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Mizzou Looks the Part

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Saturday afternoon in The Swamp, Missouri sure didn't look like a team that was winless in SEC competition.

Saturday afternoon in The Swamp, Missouri sure didn't look like a team that was winless in SEC competition. Instead, the Tigers played like a side focused and motivated after a defeat on an untimed down the previous week. Against 11th ranked Florida, a team with losses to only top ten opponents entering the weekend, Missouri responded with its best game of the season, winning 38-17 on homecoming for the Gators. The Tigers, once more, took out some frustrations on Florida and took a step closer to bowl eligibility. 

After dropping games to South Carolina and Kentucky with two seconds and no time left on the clock, Missouri, this time, left no doubt.

The Tigers, following a field goal from the Gators midway through the first quarter, answered with conviction, scoring an impressive 35 of the next 42 points. Though Florida found paydirt before the halftime break, Missouri never let the Gators any closer than that 11-point margin again; the Tigers opened the third quarter with touchdowns on their first two drives. Missouri held Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks to 9-of-22 passing for just 84 yards, struggles that resulted in his benching in period three.   

With Drew Lock throwing for 250 yards and three touchdowns, Damarea Crockett rushing for 114 yards and a score and Emanuel Hall and Albert Okwuegbunam both getting into the endzone, the performance, against a elite defense, was a reminder of just how dynamic the Missouri offense can be. Lock, 24-of-32 passing, led the way for an attack that averaged 7.8 yards per pass, 5.3 yards per rush, was 11-of-18 on third down tries, did not turn the ball over, gave up just one sack and held possession for nearly 35 minutes.

This marks the second year in a row the Tigers have sprinted right past Florida, winning games by a combined total of 83-33. Lock, in those victories, has now completed 39-of-53 throws, with six touchdowns and one interception. Larry Rountree has four rushing scores. Last fall, a triumph over the Gators helped Missouri win six consecutive games to finish the regular season. Looking ahead, these Tigers, fresh off a strong showing in Gainesville, could rally for five of six. 

It's November and Missouri has a big win over Florida and corresponding-momentum yet again. The Tigers played like a contender against one of the best teams in the league.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports