Instant Analysis: The Gator Standard, another loss to an unranked team

Nov 21, 2021 | 0 comments

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Fresh off a shootout win against an FCS team, the Florida Gators traveled to Columbia, Missouri for their last SEC game of the season. Many expected another high-scoring affair, but instead were treated to a slugfest featuring 15 combined punts. After finishing 16-16 in regulation, the two teams headed to overtime where both teams traded touchdowns before Missouri’s two-point conversion gave the Tigers a 24-23 victory.

Here’s the Instant Analysis.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: It took the Tigers two plays to match Florida’s opening score in overtime, with running back Tyler Badie — who finished with 146 yards — finding the endzone. Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz went for the victory, sending the offense back out for a two-point conversion. Florida’s defense sold out towards the right side of the offense before Mizzou quarterback Connor Bazelak found his tight end Daniel Parker wide open in the endzone for the game-winning score.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: Florida’s defense played better than it had in weeks, and the biggest standout on that side of the ball was linebacker Tyron Hopper, who finished with 11 solo tackles, including two for loss. He was active and flying to the football all game long, providing much-needed quality at that position. 

Buck Brenton Cox also had his best game of the year, with three solo tackles and a sack. Punter Jeremy Crawshaw also deserves a minor shout for his performance, with six punts inside the twenty and two over 50 yards, making up for a terrible shank on his first attempt. 

THESE STATS DON’T LIE: Penalties once again killed Florida, with 80 yards worth proving costly. While the defense played much better and showed a lot of heart and intensity, it also was flagged for six penalties, including a holding call that took away an interception.

Outside of those mistakes, the Gators were also just 5-18 on third down and settled for three field goals deep in Missouri territory. 

That’s playing not to lose instead of playing to win. 

THIS MATCH-UP PROVED KEY: Missouri’s defensive line was hot heading into this game and it proved dominant against a patchwork Florida offensive line. The Gators got little to no push up front in the running game, with just 2.5 yards per carry as a team, and the Tigers constantly generated pass rush. Emory Jones didn’t have his best day behind center, but it’s hard to blame a quarterback when the line is that lackluster.

WHAT A PLAY: This game was uuugly, so finding a top play was quite the challenge. Ultimately, Florida and Dan Mullen pulled out the tricks in overtime, with a six-yard pass from receiver Trent Whittemore to quarterback Emory Jones to take the lead.

UP NEXT: The Gators will close out their regular season by renewing their rivalry with Florida State in the Swamp. The winner clinches a spot in a bowl game, the loser will finish with a losing record.

Tags: Event

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