Every team has its flaw; and if you’re going to upset a highly-ranked opponent, you’ve got to figure out what that is and exploit it.
For No. 13 Florida, their flaw is a very vanilla offense.
The Gators rank 78th in the country in total offense, averaging 197.8 yards through the air (97th in FBS) and 193.9 yards on the ground (42nd in FBS) for a total of 391.6 yards of offense per contest.
Missouri’s run defense (28th in FBS) proved itself to be one of the best in the SEC Saturday against No. 11 Kentucky, limiting star running back Benny Snell Jr. to just 67 yards rushing — his second-lowest total of 2018 — and no touchdowns.
Florida’s first loss of the season came by the hands of Kentucky in Week Two, who boasts one of the better run defenses in the country as well (17th in FBS). The Gators were held to just 128 yards rushing in their 11-point loss, but what stuck out was how often they utilized quarterback Feleipe Franks’ arm.
Kentucky’s stellar run defense must have scared Florida off from utilizing their strength of running the football, as the Gators ran the ball just 42.4 percent of the time. Because of that, Franks — who ranks 89th in the country and 11th in the SEC with a 57.1 percent completion percentage — threw the ball 38 times, completing just 17 passes (44.7 percent) as Florida was held to just 16 points all game.
Missouri has to utilize a similar approach if they’re going to take down the Gators in The Swamp. Florida’s offense is as one-dimensional as it gets, and if you’re able to shut down their running game like the Tigers very well could, it makes stopping them a whole lot easier.
Missouri’s new-look secondary — featuring newly-elected starters in cornerback Christian Holmes and safety Tyree Gillespie — looked solid Saturday against Kentucky, and proved it can hold its own against a ho-hum passing attack. Franks is far less efficient than the Wildcats’ Terry Wilson Jr., as it’s very possible the Tigers could find themselves in another low-scoring defensive battle once again.
It all starts with stopping the run, though.