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Missouri 36, Florida 17: Tiger defense makes yet another statement

“Coach Stec said, ‘What about this defense? What about our defense? Make a statement. That’s pretty much what we’re doing every week.” -- Aarion Penton

Tyler Murphy was 15-for-29 for 92 yards, an interception, and six sacks (with eight hurries). Average yards per pass attempt: 1.4. Solomon Patton, covered frequently by freshman Aarion Penton, caught six of eight passes for just 46 yards. Michael Sam had his third three-sack performance in four weeks (!!!!!), and Missouri logged 10 tackles for loss in 60 snaps.

If we wanted to nitpick, we could point to that one Florida touchdown drive that saw the Gators rush six times for 70 yards. But a) that was their one touchdown drive, and b) Kelvin Taylor and Mack Brown combined to rush 15 times for 40 yards outside of that drive.

No, this Florida offense isn't very good. Yes, it's pretty banged up. But nobody has made it look this bad. LSU held Florida to 240 yards (3.5 per play) last week. Mizzou held the Gators to 151 and 2.5.

Because of Florida's late-Q3 touchdown drive, the game was still in the balance heading into the fourth quarter despite utter domination by Missouri in terms of total yardage. But when the third quarter ended and the crowd prepared for the Missouri Waltz, Mizzou's entire sideline came onto the field to meet the offense and held an impromptu pep rally. After all of last year's fourth-quarter struggles, Missouri has dominated the fourth quarter in 2013; but on Saturday came the masterpiece. In the first 10 minutes of the final stanza, Mizzou gained 77 yards on 14 plays and scored three times; in 12 snaps, Florida lost eight yards and completely lost control of the game.

Good god, yesterday was fun.

The Trib: Missouri defense upstages more heralded counterpart in 36-17 win over Florida

Freshman cornerback Aarion Penton, who made his first career start against Florida, said defensive coordinator Dave Steckel was in his players’ ears all week about how the highly regarded Gators defense.

"Coach Stec said, ‘What about this defense? What about our defense? Make a statement,’" Penton said. "That’s pretty much what we’re doing every week."

"We still don’t get the respect we need, but we’re still building together, trying to stay on top. We’ve just got to stay hungry."

KC Star: Freshman Aarion Penton fills E.J. Gaines’ shoes well

"I played tough and physical and I knew my assignments, so I didn’t feel too much pressure," Penton said. "But I’ve just got to thank E.J. for being there for me at practice, critiquing me and telling me what I could do to get better."

For Penton, who finished with three tackles — including one for a loss — with a pass breakup, starting a Southeastern Conference game was a dream come true.

"The environment was crazy," Penton said. "Just The Zou and a lot of gold, everybody’s on our side, you couldn’t ask for anything better."

The Maneater: Freshman Aarion Penton’s impact plays fuel rabid Tiger defense

Penton said that the front seven linemen helped pressure the Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy, which caused him to make mistakes. He said the linemen were just dogs on the field.

"Coach (Dave) Steckel tells them to pin their ears back just go," Penton said. "That’s what they do. As a corner, I appreciate that. As a defense, we work together and get the job done."

Penton contributed to a defense that limited Florida to 151 total yards. Murphy threw a mere 92 yards and went 15-29.

He was sacked six times during the game.

As for Penton, coach Gary Pinkel smiled when he talked about his first performance after the game.

"He’s got a real positive personality," Pinkel said. "When he makes mistakes, he doesn’t beat himself up."

Mizzou Network: POSTGAME: Michael Sam after 3 sacks versus Florida
Mizzou Network: HIGHLIGHT: Kony Ealy's Big Hit Forces Fumble