On the night Missouri honored the late Aaron O’Neal with a video montage during the first half, the player who now wears his number recorded a key third-quarter sack.
Junior Donavin Newsom — who played at O’Neal’s alma mater, Parkway North in St. Louis, and now wears his jersey number, 25 — swallowed up Florida redshirt freshman Will Grier for a 10-yard loss on first down.
O’Neal died in July 2015 during a voluntary workout. His death was attributed to complications from his sickle-cell condition, which has been linked to heat stroke and exercise-induced collapse.
“That was a really difficult time for all of us here,” MU coach Gary Pinkel said. “It’s even hard to describe how devastating that was certainly to me and our team. I’m glad we got to honor him.”
Missouri honored O’Neal’s father, Lonnie, and other family members on the field after the minute-long tribute video.
The family settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with MU in 2009.
Beckner secures first sack
On the second play of Florida’s opening drive in the second half, Missouri freshman defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. was credited with his first career sack.
He knocked down Grier for a 1-yard loss that helped lead to a Gators punt.
Crawford’s play limited
Sophomore right tackle Nate Crawford played, but he split reps with senior Taylor Chappell.
Crawford sat out against South Carolina because of a sprained ankle, but he returned to practice and gutted his way through against Florida.
That left senior Brad McNulty and sophomore Alec Abeln to rotate at left guard.