An editorial will drop later, but for now, let’s trudge through the advanced box score. The Tiger defense played excellently and gave the offense several chances. Maybe they took advantage! Oh...they didn’t? Ah! Well. Nevertheless.
As usual, we’ll get the offense out of the way first because it is JUST.SO.BAD.
The Forward Pass
25-39 (64.1%), 204 yards, 1 INT, 3 sacks, 4.4 yards per attempt. That’s not going to cut it. Running the ball was technically better for the Tigers but when you’re comparing a 35% success rate to a 31% success rate the actual issue isn’t whether to run or pass, but why is it that bad in the first place.
40% success rate, 6% lower than the national average but basically dead even with Florida. The Tigers had better passing and running numbers on standard downs; the problem is that they were only gaining an average of 4.4 yards on first down and constantly facing passing down situations so the number of standard downs for the game was lower than average.
5-18 for the game, 1-10 at the end of the first half. As mentioned previously, the Tiger offense averaged 4.4 yards on 1st down, had an average of 8.8 yards to go on 3rd down, and had an average starting field position of their own 23 yard line (Florida’s was their 28). None of that is part of a recipe for a win.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Missouri’s defense plays admirably and holds the opponent offense at bay, but gives out once the Tiger offense goes through multiple three-and-outs and is unable to flip the field.
The Ground Game
21 rushes, 87 yards, 32% success rate. The Missouri defense actually made the Gator ground game worse than its season average, and that’s even with a mobile quarterback taking the majority of the snaps!
Sacks (and assorted havoc)
Kobie Whiteside is the unsung hero of this defense. Jordan Elliott gets the attention — and deservedly so — but Whiteside has been a TFL machine. He added 2 sacks to his season total, Elliott had one as well, and a defensive end even got in on the fun with Tre Williams notching a single sack. The Tiger defense was also active in the air, deflecting five passes on the day. I said if the havoc rate was over 20% then the Tigers were doing what was necessary to keep it close: they finished at 26%.
Florida went 3-14 on third downs. That’s downright Missouri-esque. Even with the Gators gaining an average of 6.5 yards on first down, their average third down was 9.4 yards. Now, part of that is that their scoring drives involved a lot of 1st and 2nd down conversions (hence, no third downs) but holding a team to 21% conversion rate on 3rd down should be more than enough to buy your offense time. Unless, of course, it’s this year’s Missouri offense.
If you haven’t figured out how these Missouri games go by now...well, that’s on you. Maybe it changes against Tennessee but it probably won’t. Hell, even Arkansas has a shot at winning if Missouri keeps up this kind of lifeless performance on offense. They have two games to turn it around. Let’s hope they do.