UF again dominated on line

Florida Gators linebacker Michael Taylor (51) calls plays at the line against Missouri during the first half at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo., Saturday, October 19, 2013. (Doug Finger/Staff photographer)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 5:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 5:38 p.m.

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Before every game, veteran college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here’s Week 7:

1. Tyler Murphy was sacked four times in the LSU loss. How many times does this brand of Tigers take him down?

LSU’s fierce pass rush looked almost tame compared to what Missouri threw at Murphy. These Tigers were all over the Florida quarterback all day long, sacking him six times, knocking him down on numerous occasions and causing him to fumble twice (both were recovered by the Tigers). He was sacked three times in the first half and under duress just about every time he attempted a pass. Things were no better in the second half. The amazing thing is Murphy was able to walk away from all the carnage.

2. Will Kelvin Taylor have a breakout game at tailback today?

Statistically, it cannot be considered a breakout performance. In terms of perhaps establishing himself as the starting tailback going forward, maybe it was. Taylor was the only player on offense who showed any playmaking ability Saturday. The freshman pretty much was the offense in UF’s scoring drive late in the third quarter that culminated with his 20-yard touchdown run. He certainly seems to be UF’s most natural runner, a guy with excellent vision and cutting ability. He managed to find running room Saturday where there was none. He ended up with 74 yards rushing.

3. Can the Florida defense force new starting quarterback Maty Mauk into some critical mistakes?

Other than cornerback Brian Poole’s interception late in the first half (that led to no points for the Gators), the defense did nothing to rattle or confuse the first-time starter. He got off to a quick start, hitting consecutive passes on the opening drive, the second going for a touchdown, and played with confidence the rest of the way. Tyler Murphy must have been jealous watching the redshirt freshman have all the time in the world to execute the Missouri passing game.

4. Will the Gators open up the playbook and start throwing the ball more downfield, or will it be more of the same ball control approach?

It became apparent early in the game that Tyler Murphy was going to have no time to drop back in the pocket and throw the ball. Even though the Gators were playing from behind the entire game, they had to keep pounding it with the run to keep their quarterback from getting killed. Play calling wasn’t an issue Saturday. The offensive line could not block the Missouri defensive front, and that dictated everything.

5. Can Florida’s defensive backs, who are giving up a considerable size advantage to the Tigers’ receivers, win the critical battle in the secondary?

In a rarity for these defensive backs, the big, fast, talented Missouri receivers got the best of them in a big way. They won in a rout, actually. It was pretty stunning, really, especially when you consider Maty Mauk was starting his first game at quarterback. The Gators gave up pass plays of 52, 41 and 27 yards. And it wasn’t so much the size advantage that came into play. The receivers were getting wide open for most of the game. Safety Cody Riggs was ejected on the first play for targeting. But missing one player should not lead to the meltdown that happened Saturday.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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