Florida vs. Missouri prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen in the game between the Gators and Tigers.
I work with three Florida fans within 20 feet of me, and I’ve heard plenty about how frustrated they are with the Gators’ offense. And I get it – 13 points against Vanderbilt isn’t exactly ideal. But listen, Luke Del Rio is no DeShaun Watson even when he’s healthy, and how about you try making Austin Appleby into a stud quarterback overnight. The offense has put enough points on the board for the defense, aside for one bad half against Tennessee when nothing went right on either side of the ball. The Gators have the best defense in the SEC, and they’ll get the best of a Missouri offense that is second in the conference in total yardage per game.
The accounting department, God bless their souls, sits right behind our zoo of a writing team. Just a second ago they were tasting all of these Oreo flavors, one of which they described as “stale.” It was providence that at the exact moment I happened to be writing this roundtable.
What an absolutely perfect way to describe these Florida Gators on offense: stale. For a coach who came in and proclaimed that he could win games with his dog at quarterback, Jim McElwain sure has floundered whenever his No. 1 option has gone down.
Both teams are rested, and both teams are flawed. I’ll take Florida on account of Luke Del Rio returning and the fact that it’s homecoming (though Florida’s last homecoming contest against Missouri was a 42-13 shellacking in one of the most befuddling football games ever played). Gators take it, but neither team leaves the contest feeling particularly good about itself.
There may not be an FBS offense as frustrating as Florida’s. The Gators need to stop the shenanigans and feed the rock to Jordan Scarlett. He and Lamical Perine have been tearing it up whenever they touch the ball. The good news for the Gators is they have Luke Del Rio back this week, and he’ll re-connect with Antonio Callaway. Plus, freshman wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland has been getting some first-team reps, so expect to see him a lot more on Saturday. Charles Harris will wreak havoc on the Gators’ offensive line, but Florida wins it.
We could see the Gators move to the top of the SEC East with a victory and a Tennessee loss to No. 1 Alabama. Jim McElwain’s squad will get quarterback Luke Del Rio back after he missed two games with a sprained left knee, and it comes after the team managed just 20 points in the last six quarters. Tigers signal-caller Drew Lock leads the league in passing, averaging 335 yards per game, but he will find life a little more difficult against this UF defense. Mizzou sticks around for awhile, but a couple of fourth-quarter defensive stops will be the difference for the Gators.
Luke Del Rio is back at quarterback, but this is not going to solve all of the woes the Gators have on offense. The passing game is lacking, the rushing attack is at a standstill, and Florida can’t put points on the board. How is that even possible with all the talent they have? Missouri has a good defense, too, so this could be a low-scoring game. The Gators like to win those type of games. Florida in a close one.