Mizzou Chomps Gators for First SEC Victory

Seth Pollock, 23 Sports

After two straight weeks beating up on inferior competition, Mizzou finally proved they could beat an SEC opponent, obliterating the Florida Gators 42-16 on Saturday at Faurot Field. The win improved the Tigers to 4-5 on the season and 1-4 in SEC play, while Florida fell to 3-5 and 3-3 in conference.

Mizzou’s offense had success on the very first drive, but a Drew Lock interception stopped the drive cold. A failed drive by each side later, and a muffed punt catch by Brandon Powell led to the Tigers getting the ball at the Florida 11. A Drew Lock touchdown to Kendall Blanton two plays later got Mizzou its first points, and they didn’t look back. The next Tiger drive started on their own two and went 98 yards in 14 plays. Florida responded with a field goal, but two more Tiger touchdown drives gave Mizzou a sound 28-3 lead. Florida’s next drive looked promising, and the Gators even had a touchdown before it was called back on a holding penalty. They eventually settled for a field goal on the final play of the half for a 28-6 halftime score.

Florida got the ball to open the second and promptly put together another good drive. Again, however, Mizzou’s defense refused to break. Down 22, Randy Shannon went for the field goal on 4th and goal from the seven, and the Tigers lead was cut to 28-9. Later in the 3rd, Drew Lock led Mizzou on another long drive highlighted by a 49 yard completion to Emanuel Hall that was originally called a touchdown. Larry Roundtree III got in on the next play to extend Mizzou’s lead to 35-9. Mizzou piled on some more with a 14 play drive concluding with Drew Lock’s third touchdown of the day, a five yard pass to J’Mon Moore. Gator starting QB Malik Zaire, who was making his first start for Florida after transferring from Notre Dame, was eventually pulled for Feleipe Franks. Franks led the Gators on a touchdown drive in the 4th quarter, but by then the game was well out of reach.

Mizzou’s margin of 26 marked by far the biggest in an SEC game under Barry Odom. The previous was a nine point win over Vanderbilt last season. The Tigers now need to win two of their final three to reach bowl eligibility. The Tennessee game, next Saturday at 6:30 at Faurot Field, offers a chance to get back to .500 for the first time since Mizzou fell to 1-2 with a 35-3 home loss to Purdue on September 16th. The Tennessee game is followed up by road trips to Vanderbilt and Arkansas to end the regular season