Florida football: Gators slug out battle with Mizzou

It was another Gator Pace start to the game for Florida football. However, a breakout third quarter helped the No. 11 Gators pull away from Missouri.

The offensive line struggled to block anyone and gave up four sacks, but Florida football managed to pull out of Columbia with a win, thanks to a big third quarter.

Outscoring Missouri 14-3 in the third, No. 11 Florida created distance en route to a 23-6 win for the Gators heading into the last bye week of the season. It also snapped a two-game losing streak to the Tigers.

Florida was, again, anemic on third down in Columbia, converting just 3-for-14. Fortunately, the Tigers were about as bad — converting 5-for-17.

The Gators’ defense forced Missouri to punt nine times for the second consecutive game while holding its running game to just 52 yards rushing and, in consecutive games, the Florida football defense kept an opponent out of the end zone.

Despite the offensive ineptitude, quarterback Kyle Trask threw for 282 yards on 23-for-35 passing and two touchdowns. Backup quarterback Emory Jones has 48 yards passing and led all rushers with 39 yards on the ground.

The Gators closed out the game with 359 yards of total offense against a Tiger defense ranked No. 4 against the run, nationally.

After a pair of Evan McPherson field goals in the first half, Florida football finally started to pull away midway through the third quarter after quarterback Kyle Trask connected with Josh Hammond for a 34-yard touchdown pass, putting the Gators up 13-3.

Missouri only managed a field goal in response.

While the running game for Florida was, again, abysmal, running back Lamical Perine did get in the mix in the third quarter when Trask hit him on a 15-yard touchdown pass that was reviewed and confirmed that Perine did have possession of the ball when he dropped a foot in the end zone.

https://twitter.com/GatorsFB/status/1195789576436097025

The strike put the Gators up 20-9 and capped a 14-point third quarter allowing Florida football to pull away from the Tigers.

The first half was marred by the Florida football offensive line giving up four sacks as the offensive line was quietly simply worked the entire first half.

Trask was able to connect on 11-for-20 passing for 147 yards in the first half.

But you must give credit to the Missouri defense, despite the fact it looked like the Florida football offensive line just quit trying on some plays.

To that end, the Florida running game hasn’t been able to manage much either.

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI – NOVEMBER 16: Quarterback Emory Jones #5 of the Florida Gators avoids a tackle by linebacker Nick Bolton #32 of the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Jones was the leading rusher for Florida, getting 24 yards on two carries.

While Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes combined for 108 yards receiving on five catches, tight end Kyle Pitts was noticeably absent in the first half.

The 6-foot-8 Pitts had just one catch for five yards.

Despite the offensive woes, the Gator defense was dominant in the first half.

They contained Bryant — who is coming off an injury — to the tune of 10 yards on six carries.

Bryant has been decent in the passing game — going 10-for-14 for 105 yards, but because Florida is showing various blitz and pass rush schemes, it’s to be expected.

The Florida secondary has also been effective at closing down All-SEC tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who has just 24 yards on three catches.

Next: Observations from the first half against Missouri

Now, No. 11 Florida football will have a week off before welcoming in-state rival Florida State to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in two weeks to close out the regular season.

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