Grading the Florida Gators against Missouri: No gold stars, but shiny enough to win

David Whitley
Gator Sports

Gainesville Sun sports columnist David Whitley hands out unit grades for the Florida Gators' 24-17 victory Saturday over Missouri. 

Offense: C plus

Some trouble was expected since Missouri has a pretty good defense. But 16 yards rushing, 65 total yards and three points in the first half was not expected. The running game cranked up in the second half, with Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne combining for 169 yards for the game. Anthony Richardson had an AR kind of day. A couple of turnovers (though the fumble was questionable). A 35-yard run on fourth down. The passing game that got 453 yards against Tennessee mustered 66 against Mizzou. Nothing impressive, but good enough.

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Defense: C

Jaydon Hill’s knee is coming around just in time. In his second game back after a year-plus of rehab, Hill had a 49-yard pick six in the first half and a huge interception on the 4-yard-line in the second half. But a less-than-terrifying Missouri offense controlled the ball (72 plays to 46 for UF) and converted 9 of 17 third downs, including a couple of 3rd-and-20-plus stunners in the fourth quarter. Ventrell Miller was a terror with10 solo tackles. Whatever he’s getting in NIL money, it’s not enough.

Special Teams: B minus

It took five games, but the “GameChanger” Dept. finally had a game-changing play. Xzavier Henderson provided it with a 48-yard punt return. That set up a 37-yard field goal from Adam Mihalek. But the redshirt freshman missed from 50 and 47 yards. It also took five games for the coverage teams to avoid a penalty. The Tigers returned only one kick for 21 yards, and Jeremy Crawshaw pinned them at the 10-yard line with his only punt.