Instant Analysis: Hill’s picks and revived rushing attack carry Florida over Missouri

Oct 8, 2022 | 1 comment

(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)

In a game the Gators couldn’t afford to lose, which would’ve led to being 0-3 in SEC play with LSU and Georgia lurking around the corner, Florida was able to escape with a 24-17 win over Missouri at home.

Inside the GatorsInstant Analysis takes a quick look at how the game unfolded.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Florida got the 4th & 2 stop on the 48-yard line with 1:21 left in the game. Sophomore safety Tre’Vez Johnson broke up a pass intended for Missouri receiver Tauskie Dove to end the Tigers’ scoring threat.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: Cornerback Jaydon Hill, a redshirt sophomore for the Gators, was playing just his second game since 2020 today after returning last week from an injury that kept him out the entire 2021 season. He recorded not just the first interception of his career, but the second as well. The first came in the first quarter, at a time when it appeared the Gators were going to struggle to put points on the board. The second was a redzone pick inside the five-yard line late in the third, at a time when Missouri was moving the ball well and looking to tie the game up. Hill’s INTs couldn’t have come at better times.

THESE STATS DON’T LIE: The Gators had 65 yards of total offense in the first half. They had three first downs and possession for only nine minutes. Anthony Richardson ran the ball 1 time for 2 yards. Their 10 points were solely due to a Jaydon Hill pick-6 and an Xzavier Henderson punt return to put them right into field goal range. Florida’s entire first half offense was, well, defense and special teams. Things did get much better in the second half when their run game began to take over the game. However, the point is that Florida’s offense is too inconsistent right now to compete for anything major. Their outing in Tennessee aside, they’ve yet to put together sixty minutes of impressive offensive play.

THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY: The Gators’ offensive line against the Tigers’ defensive line was the difference between the first and second half. Florida found virtually nothing in the run game through 30 minutes due to Missouri winning the battles in the trenches. In the back-half, however, holes began to open up for guys like Montrell Johnson, Trevor Etienne, and Anthony Richardson. The Gators had 19 (yes, 19) rushing yards in the first half compared to over 215 yards in the second.

WHAT A PLAY(S): Jaydon Hill picked off Brady Cook late in the first quarter and took it all the way home to put Florida up 10-0. It was Gators’ fourth pick-6 against the Tigers since 2015. The crowd got Utah-level loud after the play. He wouldn’t stop there, though. Hill’s second interception may have riled the Gators-faithful up even more. They scored on the ensuing drive, when Richardson hit Pearsall in the corner of the endzone to put Florida up 24-10.

UP NEXT: With the win, the Gators now stand two games above .500 on the season at 4-2. They’re 1-2 in SEC play after the losses to Kentucky and Tennessee. Five of their remaining six games, all but their final game at FSU, will be against SEC opponents. Next weekend they’ll host LSU before traveling to take on Georgia in Jacksonville.

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