How impressive was Missouris offensive performance Saturday in a 36-17 win against Florida at Memorial Stadium? Pretty darn impressive if youre into things like stats and numbers.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Lets start with the big plays, because until Saturday, Miami (Fla.) quarterback Stephen Morris 52-yard touchdown to Phillip Dorsett in the first quarter Sept. 7 against Florida had been the only play of more than 40 yards the Gators allowed all season.
That streak ended after 19 quarters on the first play against Missouri when redshirt freshman Maty Mauk launched a 41-yard pass down the visitors sideline to senior wide receiver LDamian Washington.
Early in the third quarter, Mauk hit junior Jimimie Hunt for a 52-yard catch and run and late in the period Henry Josey ripped off a 50-yard run, giving the Tigers three plays of at least 40 yards.
They are scary watching them on film and I think in conference they average about 10 points a game, but weve got guys who can make plays, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. We had a bunch of guys making plays.
Mauk and Washington also hooked up for a 37-yard pass play midway through the fourth quarter, which stands as the fifth longest play Florida has allowed this season.
The Gators entered play allowing 235.3 yards per game, which ranked third in the nation. The Tigers racked up 500 yards, which is more than double the season average.
Florida hadnt allowed 500 yards against a Southeastern Conference opponent since Oct. 20. 2007, at Kentucky when the Wildcats totaled 512 yards and hadnt allowed 500 yards in any game since the 2008 Capital One Bowl against Michigan.
The Gators ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense (13.0) entering play before coughing up 36 points against the Tigers.
Missouris 36 points were the most Florida has allowed in SEC play since giving up 41 against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., on Oct. 8, 2011.
The Tigers also snapped Floridas streak of 13 consecutive games allowing 20 points or fewer in conference play.
Florida ranked fourth in the nation, allowing only 83.3 yards rushing per game, but Missouri rolled up 205 yards on 37 carries.
Josey, a junior tailback who returned this season after missing nearly two years following a torn ACL, finished with 18 carries for 136 yards, which is the most yards the Gators have allowed this season.
The last time Floridas defense allowed more yards to a running back, Trent Richardson totaled 29 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-10 Alabama win Oct. 1, 2011.
The Gators had ranked third in the nation, allowing only 152 passing yards per game, but redshirt freshman Maty Mauk totaled 295 yards through the air.
Florida hadnt given up more than 200 yards passing to an SEC quarterback since James Franklins 236-yard performance in a 14-7 loss in Gainesville last year.
Vanderbilts Jordan Rodgers threw for 297 yards in a 26-21 loss at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Nov. 5, 2011, the last time somebody torched the Gators for as many yards as Mauk.
Florida ranked second in the nation in pass efficiency defense (85.52), but Mauk posted a 122.4 passer efficiency rating.
The Gators were tied for 13th in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score only 69.2 percent of the time, but the Tigers went six for six scoring in the red zone.
Florida also led the nation in average time of possession (37:04), but had the ball for only 29:18 compared to 30:42 for Missouri.
The Gators have allowed only 84 first downs on the season, an average of 14 per game, but the Tigers racked up 24 first downs in its win.
Florida was allowing 3.2 yards per rush, but Missouri was averaging 5.5 yards.
The Gators were giving up 5.0 yards per pass attempt and 10.6 yards per completion, but the Tigers hit them for 8.2 and 16.4, respectively.
Opponents were only averaging 4.2 yards per play against Florida, but Missouri averaged 6.8 yards per snap.
Now, of course, the Tigers have vaulted into the top five in the nation, so the scrutiny becomes more intense and each game matters more.
Missouri are legitimate national championship contenders the way its offense and defense, which allowed 81 yards on 54 plays aside from one third-quarter scoring drive, are playing at the moment.
Our challenge is going to be able to handle whats going to happen to us and be able to get back to the grind and focus on what we need to be able to focus on to get better, Pinkel said. Ill look to the seniors for leadership on that.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.