The Florida Gators won their final SEC game of the year yesterday against the Missouri Tigers 14-7. The game was a lot closer than Gator fans would have hoped but it was a good, solid victory.
Offensively, they played well in spots but overall were still too inconsistent. Often they are their own worst enemy. Yesterday, they would start making a few plays and moving the chains but then would have a breakdown or two that stopped drives.
On the first series of the game, they came out throwing successfully on their first three plays from scrimmage. Using a no-huddle approach, they caught Missouri off-guard deviating from their tendency to run on first down. The execution was excellent and they made a couple of quick first downs. The series broke down on a third down drop by freshman Raph Andrades. He was open on the play and Driskel made a poor throw but the ball was catchable and Andrades just dropped it out.
That was kind of how it went all day for them. They passed more than usual and mixed up the play calling a little but too many inconsistencies in execution kept them from doing more and left them in a dogfight to the end.
The breakdowns were not all on the receivers though as they were all equal opportunity offenders. Driskel wasn’t sharp by any means misfiring slightly on several passes, not seeing some open receivers, and getting stopped short on some scrambles and short yardage plays.
The line, which overall played a nice game, still had a few mental breakdowns as well. They missed some blocks that kept Driskel and Gillislee from making some big plays and were called for a few penalties including a holding call against Jon Halapio that nullified a long touchdown pass to Frankie Hammond.
Even Mike Gillislee got in on the action. His fumble in the second quarter at the end of a ten yard burst set up Missouri on the Gator 27 yard line and led to their only score of the game.
The coaching staff did a good job this week of mixing up the play calling a little. Starting with the opening drive they did a good job of mixing in first down pass plays, screen passes, quick slants with the usual inside runs, zone reads, and jet sweeps. While Missouri continued to keep the box loaded throughout the game to stop the running game, Pease called the play action td pass to Hammond that was called back due to penalty. The next play he called the screen pass to Gillislee that went for a 45 yard td.
Offensively, the Gators did not play as bad against Missouri as it felt. The Gators did run the ball well behind Mike Gillislee’s 68 yards as the offense finished with 170 rushing yards overall. Their biggest struggle, however, came on 3rd down where they were just 2-13 and that kept them from stringing drives together and left Missouri hanging around.
They’ve certainly got some work to do to be more consistent but the good news is the plays are there when they execute properly. They’ve got two weeks to improve before facing their last big test against FSU.