Gators keep finding ways to win

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Florida running back Lamical Perine keeps one foot in bounds while catching a 15-yard pass for a touchdown as Missouri safety Tyree Gillespie, left, and linebacker Nick Bolton defend during the third quarter Saturday in Columbia, Mo. Florida won 23-6. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

 COLUMBIA, Mo. — They have no running game. They have injury issues and a tendency to get off to sluggish starts. They commit dumb penalties and struggle on third down at times.

 Yes, the Florida Gators are flawed. They have some obvious warts that many in college football like to keep pointing out.

 But, you know what? They’re 9-2 and one of the SEC’s best success stories in 2019.

 The Gators made it to that nine-win mark Saturday with the kind of grind-it-out, stay patient performance that this team has become known for this season. This time, UF overcame a slow start and multiple negative plays on offense in the first half to persevere for a 23-6 win over Missouri, snapping the Tigers’ five-game home winning streak.

 Florida (6-2 in the SEC) is now one win away from a 10-win season and possible berth in a New Year’s Six bowl game. Its chance at the SEC East title disappeared later Saturday when Georgia defeated Auburn, 21-14.

 It was never easy Saturday, and it certainly wasn’t always pretty, but the Gators found a way to walk away with another team dub.

 “You guys know me, (winning) is really the only (stat) that matters,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “You win the game, you’re happy, you go fix your problems. You don’t win the game, you’re not happy and you go fix your problems. That’s kind of how it works.

 “I don’t know what all the problems are right now that I’ve got to fix, but I’m really happy. Overall, great win, defense did a great job. You’re playing a team here at Missouri that’s averaging over 40 points a game at home. A team that’s blown out everybody they’ve played at home. 

 “To come in and hold them to six points was a fantastic effort by our defense. Thought we played really, really hard defensively. Offensively, I thought we played well. We hurt ourselves, and they made plays though, the negative yardage plays really hurt us.”

 As they have done often this season, the Gators vowed coming into the game that they would get off to a fast start and take the lead and control of the game early.

  But once again, that did not happen. The defense dominated, but the offense failed to sustain drives and find the end zone in the first half. The four sacks of Kyle Trask were a major reason the Gators only led 6-3 at halftime.

 But the Gators stayed patient and focused and did take over the game in the third quarter, building a 20-6 lead. The two TDs came on two big pass plays — a 34-yarder from Trask to Josh Hammond and a 15-yarder from Trask to running back Lamical Perine

 UF then put the game away with a 22-yard field goal by Evan McPherson with 10:37 left in the fourth quarter. McPherson was a perfect three-for-three on the day, hitting from 47 and 39 yards in the first half.

 “We have had a couple of games like this where it’s a little slow start this season,” Trask said. “I think it’s taught our guys just to stick with it. That’s why we’re never panicking, especially in a situation like this when it’s so low-scoring at halftime. Seems like there’s not a lot of positive going on because the scoreboard is so low.

 “I’m just really proud of our guys sticking with the game plan. Eventually we got it rolling. Obviously, you want to start a little faster, but it’s good to see us stick with the game plan and eventually getting it going and never panic.”

 Trask, again without the support of a consistent running game (the Gators rushed for just 56 yards), completed 23 of 35 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns.

 Before the offense started finishing drives in the second half, the game was in the hands of the UF defense. And that’s a good, comforting thing. The Gators shut down the Missouri running game and surrendered only 256 yards of total offense. Over the past two games, UF has given up just a combined six points.

 “It was a slow start,” said senior defensive end Jon Greenard, who was dominant Saturday, producing five tackles for losses. “We never want to do that, but things happen in football. That just means that the defense has got to come out there more and keep stopping them. If they don’t score, we win. That’s what happened. Defense did our job.

 “The offense, as long as we keep giving them the ball they’re going to make something happen. We’ve got too many athletes on that side for it not to happen. We trust in them, they trust in us and it just all plays together.”

 So, there you have it. Another team win. Another typical Florida performance. And a ninth win for a team that somehow keeps overcoming its deficiencies.

