It’s getting closer to the end, but there’s still business to take care of for the No. 11 Florida Gators (8-2, 5,2). They’ll make their final road trip of the year as they head to Columbia once again, but this time in Missouri to face the Tigers (5-4, 2-3).
After a blowout conference win a week ago, the Gators will hope for much of the same success against a team that’s dropped three-straight.
However, the Tigers will return quarterback Kelly Bryant, who will pose as a real, dual-threat quarterback for the Gators to slow down.
The Gators are set out to get some revenge from last year, after the Tigers embarrassed them on their own turf, beating them by 21.
With that being said, here are the five Gators on the spot this week if No. 11 Florida is to end a two game losing streak to the Missouri Tigers.
- Ethan White, Offensive Lineman
For the second straight week, eyes should be on the true freshman interior-lineman. With Brett Heggie sidelined, it resulted in Ethan White’s first collegiate start and it turned out to be a good one at that. We’ll have to wait and see if Heggie can do and rejoin the starting line, but nonetheless White will still be important. With the transfer of Chris Bleich, White now becomes the sixth linemen for the Gators and needs to be ready to be thrown into the fire at any moment. Florida will hope for a clean, crisp game from their starting-line, but it could be another game to get White some valuable work. He seems to be farther ahead than anyone expected and will hope to continue on that trajectory.
- Amari Burney, Linebacker
This is another worth watching mostly because of injury. Last week against Vanderbilt, Amari Burney was in street clothes on the Gators sideline. The Florida defense had no trouble stifling the Commodores offense without Burney, but that might not be the case this week. With Kelly Bryant expected to play for Missouri, the Gators will have their work cut out for them to contain him and not get beat by his legs. That’s where Burney’s speed is a huge factor. Bryant’s health is a concern for the Tigers themselves, but he’s still a well-respected dual-threat quarterback. That means the Gators will have to be on their P’s and Q’s to contain the running quarterback, something they’ve struggled with in the past. That’s why they need number 30 on their defense to show off that speed and contain Bryant.
- Lamical Perine, Running Back
The Gators are gearing up for their 11th game of the season and the run game is still a work in progress. I’m sure if you asked the Gators and most fans, they probably wouldn’t have thought that would be the case. This week could be the week the Gators run game finally breaks through as a whole unit. Missouri is giving up 140 yards per game on the year this year, but in their four losses, they’ve been gashed for an average of 227 yards rushing. Lamical Perine should be licking his chops hearing those numbers and he could have a big day on the ground. The weather in Columbia figures to not be what the Gators are used to. They could rely heavily on the ground game and could be successful if the offensive line provides the proper holes for Perine and co.
- Mohamoud Diabate, Linebacker
Last week’s blowout of the Commodores was also the breakout game for Mohamoud Diabate. The Alabama native tallied three sacks, including a strip that resulted in a touchdown for the Gators defense unit. If last week was any indication, Diabate is going to be a problem on the Florida defense for years to come. With Jabari Zuniga’s health still in doubt, the Gators relied on a blitzing Diabate to get pressure to the quarterback. As mentioned above, Florida needs to contain Bryant. Diabate and his speed will also figure to play a key factor and he could have another strong game building up for what will be an anticipated sophomore campaign next year.
- Kyle Trask, Quarterback
To the surprise of many, Kyle Trask has yet to fold since taking over as starting quarterback for Florida. He’ll have one last road test to show what he’s made of in tough conditions in Columbia. For what it’s worth, he looked pretty good in tough conditions in Columbia, S.C., where he threw for over 200 yards in a downpour. The Gators will just need Trask to play on an even keel, take care of the football and not try to play hero ball.