After a two game road trip where most experts thought the Tigers would drop both games, Mizzou returns to Columbia with a 6-0 record, and one huge win over then #7 Georgia. The defense shined in the national spotlight as the Tigers forced four Bulldog turnovers, including two Aaron Murray interceptions that sealed the game. Experts were stunned by effort put forth by Mizzou, now considering the Tigers legitimate contenders in the SEC East. Of course this win didn't come without sacrifice. Three-year starter James Franklin went out with about seven and half minutes left in the fourth quarter, forcing the Tigers to put in Redshirt Freshman Maty Mauk for the remainder of the game. Only up by two with ten minutes, Mauk didn't do anything flashy, but what he did do was play with control in a hostile environment. On his first play, he rushed for 6 yards to pick up a key first down for Mizzou. Two plays later, Mauk got the ball out to Bud Sasser, who launched this 40-yard touchdown pass to L'Damian Washington to extend their lead to eight. When all was said and done, Mauk finished the day completing all three of his passes, and rushing for 12 yards. And for the next 3-5 weeks, he's the new leader of the Tiger Offense, whether he likes it or not.
-#22 FLORIDA GATORS (4-2, 3-1 SEC)
The Gators came into the year with the hopes of getting to the SEC Championship Game under Will Muschamp for the first time in his tenure, but all that got derailed after the Miami Hurricanes upset the Gators in a game that saw starter Jeff Driskel go down with a season-ending injury. Now with Junior Tyler Murphy at the helm, the Gators offense has shown signs of inconsistency, specifically the Tennessee game where both teams looked incredibly sloppy. But defense has been the bread and butter for the Gators so far this year, allowing less than 250 yards of offense on four separate occasions. Where Florida has shown some vulnerabilities though is the defense against the rush, for example during the first quarter of the Arkansas game where the Hogs posted 80 yards rushing in the first quarter alone behind Freshman Alex Collins. The next week, Jeremy Hill exploited more holes in the Gator D as he went for 121 yards in LSU's win in Baton Rouge. Missouri will have the same opportunities to attack the Florida front four behind the rushing attack of Henry Josey, Marcus Murphy, and Russell Hansbrough. The ability of each tailback to bring different looks to the offense should keep the Gators guessing and chip away yards as the game goes on. Maty Mauk will also be a factor in Saturday's game, if he can control the game similar to the way he did in Sanford Stadium last weekend, the Tigers should be able to put the numbers up to outshine the Gators offensively. Mizzou's defense will be crucial to how the game will go, especially if the Tigers have E.J. Gaines back, who left the Georgia game early with a quad injury. If the front line can contain Mack Brown and Kelvin Taylor, Missouri has a chance to outwork Georgia for win number seven.