 “You’ve just got to believe in yourself and believe in the guys around you,” said senior wide receiver Van Jefferson, who caught six passes for 82 yards. “Everybody just came together and it was like, ‘Let’s get it done.’ It wasn’t pretty in the first half, but they’re not always pretty. We got the W,  that’s all that matters.”

Missouri drops to 5-5, 2-4 in the SEC.

“Didn’t do enough pass game or run game,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said. “Converting on third downs, we came up short. Lot of questions. We’ve got answers, but we’ve got to go execute.”


Up next

Who: Florida State (6-5) vs. No. 11 Florida (9-2)

When: TBD, Nov. 30

Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

TV: TBA

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

15 COMMENTS

  1. The way Trask has been starting so slow, with the exception of LSU and the Marshmallow teams, maybe Mullen’s should start Emory Jones. Then Jones actually gets some reps, the first half is not so boring on offense and put Trask in for the second half as the Closer and let him take care of business. Just saying…. would be much more interesting, lol.

    • Trask didn’t start out slow in any games he started, penalties and o line has caused most of the slow down. But I also wish he would play jones, just so folks will shut up when he doesn’t perform a miracle as u think he will. He should have played more in the vandy game but Trask also deserves to play more since he is just a back up as well; learning on the job.

  2. Same O-line and referees for either QB so that is not a valid factor. Regarding Trask hasn’t started out slow, you must be watching a different Trask other than the one that plays for the Gators. Go back and read Gatorsports and 24/7 articles and coaches comments all year long because they do not support your non factional statements as well as the game stats. You bias for Trask is only surpassed by your lack of substance on the subject.

      • Gator 6, here you go. csmdew does not agree with my comment that “The way Trask starts so slow, with the exception of LSU and the Marshmallow teams, maybe Mullen’s should start Emory Jones.” You can read full post above posted November 17, 2019 at 2:03 pm and csmdew response and so on. So here are the game stats UF vs the following:
        TEAM DATE POINTS 1st Quarter
        USC 10/19/2019 3
        UGA 11/02/2019 0
        Vandy 11/09/2019 0
        Mizzou 11/16/2019 3
        So in the last four games in the first quarter UF scored 6 point all by the Field Goal Kicker. Zero touchdowns. I don’t know about you but I would not call this a fast start by the offense or quarterback. So I made the comments that maybe Mullen’s should start Jones, let him gets some reps and make the 1st half not so boring, then bring Trask in for the 2nd half to be the Closer and take care of business, lol. So csmdew says, “Trask didn’t start slow in any games he started” then blames the slow start he said Trask didn’t have on the O-line and penalties. Maybe 6 points in the last four first quarter is OK with everybody else but to me it is a S.L.O.W. start and sooner or later we are going to get burned. I guess know body remembers Mullen’s saying on several occasion”We need to start better or start faster.” Maybe ya’ll should listed to the video on Swamp 247 titled “Trask talk’s about Gators slow start vs Missouri” posted 11/16/2019 or Robbie Andreu’s 11/18/2019 article “Gators keep finding ways to win.” on GatorSports.com where Robbie says in the opening paragraph speak about UF “They have no running game. They have injury issues and a Tendency to get off to SLUGGISH STARTS.” Maybe that helps you understand why I know Trask has been getting off to SLOW Starts the last four games. PS I like Trask and give him full credit for getting the Gators to a 10 and 2 season. Something I think would not have happened if Frank had not gone out with a injury. Trask is a great guy, a stand up tough guy with a lot of charter and heart. He is the best thing that has happened to the Gators at QB since Tebow but Trask has his limitations. He is one dimensional for the most part since get does not run or move well in the pocket. He nor Frank are good fits for Mullen’s real offense which requires a running quarterback. When UF get a mobile QB Mullen’s is going to show everybody some real magic but until then I am thankful for Frank and Trask even if they are a round peg in a square hole offense. The jury is still out on Emory Jones but he is the
        STYLE of quarterback that can take us back to the promise land if not the one. GO GATORS!!! Just saying…. I call it like I see it but everybody looks at things differently.

