The Gators have the opportunity to start a season 6-0 for the first time since 2012. In order to do so, they’ll need to pick up a big road win against Missouri, who’s been quite unpleasant to deal with in recent years…
1) Missouri QB Drew Lock will throw multiple interceptions. Florida’s defense harassed Chad Kelly last week and lured him into making several mistakes. There’s no reason to believe they can’t do the same against a new starting quarterback.
2) Missouri will rush for less than 100 yards. The Gators’ defense has been particularly ferocious against the run so far this year, and with the running game in flux for the Tigers (between Russell Hansbrough’s injury and the absence of Maty Mauk as the dual threat quarterback), Mizzou will have a difficult time generating yards on the ground. Good luck, Ish Witter.
3) Will Grier will throw at least three touchdown passes. The Tigers have a good defense, and playing at home will help, but although I expect Grier to come back down to earth a little bit after his huge performance against Mississippi, he’ll ensure the Gators get into the end zone when they get close to it.
4) Florida will commit six penalties or fewer. Cross your fingers on this one, girls and boys. You just never know with the Gators.
5) Florida will either score or directly set up a touchdown on defense or special teams. This young Missouri team is bound to make a mistake of some sort- whether it’s a bad throw by Lock, a missed protection assignment on a punt or breaking lanes on a kickoff- that Florida should take advantage of. The Gators have essentially done this at least once per game so far this year, and with one of the weaker teams on their schedule, it should happen again.
6) Brandon Powell will accumulate 100 yards of offense. Powell has quietly turned into a tremendous offensive weapon behind all the (well deserved) praise of Grier. If neither his 77 yard catch and run for a touchdown against the Rebels nor his hauling in a bomb from Treon Harris against FSU last year is proof enough that he’s a beast, he’ll do something that is against the Tigers.
7) Gary Pinkel will lose his temper at some point. Because I have to throw in at least one fun one.
8) Missouri will score first. Florida’s clearly the better team on paper, but buoyed by their home crowd, Missouri will surprise us by flying right down the field for a score on their opening possession and invoke thoughts of “here we go again with this team.”
9) Florida will outgain Missouri by at least 200 yards. It’s not that I think the Gators are bound to explode for 700 yards, but rather… well, I don’t think much of Missouri’s offense with Mauk, and now that they don’t have Mauk, it could be ugly for Mizzou when they have the ball.
10) Florida won’t blow Missouri out by any means, but they’ll win comfortably. Winning road games in the SEC is just not that easy a task. Even against a team as bad as Missouri appears to be. But Florida’s the better team on offense, defense and special teams, and though the Gators may struggle for a little while, that will prove itself in the end.
Projection: Florida 27, Missouri 10