Florida dropped another game to fall to 3-5 on the season as the Gators were blasted 45-16 in Columbia against Missouri. Here is the Florida report card:
Rushing Offense: D-
A few weeks ago this would have looked like a good matchup on the ground for Florida. This is a Mizzou squad that was torn up on opening day by Missouri State of the FCS as that school put 43 points on the board in a loss. Over the last three weeks, however, the Tigers have given up less than 21 points per contest and they look like a team that has completely transformed after a well-timed bye week.
Without Malik Davis this just isn’t an explosive rushing attack. Davis injured his knee late in the Georgia game after catching a pass and somehow his production will have to be replaced if Florida wants to move the ball on the ground. Lamical Perine got the bulk of the work here and rushed for 66 yards on 19 carries, but he just isn’t a breakaway threat. Florida cannot rush for 93 yards and expect to beat anyone in the SEC.
Passing Offense: C-
The passing offense was better this week, but a whole lot of the yardage (and points) that came through the air were put on the board in garbage time. Malik Zaire got the start this week as interim head coach Randy Shannon tried to shake up an offense that has been lifeless ever since Luke Del Rio went down for the year. Zaire was 13-of-19 for 158 yards passing, but he did throw a crucial interception when the Gators were down 21-3 and on their last legs in the contest.
Feleipe Franks came on in relief late in the game and finished 7-of-10 for 98 yards with a touchdown. In many ways this was the worst thing that could have happened as now Shannon has immediately created another quarterback controversy with neither having proven to be the answer in 2017.
Rushing Defense: F
Too many yards and too much tempo. It is easy to feel sorry for the Florida defense given that they kept Florida involved in so many games early in the season only to see the offense falter. It almost feels like the lack of progress on offense has ruined the desire of the defense to play football and they are much better – both as a unit and to a man – than they showed here.
Missouri basically did anything they wanted on the ground, chewing up clock and establishing their own tempo as they drove up and down the field at will. Most of the damage was done by the combination of Larry Rountree II and Ish Witter, who combined for 166 yards on 32 carries. Rountree was also the main threat near the goal line as he punched in for three touchdowns.
Passing Defense: D
The Florida passing defense was also given a stern test here that they mostly failed. Mizzou quarterback Drew Lock has garnered a reputation as something of a gunslinger and against the Gators, he was winging the ball all over the field. Lock was 15-of-20 for 228 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. A pass defense simply cannot allow a quarterback to pass at a 75 percent success rate and consider it a good day at the office.
Emanuel Hall was the big play guy in the passing game as he caught five passes for 113 yards. Hall is a good player, but he is not one that the Gators defensive back should struggle with to this extent. One of the big issues was the severe lack of pressure on Lock when he passes. The Gators tallied zero scores, zero tackles for a loss, and zero hurries, all factors that allowed their defense to be taken to pieces.
Special Teams: D-
Eddy Pineiro was a perfect 3-of-3 on his field goal attempts (with a long of 38-yards) and he also hit his lone extra point attempt. Pineiro’s 10 point haul was one of the only bright spots for the Gators on an otherwise miserable Saturday afternoon in Columbia.
What was not a bright spot was the punt return fumble that set up Mizzou’s first score. Brandon Powell lost the ball at his own 11-yard line after a kick and just three plays later the score was 7-0. For a team with no confidence, this was absolutely the last thing that needed to happen.
Randy Shannon’s first attempt at leading the Florida Gators could not have gone much worse. This was a capitulation on levels that made a team with zero SEC wins coming into the contest look like an NFL squad in the middle of a dynasty. One of the theories behind a midseason coaching change is that it will give an immediate boost to the team to have a fresh set of ideas and a new identity. Instead, the Gators came out and play a no energy, listless type of game that was depressing to watch from almost the very first play.
The play calling was too stale, there was a distinct lack of invention, and Florida settled for too many field goals against a team that has proven over the last two weeks that it can score points in a hurry. It is unclear where Florida goes from here, but it is unlikely Shannon will be a part of anything more than the transition period.