When Will Muschamp took over the Florida Gator football program he made it clear to anyone who would listen. He wants a tough, hard-nosed football team, that can run the ball downhill, plays tough defense, and sound special teams. He wants a team that takes care of the football, controls the field position battle, and wins the fourth quarter. They’ve used this formula all season and it continued yesterday against the Missouri Tigers. Muschamp’s Way.
The offense didn’t do a lot yesterday, but they did what they needed to taking advantage of turnovers and scoring opportunities. It’s what the offense didn’t do that mattered the most though. They didn’t turn the ball over, much. After giving it away six times against Georgia, the Gators only had one turnover, a Gillislee fumble, that led to Missouri’s only score. Other than that they protected the football well allowing them to rely on Kyle Christy’s leg to keep Missouri pinned deep in their own territory.
While they struggled to maintain some kind of consistency on offense, they punted 8 times, they did take advantage of scoring opportunities off of turnovers. That’s Muschamp’s Way. Don’t turn the ball over, play it safe on 3rd down, punt when needed, and convert your turnovers efficiently into points.
Defensively, they played extremely well. While they did give up some yardage between the 20′s, they kept everything in front of them, tackled well in space, and didn’t give up any big plays. The pass rush, while still somewhat inconsistent, was better in this one, led by bookend freshman superstars Dante Fowler and Jonathan Bullard. They got to Franklin for 4 sacks in the game and consistently pressured him out of the pocket and forced him to throw the ball away on numerous occasions. Franklin finished the game 24 of 51 for 236 yards no td’s and 4 interceptions.
The four interceptions were basically the difference in the game. Franklin led the Tigers on multiple long drives particularly in the 2nd half but came away empty on all of them thanks to those four picks and one timely field goal block. The field goal was blocked by sophomore Loucheiz Purifoy who continues to build on his reputation for being a special teams beast.
Purifoy and the rest of the secondary along with the linebackers consistently provided tight coverage, contested passes, and made solid open field tackles preventing the Tiger receivers from getting yards after the catch or making big plays.
So, once again, the Gators played Muschamp’s Way against the Missouri Tigers and rode that formula to victory. Safe ball control offense, a good punting game, tough ball-hawking defense, and sound opportunistic special teams.
This team will never win awards for style or grace, they’re not going to be included in the season highlight reels like an Oregon or USC, but they do what is necessary to win ball games, and they do it the Muschamp Way.