What to watch for as Missouri hits the road against Florida

by Christian Clark, KBIA Sports

Missouri (4-2, 1-1) looks to rebound on the road against Florida (3-2, 2-2) on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville. Here are four things to keep in mind before the Tigers and Gators kick off at 6 p.m.

  • Turnover battle: It’s been over a month since Missouri forced its last turnover. The Tigers have failed to force one since defensive back Duron Singleton, 2, scooped up a fumble for a touchdown in the waning moments of the 38-10 beat down of Central Florida. The takeaway was one of five Missouri recorded on the day. Missouri had harassed its opponents into committing a turnover in 47 consecutive games up to that point. While the defense has come up empty the last three weeks the Tigers’ offense has coughed it up six times in that span, five of which came at home last weekend against Georgia. Winning the turnover battle against a Florida team that is plus-5 in turnover margin on the year would go a long way to helping Missouri get back on track in Southeastern Conference play.

  • An offense searching for answers: Anemic, lifeless, underwhelming. Any of those adjectives would describe the Tigers’ offense through two conference games. The Tigers are currently 12 out of 14 SEC teams in terms of total offense. If you throw out the last two drives of the game against South Carolina, both touchdowns that fueled a stunning upset, the offense has moved the ball 209 yards in 25 drives. Quarterback Maty Mauk, 7, and company will have to do much better on Saturday to get their second win in SEC play.
  • Two Gators QBs: Florida head coach Will Muschamp has said throughout the week that quarterbacks Jeff Driskel, 6, and Treon Harris, 3, will share snaps on Saturday. Driskel, a senior, has started all five games for the Gators this season but has struggled at times. In his last two games against Tennessee and Louisiana State, Driskel has completed 52.1 percent of his passes for 242 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions. True freshman Treon Harris orchestrated both scoring drives in the Gators’ 10-9 win over Tennessee on Oct. 4, but didn’t play against LSU. Harris was suspended days after the Tennessee game when a Florida student accused him of sexual assault. The charges have since been dropped and Harris has been reinstated.
  • Florida O-Line versus Tigers’ pass rush: The Missouri defensive line will have to overcome a massive and experienced opponent if it hopes to bother whichever quarterback is under center for the Gators. All five Florida starting offensive lineman are listed at 6-foot-5 or taller. The unit, which has combined to make 66 starts, is among the best in the nation in terms of pass protection. The five sacks allowed are tied for first in the SEC and ranks ninth nationally. Of course, Missouri’s pass rush isn’t too shabby itself. Defensive ends Shane Ray (eight sacks, 12 ½ tackles for loss) and Markus Golden (four sacks, eight tackles for loss) bookend a unit that’s third in the SEC with 20 sacks.
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