Florida Gators at Missouri Tigers Breakdown
Date: Saturday, October 10, 2015
Time: 7:30 PM
TV: SEC Network
Last meeting: 2014 Missouri defeated Florida 42-13 in Gainesville. Missouri leads the all-time series 3-1.
Last time out
- Florida defeated Ole Miss 38-10
- Missouri defeated South Carolina 24-10
Meet the Tigers
Head Coach: Gary Pinkel (117-67 in his 15th season at Missouri)
Conference: Southeastern Conference Eastern Division
2015 Overall Record: 4-1
2015 Conference Record: 1-1
Rank: Not Ranked
Player(s) to Watch
- Freshman Quarterback Drew Lock. The true freshman completed 75% of his passes last week in his first start. On the season he has thrown for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns.
- Senior Linebacker Kentrell Brothers. Brothers has been the anchor for this Tigers defense registering 59 tackles and 2 interceptions.
5 Things to Know About Missouri
- Missouri has scheduled Florida for its 104th homecoming game. They are 60-38-5 in homecoming games.
- The Tigers have five conference division titles since 2007, the most in the nation in that span.
- In 2014 Missouri went over 10 wins for the sixth time in program history. Five of those six have come under Gary Pinkel.
- Missouri is 17-2 when they win the turnover battle. They have won ten games in a row when they force more turnovers.
- Missouri is first in the SEC in scoring defense (12 PPG) and 12th in scoring offense (21.4 PPG)
5 Things to Pay Attention To
- Florida coming out Hungry. The last two weeks for the Gators have been tremendous and the overall team accomplishment has been somewhat surprising. Missouri has beaten the Gators two years in a row in convincing fashion and this should serve as a piece of motivation for the Gators. Florida should come out hungry and ready for payback.
- McElwain’s growing confidence in this team. This week McElwain mentioned that he wanted to see if this team was a ‘one hit wonder’, he also added that he doesn’t think it is. As McElwain gains confidence in this team it will be interesting to see what the product looks like on the field.
- How Florida is creating explosive plays. In the last six quarters Florida has found ways to generate offense and create big plays, especially in the passing game. Florida will test the Missouri offense in multiple areas of the field with multiple formations. Florida’s variety on offense has led to them being more productive in the last two games.
- Is the Missouri defense for real? Through five games Missouri is giving up 12 PPG on defense. It is hard to judge the Tigers on defense considering their opponents. Florida has been tested and in their toughest competition they have found some identity on offense and the Gators should provide the toughest test for the Tigers.
- How Missouri Attacks Florida. Missouri will be starting a true freshman at quarterback and the status of starting running back Russell Hansbrough is up in the air with an ankle sprain. Missouri will lean on Ish Witter to carry the load running the ball. Last week against the Gamecocks Witter had 17 carries for 98 yards. Florida will present a stiffer challenge and attempt to force Missouri in obvious pass situations. How Pinkel chooses to attack this salty Florida defense will be a major factor in the outcome of this game, how much rope will he give a true freshman against a defense that hasn’t given up much through the air.
5 Things to Expect
- Missouri to struggle throwing the ball. Florida boasts one of the top secondaries in the country, if not the best. Missouri will find it very difficult to run the ball consistently and it will lead to predictable throwing situations where the Florida defense has thrived so far this year.
- Kentrell Brothers to have double digit tackles. Brothers is a high end, high motor linebacker, that has a knack for the being in the right place at the right time. Expect him to be all over the field for the Tigers on Saturday. He is the main reason Missouri has had success defensively. If Brothers is not hampered by a recent leg injury, he will be one of the best players on the field.
- Some Young QB mistakes. Both quarterbacks (Grier and Lock) have combined to make five starts. This will be Grier’s second start on the road, he previous outing against Kentucky was mediocre at best. Expect a moment where the atmosphere affects Grier. As for Lock, he has not seen a defense like Florida with the combination of size, speed and scheme. The true freshman quarterback will be under duress all night that will lead to a couple mistakes.
