Florida Gators' next opponent: Scouting report on SEC foe, the Missouri Tigers

David Whitley
Gator Sports

Missouri (2-3, 0-2 in SEC) at Florida (3-2, 0-2 in SEC)

When: Noon. TV: ESPNU. Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville. 

Last week: The Tigers almost pulled off the shocker of the year, jumping to a 13-0 lead before losing 26-22 to Georgia. They moved the ball on the Bulldogs for three quarters, but too many drives (five, to be precise) ended in field goals instead of touchdowns. After stifling Georgia most the game, Mizzou’s defense allowed two TD drives in the final 10 minutes. It was the second straight near-miss for the Tigers, who fumbled away a sure win at Auburn the week before.

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Missouri quarterback Brady Cook (12) is sacked by Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith (4) during the second half at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo., on Oct. 1, 2022.

Best offensive player: The most talented player is freshman receiver Luther Burden, a 5-star recruit who’s struggled to adjust to the college game. The most pivotal player is sophomore QB Brady Cook. His first season as the starter has been erratic at times, but he was solid against Georgia’s heralded defense, hitting 20 of 32 passes for 190 yards. He’s also a running threat, and UF has had trouble with those type of QBs.

Best defensive player: Isiah McGuire has NFL potential at defensive end. He and fellow edge rusher Trajan Jeffcoat give the Tigers a disruptive pass rush and were major reasons Bulldogs QB Stetson Bennett struggled for most of last week’s game.

Fun fact: If the game must somehow be decided by alumni star power, the Gators will lose their seventh straight SEC tilt. Brad Pitt attended the school before heading for Hollywood, as did George C. Scott. None played football, though Scott played Gen. George S. Patton well enough to win an Oscar. UF could counter with Faye Dunaway and Buddy Ebsen, but the Tigers could also throw in “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm, not to mention playwright/screenwriter Tennessee Williams.

Series: Missouri leads 6-5, including last year’s 24-23 overtime win in Columbia that was the death knell for Dan Mullen’s tenure in Gainesville.

Quote: “We can play with anybody. If we do the little things, we can beat anybody.” – Defensive back Joseph Charleston.