Game Day Preview: What you need to know about Florida-Missouri
If the Gators want to continue their undefeated start, they will have to get past a team that has given them a lot of trouble over the past two seasons.
Missouri reigns as back-to-back SEC East champs and is looking for its third consecutive win over Florida Saturday.
Here’s some stuff to get you ready for game day:
No. 11 Florida (5-0, 3-0 SEC) at Missouri (4-1, 1-1 SEC), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Weather: 63 degrees, 0 percent chance of rain
Line: Florida -4.5 points
Numbers to know:
2012 – Missouri has defeated Florida by a combined score of 78-30 over the past two seasons. The Gators’ last win over the Tigers came in 2012 when Florida beat Missouri 14-7 in the Swamp.
1,268 – The Gators’ 1,268 passing yards this season is their highest total through five games since 2007.
34/143 – Florida running back Kelvin Taylor is tied for 34th nationally with five rushing touchdowns, but ranked 143rd nationally with 3.94 yards per carry.
13 – The Gators have recorded 13 sacks in their past three games, tying their highest sack total in a single-season three-game stretch since 2009.
12 – Missouri is first in the SEC and seventh nationally in scoring defense this season, allowing 12 points per game.
Storylines to watch:
Homecoming revenge: This has been Jim McElwain’s motivation tactic of choice this week. Missouri ruined Florida’s homecoming last season, routing the Gators 42-13 in The Swamp. The script is flipped this year. Florida is Missouri’s homecoming opponent and the Gators are using it as some added motivation to snap their two-game losing streak to the Tigers. “It’s one of those deals that I’m sure based on that history, Missouri felt pretty good about us being their homecoming [opponent],” McElwain said. But Missouri probably didn’t schedule Florida as its homecoming opponent with much thought behind it. According to Tigers beat writers, Missouri’s 2015 homecoming date was announced three days before the Tigers defeated the Gators last season. Who cares, though? It makes for a good story.
Grier watch: It continues. Gators quarterback Will Grier threw for 271 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s win over Ole Miss. Now, the question is: Can Grier build on the best performance of his career? This will be a good test for the redshirt freshman, as Missouri’s defense is the best Florida has faced this season. The Tigers are ranked eighth nationally in total defense and 13th nationally in passing defense. It will probably be difficult for Grier to replicate last week’s stat line, but just avoiding turnovers would be considered a success in his fifth career start. After throwing an interception in each of his first three starts, Grier made some progress and didn’t throw a pick against the Rebels. Can he turn in another clean performance Saturday?
Defense, defense, defense: The matchup between Florida and Missouri has the potential to be a defensive struggle. The Gators are ranked 20th nationally and third in the SEC (16.6 ppg) in scoring defense, while the Tigers are ranked seventh nationally and first in the SEC (12 ppg) in the same metric. If those averages hold, the game will produce just 28 total points. Throw two inexperienced quarterbacks into the mix and this one could really turn out to be a battle between two of the country’s best defenses. Or Florida and Missouri could just prove the numbers wrong and make it a high-scoring affair.
My prediction: Florida 24, Missouri 14
Anthony’s season picks record: 3-2.