If your Missouri fandom is at an all-time low and you have just zero interest in continuing to watch the football Tigers disintegrate in front of your eyes, I certainly don’t blame you. The last month hasn’t given the collective us many reasons to feel good about the state of the program, and now we have a Top 10 Florida team waltzing into Faurot. There is room for optimism, however. I know! It’s hard to believe! Even though Florida has the 21st-ranked offense according to SP+, they are incredibly one dimensional and can be stopped. How? Take a moment to peruse the depth chart and then I’ll catch ya at the bottom to break it down. See you there!
Kyle Trask - R-JR: 160-239 (66.9%)/2,011 yards/19 TDs/6 INTs/12.6 ypc/7.3 ypa
Emory Jones - R-FR: 19-31 (61.3%)/172 yards/2 TDs/0 INTs/9.1 ypc/5.6 ypa
Lamical Perine - SR: 111 rushes/504 yards/4.5 ypc/4 TDs/5.05 HLT/39.6% OPP/36% success
Dameon Pierce - SO: 40 rushes/262 yards/6.6 ypc/3 TDs/10.01 HLT/40% OPP/37.5% success
Van Jefferson - R-SR: 47 targets/32 catches (68.1%)/398 yards/4 TDs/12.4 ypc/8.5 ypt
Jacob Copeland - R-FR: 22 targets/14 catches (63.6%)/224 yards/2 TDs/16 ypc/10.2 ypt
Trevon Grimes - JR: 32 targets/27 catches (84.4%)/404 yards/3 TDs/15 ypc/12.6 ypt
Tyrie Cleveland - SR: 24 targets/18 catches (75%)/256 yards/1 TD/14.2 ypc/10.7 ypt
Freddie Swain - SR: 45 targets/29 catches (64.4%)/430 yards/5 TDs/14.8 ypc/9.6 ypt
Josh Hammond - R-SR: 27 targets/22 catches (81.5%)/262 yards/1 TD/11.9 ypc/9.7 ypt
Kyle Pitts - SO: 60 targets/42 catches (70%)/528 yards/5 TDs/12.6 ypc/8.8 ypt
Lucas Krull - R-JR: 5 targets/2 catches (40%)/18 yards/0 TDs/9 ypc/3.6 ypt
Stone Forsythe - R-JR
Richard Gouraige - R-FR
Brett Heggie - R-JR
Ethan White - FR
Nick Buchanan - R-SR
Tanner Rowell - R-JR
Christopher Bleich - R-FR
T.J. Moore - R-SO
Jean Delance - R-JR
Michael Tarquin - FR
Hi! Welcome to the part where I break this offense down into beatable parts. So let’s talk about how these Gators can be wrangled. Believe it or not, the Missouri defense is well equipped to shut the Florida attack down. I. KNOW. It’s crazy! Behold:
The Ground Game
Wyoming, Troy, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and Georgia. Appalachian State, BYU, Colorado, Florida Atlantic, kansas, Oregon State, Texas Tech. The first six teams I listed the Tigers have played, the rest the Tigers won’t play this year, BUT what do they all have in common? They all have better running games than Florida.
Lamical Perine has been the workhorse running back this year with 111 carries to his name. He has 504 yards on 5 yards per carry but his success rate is a miserable 36%. In fact, every running-based offensive metric is absolutely terrible: success rate is 107th, efficiency is 104th, opportunity rate is 125th, short yardage success is 120th, and overall they are the 86th best ground game in the country. Their saving grace is ranking 29th in explosiveness (uh oh), but if they aren’t getting huge plays they’re getting stuffed at the line (80th) or barely going two yards. The Tigers’ defense has been dynamite against non-running-quarterback ground games and they absolutely need to take advantage here to make the Gators one dimensional.
Sacks (and assorted havoc)
Now, Florida is happy to be one-dimensional - whether Missouri forces them to do that or not - because the passing game is sublime: 6th in success rate, 20th in efficiency, 13th in completion rate, 28th in net yards per attempt. Seven guys have 20+ targets, led by tight end Kyle Pitts; they can play the quick passing game, the screens, and the zone-busting routes all day with equal success, culminating in an overall passing rank of 14th. This is the best passing offense Missouri will see all year and will be the first true test for our dynamite secondary. The Tiger secondary is still a healthy 37th in SP+, but will need to be extra sticky in their coverage because Florida always find a way to hit the open man. To throw a passing game out of rhythm you need havoc plays: sacks, pressures, passes defensed, interceptions. I have no faith in our defensive ends providing that so it’ll be up to Jordan Elliott to cave the line in and force a pass that our DBs can swat out of the air or pick off. If the Tiger havoc is under 20% I doubt there’s a way they win the game. Disrupt the passing game and the Gators are grounded.
When Florida is finding successful drives they’re skipping third down completely. They rank an excellent 22nd in standard downs proficiency and are somehow slightly better in passing downs, ranking 21st. Kyle Trask certainly doesn’t look like much of a threat with his delivery but he is accurate and adept at creating openings through the air. So what’s a defense to do? Get ‘em to third down. The Gators are surprisingly mortal on any third down of any distance: 71st in long, 25th in medium, and 117th in short (!!!!). This offensive line is malleable and will need to be taken advantage of, particularly since they rank in the bottom half of the country in sack rate (69th overall [nice]). If Missouri can generate pressure on Trask - either through excellent coverage of blowing up the interior of the line - and force them to third downs then the Tigers have a chance.
I know the Tigers are on the skid, but this could be a great statement game. There isn’t much more football left this year, so I strongly urge everyone to come out and promote the team since this could be an excellent matchup. If you still need tickets, click through here. The Florida offense is basically the inverse of the Georgia offense: liability on the ground, killer through the air. Handling their offensive line is key: if you see the line of scrimmage get pushed back you can feel good about the day going forward. But if the line holds and buys time for Trask to find an open guy then our weird curse-jinx on Florida can be broken quickly.