        go

        • Well bud, that’s a pretty good explanation and rational, and as far as I’m concerned basically to the point. I particularly like that you can back up your arguments. Absent the edge for the sergeant major, in which it’s fair to say that he has many times over proven his “substance”, also pretty convincing. Point being, we’re all Gators brethren here and these are just opinions……

    • Apparently you are not watching the games; he is moving the ball just find until penalties or the o line fails to block and he gets sacked. Now some of the sacks are his fault but do u really believe that jones is going to do any better, wishful thinking. I really hope they let jones play a lot more so we all can see just how great he is; more wishful thinking.

  3. Amen CSMDEW, to shut the Jones morons up. They have an NFL quality drop back passer and all they can think about is the lesser backup! Its not a matter of “thinking” he will do better, he has played and Hasnt done better! I agree that the O-line is responsible for the slow starts against the opponents rested defense as well as coaching(too many and too few men on the field)(calling for deep passes against the 4th best pass rush). As the game goes on the the Opp.’s D gets tired and the o-line warms up they play better. IN ADDITION, Mo. is the 4th best pass rushing defense so it was only to be expected that the o-line would have alot more trouble in this game. In fact its a testament to just how good Trask is that with a pourous o-line and no running game against the 4th best pass rush he still beat them!!!!!
    regarding the article, Mo only beat Miss 38-27 which isnt a “blowout”, coach.

    • From where I sit it seems to me that we just don’t have enough data on Jones, real time, at this point in time to support arguments in either direction about how he’ll do as a full time QB. We see some promise and we see some failures, which is pretty typical for a highly rated high school player coming into the SEC where virtually everybody is good and the game is a lot more complicated — especially when you wind up in a wizard system under somebody as bright as Dan Mullen. Speculation is fair game, but outright declarations one way or the other about him are premature……especially with absolute certainty and emotion attached to it. Ya’ll, the jury’s still out, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, and Junior Samples has yet to weigh in.

      That said, I think there will be a place for him on the roster next year and he just might show us something special when he gets his chance. Right now tho, Trask is the man and will be until either Franks or Jones can do what he can do with the same or more consistency.

    • The jury IS still out on Emory Jones. However, like “the dog that didn’t bark,” there are some conclusions that can be drawn from his almost two seasons at UF with so few plays called for him by CDM and even fewer passes thrown by him.

      For extreme contrast, Tim Tebow had locked up the Heisman Trophy by this point in his second season under CDM. In fairness to Jones, Tim Terrific was surrounded by a more talented offense, including Percy Harvin and a massive OL.

      That said, I have tremendous faith in CDM’s judgement where it comes to developing and maximizing the effectiveness of his QBs. There absolutely was a reason CDM didn’t hardly call any 10-20 YD passes over the middle when Franks was his QB. Kyle Pitts has become a superstar at TE catching 10-20 YD passes over the middle since Trask took over at QB. Same CDM different QB.

      Finally, Pat Dooley was right when he said, “Nobody suffers winning more than Gator fans.” Throwing Jones out there behind that mediocre OL and making him throw the ball more when CDM doesn’t believe he’s ready would be a huge disservice to the kid… and the team.

  4. dirtdoctor007, you made csmdew’s point. You said Trask was a slow starter themn argued how the team slow started. Ive watched the games, trask doesnt slow start, he hits 1st down passes on 2nd down right away, its those around him that are slow starting including the coaches!
    Now to the point about starting Jones in the 1st qtr since they arent scoring points! Wow Nellie! trask keeps them on the field and keeps the other offense OFF the field even though they arent scoring! Play jones and watch the opposition wear our defense out earlier in the game from having to spend all the time on the field in the 1st qtr. that happened with Ga due to the coaches poor player management of too many and too few on the field and calling a time out to kill our 1st drive. Put Jones on the field in the 1st and watch that happen with more regularity just because he couldnt keep drives alive like Trask. THAT IS trask’s gift that jones has shown no propensity to accomplish!