The Gators used a strong defensive effort to beat the Tigers 21-3 good enough to move them up to #8 in this week’s AP poll.
The Gators are this season surprise team making a meteoric rise from unranked to top ten in only three weeks. Last week they leaped from #25 to #11 after being unranked since 2013.
The Gators got off to a fast start against Missouri taking a 14-3 lead in the first quarter before the offense went into a funk largely the result of a strong Tiger defensive effort.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier, who torched the Ole Miss secondary last week for four touchdowns, looked more like a freshman against Missouri finishing 20-33 for 203 yards and no touchdowns.
While Grier didn’t play bad, he wasn’t spectacular either missing on some open receivers and making some poor decisions with his legs.
The best part for Grier, perhaps, was he didn’t make any bad mistakes. The Gators were turnover free which is a necessity on the road in the SEC.
Offensively, the Gators were carried by junior running back Kelvin Taylor who is looking more and more like his famous father, former Gator and NFL RB Fred Taylor.
Taylor finished with 28 carries for 99 yards and both of the Gators offensive touchdowns.
The real star of this game, however, was the Gator defense which held Missouri to 257 yards and paltry 1-14 on third down.
The Gators played well against the run and kept the Tigers in third and long all evening where they teed off on freshman quarterback Drew Lock.
Constant pressure and hits kept Lock off balance and the Gators defensive backfield kept the Tiger receivers in check. They harassed him into a 16-39 effort for 151 yards and two interceptions.
Sophomore corner back Jalen Tabor had a great game with several pass break ups, some big tackles, and a pick six that gave the Gators some cushion room at 21-3.
While the score remained close throughout and was somewhat boring for fans, the Tigers were never really in it. The Gator defense continues to show that they are one of the better defenses in the nation.
The Gators moved to 6-0 making new head coach Jim McElwain only the third Florida coach to begin their tenure with six straight victories joining Charlie Bachman (1928-32) and Galen Hall (1984-89).
The victory sets up a huge top ten matchup next week when the Gators travel to Baton Rouge to take on #6 LSU.
To the victor will go a likely top five berth and entry into the playoff conversation.
Crazy talk for a team that most expected to win 6 or 7 games this season.
See the full AP Poll here.