posted on November 02, 2012 14:52
Missouri takes on Florida in another SEC road test on Saturday. Before the game, we're breaking down how the Tigers matchup against the Gators.
Missouri's passing offense vs. Florida's passing defense
There's no need to go on and on about this subject. Missouri's offense continues to struggle, but just because James Franklin is back and healthy doesn't mean there's any indication the trend will change. The Tigers get Florida in Gainesville, and the Gators have allowed four touchdown passes all season, compared to 11 interceptions. The Gators' secondary, led by Matt Elam, is fourth in the SEC in passing yards allowed per game. Franklin has to re-find his magic from 2011 or else Missouri's offense will struggle to threaten all day. That's a big question, however.
Missouri's rushing offense vs. Florida's rushing defense
Florida's defense is stout, but the Gators have allowed over 100 rushing yards in five of its eight games this season. That's still not much, but it shows that if Missouri doesn't ignore the ground game, the ball can be moved. For the offense this game, however, it all comes down to the passing game. Missouri can't be one dimensional and rely on the defense. More so than usual, Missouri needs the pass to set up the run.
Florida's passing offense vs. Missouri's passing defense
Florida's passing game won't single-handedly beat a team. Jeff Driskel is efficient, completing 64 percent of his passes for just under 1,200 yards in eight games, and has eight touchdowns to three interceptions. But Florida averages just 20 passing attempts per game, and it's not a vertical passing game. Missouri's effort to stop Driskel starts up front, as his running ability allows him to be effective. If Missouri can keep Driskel in the pocket on those 20 or so drop backs, the Tigers can have success.
Florida's rushing offense vs. Missouri's rushing defense
This is the most important matchup in the game. Florida's offense is not that good, and it ranks one spot ahead of Missouri's in the conference in total yards. But, Florida is able to move the ball on the ground and not make mistakes. Missouri's rushing defense, however, has been good this year -- outside of the Alabama game. The biggest test isn't just to stop the run, but to keep Florida's offense off the field and out of long drives.
EDGE: Florida (slight)
Missouri's special teams vs. Florida's special teams
Despite struggling against Kentucky, Marcus Murphy remains a legitimate threat. However, Florida's return coverage is stout. This one comes down to all-SEC K Caleb Sturgis against Missouri K Andrew Baggett. Baggett has been better lately, but Sturgis gets the edge.
PREDICTION: I believe this one will be closer than most predict. Missouri's offense showed some life with Franklin back, and if he's truly healthy (and can run) then Missouri can move the ball. Florida's offense shouldn't scare anyone, and Missouri's defense is more than capable. However, if Missouri wants to pull off the upset, Franklin is going to have to put up a 250-yard passing, 75-yard rushing, no turnover-type day. That's a large task for his first game back. Missouri keeps this one close throughout the game, but late turnovers end any chance of an upset and Florida wins, 24-14.