Florida’s opponent Saturday clearly has a split personality.
There’s the good Missouri. Then there’s the bad Missouri.
The good Missouri is undefeated at home, 5-0 and averaging 40.5 points a game.
The bad Missouri is winless on the road, 0-4 and averaging a paltry 13.0 points a game.
The Gators have a pretty good idea which Missouri is going to show up in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday.
“They have a very different team at home than on the road during the year,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “I can’t tell you why, you’d have to ask (Missouri coach) Barry (Odom) why. But we’re playing them at their place, so we have to deal with the good side of things.”
Most teams are usually better at home than on the road. But in the Tigers’ case, the disparity is borderline ridiculous. They’re great at home. Gruesome on the road.
At home, they’re giving up just 11.6 points and 227.2 total yards a game. On the road, it’s 26.0 points and 353.1 yards.
At home, they’re averaging 40.5 points and 461.4 yards of total offense a game. On the road, it’s 13.0 points and 326 yards.
At home, they’re averaging 218.6 rushing yards a game. On the road, just 110.5 yards.
At home, they’re recorded 12 sacks, 20 quarterback hurries and seven interceptions. On the road, they’ve produced just two sacks, two QB hurries and one interception.
What it all adds up to is this: the Gators on Saturday will not be facing the bad Missouri, the one that was shut out 27-0 at Georgia last Saturday and lost at Wyoming, Vanderbilt and Kentucky; they’ll be facing the good Missouri, the undefeated at home and highly efficient Missouri.
“That’s actually something (the coaches) really pointed out to us because on the road, they struggle, but then they get home, something clicks with them, and they blow teams out,” cornerback Marco Wilson said. “So, we’ve got to be ready for that. We know they’re going to be hyped up. Home game, weather is probably going to be weird. So, we’ve got to put all the distraction aside and just focus on balling.”
The Tigers are riding a three-game losing streak and coming off their worst offensive performance of the year, producing zero points and just 198 total yards in the loss at Georgia.
In that game last Saturday, the Tigers were without starting quarterback Kelly Bryant, the Clemson transfer. He’s expected to return this week. So, that means the good Missouri is getting back together for this home game against No. 11 Florida.
“I think they’ve blown out just about everybody that’s come in there,” Mullen said. “They’re a team that plays with a lot of confidence at home and has played extremely well this season.
“Got some talented guys on defense. They have an excellent defense, can create a lot of problems for you, give you a lot of different looks in what they do. Obviously, offensively, they have some good skill position players, great tight end, great running back, good offensive line. They’re able to be balanced.”
That’s the good Missouri. The Missouri the Gators know they’ll be facing Saturday.
“They play a lot better at home from what it looks like,” junior safety Donovan Stiner said. “So, we’ll have to be ready for that. We’ll have to bring it to them.”
The Tigers are coming off an 0-3 road trip and the perception is they’re struggling. But they’ll show up with confidence Saturday.
“They take pride in their stadium and they’re going to give us their best shot,” senior middle linebacker David Reese said.