121 total yards. 20 passing yards by a quarterback who has thrown five interceptions in his last two games. 11 penalties. 5-14 on 3rd downs. Somehow, this was the mark of a team who won by 28 points in a game that wasn't close from the ringing of the opening bell.
Marcus Murphy, a man who has a penchant for making big plays, marched his way into history with a 95-yard return on the opening kickoff, breaking the school record for return touchdowns -- a record he would later add on to. And from there, the Missouri Tigers feasted inside the Gators' dwellings, making "The Swamp" feel like their own, as they forced six turnovers on their way to a 42-13 victory. And despite all this, neither team looked all that impressive on offense, except for the dynamic Murphy, who amassed more yards than his own team.
It's another lackluster performance for Florida in a long line of deplorable outings in Gainesville. One has to wonder if the head coach's seat has burnt to a crisp, and the athletics program has not shied away from bringing the hammer down before the conclusion of the regular season before. Usually, games that produce something in the realm of abysmal have gotten coaches uprooted before (i.e., Wade Philips in 2010). So if this is the swan song for The Will Muschamp Era in Gainesville, there haven't been many uglier performances than the one that took place on this mid-October evening in The Sunshine State.
Murphy's dynamic play knew no bounds as he not only returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but added a score in the rushing department, and on a punt return, too. His touchdown trifecta netted him 224 total yards, which outmatched the Tigers by a healthy margin, 224-119. The punt return score notched him six return touchdowns, the most by any Missouri Tiger in the long history of the program. With the Tiger offense's inefficiencies, there was no denying who the best player on the field was on Saturday night.
Coming into the game, the Florida offensive line allowed only 5.0 sacks -- least in the conference. But that didn't faze Mizzou at all, as the vaunted Tiger pass rushers got to Jeff Driskel and Treon Harris six times on the night. The highlight play from the defensive line was a strip sack by Shane Ray -- who we'll be seeing on Sundays soon enough -- and a subsequent scoop 'n' score by fellow edge-rusher Markus Golden.
Ray now has 9.5 sacks on the season and if you're keeping score at home, the Missouri Tiger record for most sacks in a season is 11.5. We've only just completed Week 8, ladies and gentlemen.
The silver lining for the Florida Gators is that their defense didn't give away much to the not-so-mighty Mizzou offense. Maty Mauk followed up a dismal effort against Georgia with another night to forget, with just 20 yards through the air on 18 attempts. The Gators held a usually sound Missouri ground game to just 99 yards on 31 carries, and the longest reception on the night was for just eight yards. And, additionally, were much more disciplined in the penalty department, netting only just three to Missouri's 11.
Other than that, the pickens are slim. The Gators have serious QB problems, got cold cocked in the turnover battle, and were outclassed on special teams. It's setting up for yet another long week in Gainesville, as all eyes will be turning to the head coaching situation, as this usual SEC East powerhouse's troubles continue to dwindle as another lost season appears near.
Missouri, meanwhile, remains alive and well in the SEC East despite their punch-drunk effort in Columbia last Saturday against Georgia, as they must continue their winning ways and hope that chips will continue to fall in place to maybe make yet another march to Atlanta this December.