One week after stomping the Ole Miss Rebels in their treacherous, swampy homeland, the Florida Gators headed northwest of Gainesville.
Looming in the distance were the Missouri Tigers who were off the heels of a pretty convincing performance of their own. Manned by highly touted freshman quarterback Drew Lock, the Tigers rid themselves of a 2013 Homecoming nightmare they had over the now lowly South Carolina Gamecocks. Coincidentally enough, it's Homecoming weekend in the town Mizzou fans, students, alumni and town folk affectionately call "CoMO," and the Tigers were hoping to give their fans enough of a reason to celebrate.
This was further compounded with the end result of the Tennessee-Georgia encounter on Saturday afternoon, with the Vols knocking off the 'Dawgs which, prior to kickoff, gave the Gators sole possession of first place in the SEC East. With a victory, they could take a commanding two-game lead, or, Missouri would seat themselves atop the mantle and only give their naysayers a groan and a churn in their stomach.
Things didn't really go as planned for Mizzou, though.
The Gators came in and crashed the party and kept up their stout defensive play. They blasted and harassed Drew Lock time and time again, held five Tiger rushers to just a hair over 100 yards rushing, and forced two turnovers along the way to a dominating 21-3 victory.
UF fans can thank Kelvin Taylor for the offensive output on Saturday night. The junior tailback rushed for two touchdowns in the first quarter of the game and that wound up being all that the offense needed to do for the remaining 45 minutes. IT was truly the defense's night, snuffing out nearly anything and everything that Mizzou threw at them. Florida got on the board again in the 3rd quarter when sophomore cornerback Jalen Tabor picked off Drew Lock and proceed to have a 40-yard run back into the end zone.
The Tiger offense sputtered on Saturday night and perhaps that's putting it mildly. On 15 total drives, the average field position was on their own 25. Six times they had three-and-outs, and nine times they punted. The talent isn't quite there for Mizzou right now and it seems that 2015 might be turning into a year in transition, barring something otherworldly occurring in the raucous SEC East.
Speaking of that SEC East, the Gators appear to be as legit as it gets on the defensive side of the ball. Their nastiness knows no bounds and we're going to be looking at an epic showdown next week in Death Valley when they step up against the incomparable LSU running back and Heisman Trophy favorite, Leonard Fournette. Should they make it out of Baton Rouge with a victory, they may not face a very tough test the rest of the way and could very well be Atlanta-bound.