Graham Mertz throws the ball in the Florida Gators football team's game against LSU on Nov. 11. Photo courtesy of Molly Kaiser.

Florida Football Remains on Road to Take on Missouri

The Florida Gators take on the No. 9 Missouri Tigers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Since Missouri joined the Southeastern Conference in 2012, the series between the Gators and Tigers has been relatively even. Both teams have six wins apiece against each other heading into the matchup.

The Gators are coming off of a loss to LSU where they played the Tigers close for the first three quarters but fell apart in the fourth quarter. The defense gave up four touchdowns and only found the endzone once in the final quarter.

Missouri, on the other hand, dismantled the Tennessee Volunteers 36-7 at home.

The Tigers are looking to get their first 10-win season under head coach Eli Drinkwitz, and a win this weekend would put Missouri one win away from that goal. Both teams have seen their programs go in different directions throughout the course of the season.

Playing Complimentary Football

Gators head coach Billy Napier explained Wednesday that the Tigers play complimentary football and his team needs to do a better job of that. Napier also talked about the aggressive style of defense the Tigers play with.


Gators quarterback Graham Mertz has had a solid season, throwing for 2,720 yds, 18 touchdowns and two interceptions. Mertz has a 72.1% completion percentage, which is one of the best in the nation. The issues aren’t ultimately on quarterback play nor the lack of skill for the Gators. The Florida offensive line has struggled in opening lanes for the running game to get going, and the defense has struggled as of late.

Explosive Plays

Florida cornerback Jaydon Hill said Wednesday the explosive plays were self-inflicted against LSU.

Execution has hurt the Gators this season and has kept them from winning close games. The Gators defense gave up 701 yards in their loss to LSU, the most in program history. Additionally, they allowed quarterback Jayden Daniels to account for over 500 yards of offense.

The defense will be tasked with slowing down Mizzou running back Cody Schrader, who has ran for over 1,100 yards and has 11 touchdowns. Florida is averaging 138.7 rushing yards per game this season while Mizzou is averaging 159.8 yards on the ground. However, on the defensive side, the Gators are giving up 160 yards on the ground and the Tigers are giving up 111.

What to Watch For

Florida’s star receiver Ricky Pearsall is on the verge of recording over 1,000 yds for the first time in the program since 2002.

The Tigers defensively are giving up 232.9 yards per game through the air, this season. The Gators secondary has been prone to giving up major plays down the field.

Missouri has also gotten after the quarterback this season with 28 sacks on the year along with eight interceptions. Florida is going to have their hands full against an aggressive defense who is able to get after the quarterback. Florida’s offensive line against Missouri’s defensive line will be a major factor to watch Saturday night.

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

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