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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s second-half surge continued. So did Florida’s second-half slide.

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The Tigers beat the Gators 45-16 on Saturday for their third straight victory after a 1-5 start. Florida, which fired coach Jim McElwain last Sunday, has lost four straight and has been outscored 87-23 in the last two weeks.

Running back Larry Rountree III #33 of the Missouri Tigers breaks free of Duke Dawson #7 of the Florida Gators as he runs for a touchdown in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium on November 4, 2017 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Missouri (4-5, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) took control of the game with a 14-play, 98-yard touchdown drive that spanned the first and second quarters. The key play was a 36-yard Drew Lock pass to Emanuel Hall on first-and-25. Larry Rountree III capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, giving the Tigers a 14-0 lead.

The Tigers, known for Lock’s prolific passing, leaned heavily on the running game early. Rountree carried 15 times for 83 yards and three touchdowns, and Ish Witter added 83 yards on 17 rushes. The Tigers finished with 227 yards rushing.

Lock and his receivers also exploited Florida’s tight man-to-man coverage over the top. Lock completed 15 of 20 passes for 228 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Hall had five catches for 113 yards.

In his first start at quarterback for the Gators (3-5, 3-4), graduate transfer Malik Zaire completed 13 of 19 passes for 158 yards and one interception. Florida settled for three Eddie Pineiro field goals until backup quarterback Feleipe Franks connected with Lamical Perine on a 16-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

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MISSOURI: Lock, a junior, moved past Brad Smith into second place on Missouri’s career touchdown passes list. Lock has 58 TD passes, which is 43 behind record-holder Chase Daniel. Lock has 31 touchdown passes this season.

FLORIDA: In his first game as interim coach, Randy Shannon didn’t have any success inspiring the Gators. Shannon, who coached Miami from 2007-10, saw his career record drop to 28-23.


MISSOURI: The Tigers will try for their fourth straight victory with a home game against Tennessee.
FLORIDA: The Gators will try to break their four-game slump at South Carolina.

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