Missouri Scouting Report

David Whitley
The Gainesville Sun

Who: Florida (5-5, 2-5 in SEC) vs. Missouri (5-5, 2-)

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field, Columbia, Mo.

TV: SEC Network Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

Last Week: Missouri beat South Carolina 31-28. Yes, the same South Carolina team that thumped Florida 40-17 a week earlier. The Tigers are on a late-season drive for respectability after being given up for dead following a 62-24 loss to Tennessee on Oct. 2. They’ve lost only to Texas A&M and Georgia since. Mizzou almost blew a 31-14 lead against South Carolina but held on thanks largely to running back Tyler Badie’s 209 yards rushing.

Best Offensive Player: Tyler Badie is an All-SEC caliber workhorse, averaging 123.9 yards and 20 carries a game. He also leads the team with 50 receptions. Missouri’s problems have been elsewhere, most notably at quarterback. Connor Bazelak has thrown six TDs and nine interceptions against Power Five opponents. He’s been hampered by a bad hamstring and was pulled for backup Brady Cook against South Carolina. It’s a guess who’ll start Saturday against UF.

Best Defensive Player: Until recently, the answer might have been no one. The Tigers have held only one team to fewer than 30 points, and that was Southeast Missouri State. Nickel back Martez Manuel is the defense’s tackling and spiritual leader, and he was a big reason the Tigers held South Carolina to 57 yards rushing last Saturday night. Again, the same South Carolina team that ran for 284 yards against the Gators.

Series: Each school has won five games. They played only once before Missouri joined the SEC in 2012, and it was a memorable one in the 1966 Sugar Bowl. The Tigers took a 20-0 lead and had to hold off a fourth-quarter rally led by Steve Spurrier to win 20-18.

Fun Fact: Missouri claims to be the birthplace of “Homecoming.” The first one was held in 1911, when the Tigers played blood rival Kansas on their Columbia campus instead of the traditional spot in Kansas City. Athletic Director Chester Brewer invited alumni to “come home,” and the school staged a parade, pep rally and bonfire to jazz up the occasion. This year’s Homecoming opponent was North Texas. Had Missouri known UF would give up175 points in its past four games, the Tigers might have considered switching to the Gators.

Quote: "We're still an incomplete team, so to find a way to win this game is incredibly big." – Coach Eli Drinkwitz after beating South Carolina.