators up three times. Other than that, the special teams were not much of a factor, except that Harrison Mevis made a pair of field goals.
Second half: Give Trey Smack credit. He nailed what could have been a game-winning field goal two weeks after missing one. Unfortunately, the Gator defense made it easy for Mevis to kick the game-winner.
For the game: This was a game about kicking at the end. But other than that, special teams play was pretty much the same as usual except I am pretty sure Florida had 11 men on the field for every play.
Can’t fail a team that played as hard as this one did. But obviously, Florida is heading for what could be the third consecutive losing season. There is so much to like about this team and so much to shake your heads at. Don’t forget, that was the No. 9 team in the nation Florida almost beat in their house. But there are no moral victories at Florida.