Defense comes up big, Mizzou blows out Florida 42-13

Defense comes up big, Mizzou blows out Florida 42-13Defense comes up big, Mizzou blows out Florida 42-13

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By Joey Gjata, 23 Sports

Saturday, October 18–

After an utterly embarrassing performance last weekend at the hands of the high-flying Georgia Bulldogs, the Missouri Tigers responded in incredible fashion, thrashing Florida by a final of 42-13 on the road in Gainesville.

In a season where the Achilles heel has been starting slow, Mizzou came out of the gates fierce. Redshirt senior Marcus Murphy returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for the score, giving the Tigers the early lead and their first return touchdown of the year.

Early in the first half, Mizzou used defense to put last week’s obliteration behind them. On Florida’s first drive, the defense forced a fumble, but quickly gave it back as quarterback Maty Mauk was intercepted by defensive back Marcus Maye. At the end of the first quarter, linebacker Kentrell Brothers strip-sacked quarterback Treon Harris on the blitz and Michael Scherer recovered the fumble. Set up with a short field, the Mizzou offense capitalized with a touchdown through an electric trio of runs Murphy.

After an 18-play, 55 yard drive, the Tigers settled for an Andrew Bagget field goal to extend the lead to 17. Later in the second, safety Brandon Webb intercepted Jeff Driskel’s pass to set up a second Bagget field goal to give Mizzou a 20-0 lead at the half.

Mizzou didn’t let up at all in the second half, ignited once again by Murphy who returned a punt 82 yards for his second return and third total touchdown on the evening. Mauk then found Sasser on the ensuing two-point conversion to give the Tigers the 28-0 advantage.

Following a pair of punts from the offense, the sack duo of Shane Ray and Markus Golden combined to strip-sack Driskell and return the ball back for another non-offensive touchdown. Ray improved his sack total to nine, ranking third in the nation.

Florida simply could not get any rhythm going with either quarterback as Driskell found another Missouri secondary player, Darvin Ruise, resulting in a fifth non-offensive score for the Tigers. The defense tallied an unbelievable seven turnovers, led by Webb and the defensive line.

The Gators managed to score touchdowns at the end of both the third and fourth quarter to avoid the shutout.

Despite such incredible play from the defense and special teams, the Mizzou offense once again lacked incisiveness and consistency as only one drive lasted more than ten plays. Mauk’s performance once again failed miserably as the 6’1’’ sophomore only threw six of 18 for a mere 20 yards, all coming in the first half. Additionally, Mauk has now turned the ball over at least once in five of the team’s seven games this year.

The run game was not much more effective, but the offensive line played exceptionally better than in previous contests.

Nevertheless, the win improves the Mizzou record to 5-2 (2-1 in Conference) to stay even with Georgia in the loss column. Coming down the final stretch in the regular season, Mizzou still finds itself in competitive position to challenge for the SEC East. The late struggles of Texas A&M along with the inconsistencies of Tennessee, Arkansas and Vanderbilt all give the Tigers a fighting chance against their future opponents.

Missouri begins a two game home stand next weekend against SEC East foes Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Next Saturday at 3 p.m. for the 103rd Homecoming game, Mizzou welcomes the struggling Commodores before playing host to the Wildcats.