GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It wasn’t pretty at times, but No. 18 Florida pulled away in the second half for a 40-14 win over Missouri.
The Gators moved to 5-1 on the season and 3-1 in conference play, moving them into first place in the SEC East after Tennessee’s 49-10 loss to Alabama.
The pick-six by Jalen “Teez” Tabor. His interception energized a homecoming crowd that didn’t have much to cheer for most of the first half. Fellow junior cornerback Quincy Wilson had his own pick-six on the next series, effectively putting the game away for the Gators.
All eyes were on Luke Del Rio in his first game back as the starting quarterback, and he did not play well in his return. The redshirt sophomore completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw three picks in seven attempts, and he’s lucky he didn’t have more. Del Rio had at least two interceptions dropped and forced several throws throughout the game. He also came up short on a few of his deep balls. Del Rio’s sprained left knee is still not fully healed, so the bye week comes at a good time for him. His health (or lack thereof) presumably affected his performance Saturday.
Now we await the verdict on senior linebacker Jarrad Davis, who went to the locker room in the third quarter with an apparent injury to his left ankle or knee. UF coach Jim McElwain will update his status after the game. Florida also needs to get several players healthy during the bye week, including linebackers Kylan Johnson (leg) and Jeremiah Moon (thumb) and defensive linemen Caleb Brantley (hand), Joey Ivie (thumb) and Jordan Sherit (knee). Those injuries didn’t stop the Gators from having a dominant defensive performance against Missouri, but Georgia will be a tougher matchup in two weeks.
Florida’s defense forced nine 3-and-outs against the Tigers, who didn’t gain a first down until the third quarter.
What it means:
Without the scores by their defense and special teams, the Gators only have 19 offensive points. That won’t cut it against some of the upcoming teams on their schedule.