By BUDDY MARTIN There was a pervading feeling that with a noon start, a cold weather game on the road and nemesis Missouri, that trouble was looming for the 7-point favorites. The Gators had 98 yards of offense and only 3 points in the first quarter because of two sacks allowed and a tackle for loss on a reverse.
Some good news: Finally a successful QB sneak for the first down. But two drops already in first half by the usually reliable Van Jefferson and Jacob Copeland slowed down the offense.
The longer the game went on without a Gator touchdown, the more worrisome it was for Dan Mullen. Especially when the breaks started going the Tigers’ way with Kelly Bryant’s poorly thrown pass being completed and a Mizzou field goal bouncing off the upright and falling through for three points.
Big negative plays kept offsetting Florida’s long gainers, like back-to-back catches by Tre Grimes. McPherson’s second field goal gave Florida the 6-3 lead. However, Grimes cost his team good field position for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by an inexplicable head-butting a Missouri player right before the half.
Uncharacteristically, the Gator offense was abused for four sacks in the first two quarters. And once again, the UF running game was non-existent in the first half.