Gainesville Sun sports columnist Pat Dooley analyzes the first half of the Florida-Missouri game:
- It’s important to put the first half played by the defense in context and still remember that every game is its own game. But Missouri has zero first downs in the second half last week against Kentucky and 13 in the first half against Florida. The hurry-up offense had the Gators confused and they got gashed for big runs. They also were confused at times on defense, especially when they let tight end Albert Okwuegbunam run down the middle of the field uncovered for a 22-yard touchdown.
- But the reason the boos were raining down in The Swamp was the play of Feleipe Franks. Franks was so bad early it made you wonder if he took a magical pill that transformed him back into last year’s version. You couldn’t help but wonder if the Florida coaches were hesitant to have him pull the ball after his fumbles in each of the last two games. But then at the end of the half he carries twice and the Gators punch it in.
- There wasn’t a lot of juice in the stands at the start of the game, in part because the student side was half empty at the start of the game. Missouri didn’t bring a pep band either. And it was chilly. But when you don’t have a great atmosphere, you have to generate one yourself. Florida didn’t seem to do that. And only getting three points on a drive that started at the Missouri 31 was poor on the second possession.
- There is still a path to winning this game, but it is going to require the defense to play at the elite level they have shown at times this year. And certainly, Franks has to be way better. And so does the play-calling, which was pretty pedestrian in that half. Other than that, the Gators are in great shape.
“911 operator what is the nature and location of your emergency?” Caller, “yes, there’s a nasty smell of some kind coming from Florida Field at the corner of North South Drive and University Avenue here in Gainesville! It’s really bad, I’m afraid there’s a chemical spill or something. People are running, yelling, and screaming.” Operator, “sir, Missouri just beat Florida to the point they’ve left…..well…..a large stain on the field. We have hazmat teams on the way to clean up the mess. Stay calm, and move as far away from the area as possible.”