Gators Ready To Pounce On Tigers In Swamp
GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Gators came out flat and never were able to get going in last weekend’s loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville. That’s left Florida hungry and ready to take out their frustration on someone, which happens to be the Missouri Tigers on Saturday.
Florida was ranked second in the country before the Georgia game and has featured one of the stingiest defenses all season long. The Gators’ defense is ranked fourth in the country in scoring, giving up just 12.8 yards per game, according to cfbstats.com.
The Gators are stout against the run, allowing just a bit more than 100 yards per game on the ground to opponents. Florida also limits teams through the air to just 180.4 yards per game, according to cfbstats.com.
With that standing in front of them, the Missouri Tigers bring in their anemic offense to the swamp. The once prolific Tigers offense is managing just 24.4 points per game this season and roughly 3.51 yards per attempt in 2012.
Overall, Missouri is averaging just 4.59 yards per play on offense. The Tigers are coming off their first SEC victory of the season last weekend against Kentucky, and will get an offensive boost when junior quarterback James Franklin returns to the starting lineup against Florida.
Still, Missouri’s issues have been moving the ball in chunks down the field. The Tigers receiving corps, which was supposed to be a strength of the team, has repeatedly dropped passes and been ineffective against SEC defenses.
Missouri’s offensive woes have been largely a part of significant injuries to its offensive lines. Mizzou has started a new offensive line almost every week of the season due to injuries to various linemen. Missouri will be without senior right guard Jack Meiners again this week.
Florida has performed especially well in the second half of games and shut down some of the most prolific offenses in the country. Florida’s defense kept the game close against Texas A&M earlier in the season and then the offense took over in the second half to beat the Aggies.
Florida’s offense will have to deal with a solid Tigers defensive line. Mizzou features arguably the best defensive lineman in the SEC in defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. The junior defensive tackle leads the team in tackles and has been a force in SEC play this season.
But Missouri simply doesn’t have the horses to keep up with Florida in its first season in the SEC. Barring a nearly perfect performance from the struggling Tigers’ offense, Mizzou has little chance of walking out of the Swamp on Saturday with a victory.
Missouri and Florida will kick off at noon on ESPN2.