Last meeting: Missouri 42, Florida 13 (2014)
All time series: Missouri, 3-1
Time/TV: 7:30pm on SEC Network (also streaming on WatchESPN app)
Pregame betting line: Florida, 5.5
Summer analysis and prediction: Missouri 20, Florida 16
What to watch for: Having suspended Maty Mauk for the second game in a row, the pressure falls on backup QB Drew Lock to generate some points against the Florida defense. It’s a defense, remember, that totally shut down a much better Mississippi offense than this Missouri offense appears to be. But let’s see if the Gators’ “Mayhem” defense can maintain that level of excellence for a second straight week.
Florida key to the game: Fresh off his best performance as a Gator, Will Grier could potentially built off it with an even better performance. But that falls on the offensive line to block as well as they did a week ago, too. The same question must be asked for the offensive line that I asked about the defense above: can they keep it up for a second straight game?
Missouri key to the game: The Tigers have to run the ball if they want any chance to pull off the upset. They’ll be relying on Ish Witter and Russell Hansbrough to get some yards on the early downs to set up manageable third downs for lock- or better yet, pick up yardage in chunks. If Lock is forced into uncomfortable positions on the field or in the down and distance count, Missouri could be a play away from catastrophe against the opportunistic Florida defense.
Prediction: I’m a little worried about this game- a little, not a lot. Florida’s coming off the emotional win over Ole Miss, and now stare the letdown game right in the face. But the Gators know all too well how important this game is in order for them to win the SEC East, and plus, Mizzou has embarrassed the Gators in each of the last two years. Time for some payback in the form of a fourth quarter explosion that overrides a defensive slugfest for the first 45 minutes of game action. Florida 27, Missouri 10