- Continued focus on Kelvin Taylor. Quietly the last two games for Taylor have been quality outputs and give Florida just what they need in the running game, to compliment the variety in the passing game. He has shown improvement between the tackles and will continue to give Florida a respectable running game.
- Florida continuing to spread the ball in the passing game. Though Florida has tightened the receiver rotation a bit, they still have plenty of options in the passing game. Demarcus Robinson, Antonio Calloway and Brandon Powell have separated themselves at receiver and Jake McGee is showing why he had such high expectations transferring to Florida, he has been the go-to guy on 3rd down. DeAndre Goolsby has shown tremendous promise and athletic ability in the open field. Grier has plenty of options to go to in the passing game.
5 Keys to Victory
- Stay hungry and focused. Missouri will challenge Florida this week, but they are the better team. If Florida comes out focused, they should come away with a victory. Missouri will push the Gators, but this Florida team has been really focused since the East Carolina game and it has put them in the driver’s seat in the SEC East.
- Start fast and keep the pressure on. In the last three games, the Gators have had great starts that put them in a position to take control of the game early. Florida failed to hold the momentum against Kentucky and Tennessee, but last week against Ole Miss they dominated from start to finish. Unlike the previous years, Florida is playing to win and that attitude has completely changed the effort of this team.
- Continue Defensive dominance. Florida’s defense has been tremendous since the East Carolina game. Outside of a few Tennessee trick plays, they have controlled the offense of the opponent. Missouri will have a few wrinkles to move the ball against the Gators, but the Florida defense will look to put the clamps on a struggling Missouri offense.
- Avoid negative plays. The key to the Missouri defense is creating negative plays and getting the offense in long down and distance situations that allow their defensive line to tee off. They lead nation in tackles for loss and Florida will need to improve protections to keep Grier and the offense on schedule.
- Make Life hard for Lock. Florida is 2nd in the SEC with 18 sacks. This game will come down to how effective Lock can be against the Gator defense. If the true freshman that has showed poise in time on the field cannot maintain his composure, Missouri will have to find different ways to move the ball. Expect Florida to bring the heat.
5 Signs It Was a Good Day
- Grier improves performance from his last ROAD game. The last two weeks for Grier have shown marked improvements, he has good command of the offense and has seemed to have resolved the leaving the pocket to early issue. The question this week will be, can he take that growth he has had and execute on the road efficiently? Grier does not need to be great for the Gators to win but if he is maintaining his pace it will go a long way for this team heading into LSU next week.
- Missouri rushes for less than 100 yards. It would be surprising if Missouri put the game in Lock’s hand to win it and that is what Florida will attempt to force Missouri to do. If Missouri is effectively able to run the ball against the Florida defense, it will help the young passer, else, Missouri, will find it hard to consistently move the ball against the Florida defense being one-dimensional.
- Florida wins the turnover battle. The Gators are first in the SEC with a +6 turnover margin. If Florida can build on that, they should not have any issues getting out of the game with a win.
- Florida controls the game start to finish. Missouri has not proven much on offense this year and the defense will be up against their toughest challenge. If Florida is clicking they should be able to control this game start to finish and will be another sign that this team may be the cream of the crop in the SEC East.
- Something Special comes from Special Teams. Coach McElwain continues to harp on the needed improvement from the return game. That is the one component of this team that has yet to make a splash. We are used to seeing explosive plays in the return game as well as blocking kicks. Florida has enough athletes to make this an area of strength. If a kick return or blocked kick occurs that is a tremendous sign for the overall makeup of this squad.
The Prediction: Florida 27 Missouri 13
Florida will once again give a businesslike effort and get out Columbia with a solid victory. Missouri’s defense will challenge Florida and make some plays to keep this game within reach, but the Gators defense will come to play and lockdown the Tigers’ offense. Florida has improved offensively and will enough plays against the Tiger defense to put the game away.