The Tigers even won with style.
Coach Gary Pinkel’s squad delivering a 42-13 thumping Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium that might have sealed Will Muschamp’s fate as Florida’s coach.
That’s important to remember, because it was a great rebound win for Pinkel, his staff and players after a 34-0 home loss against Georgia the previous week.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
“First of all, I’m really proud of our football team, bouncing back after a very difficult loss a week ago,” Pinkel said. “We were in a very difficult place to play, so you’re just proud of your players and your staff for how hard they work and the mental toughness that it takes to do that.”
Pinkel should be proud, but it’s not all gravy.
Missouri’s offense remained bogged down at the Swamp — and spectacularly so.
The Tigers followed up a gut-wrenching 147-yard offensive performance against the Bulldogs, third-worst since Pinkel took over in 2001, with an even more dour showing statistically at Florida.
Missouri managed on 119 total yards on offense, including a rush for minus-2 on the kneel down at the end.
It’s the fewest yards in program history on Pinkel’s watch.
During a disappointing 2012 season, the Tigers managed only 129 total yards in a 42-10 loss against Alabama in 2012, but even that team — which 5-7 and ended a run of seven straight bowl appearances — had at least 255 yards in every other game that season.
Missouri never had fewer than 375 yards in any game last season.
Quarterback Maty Mauk’s six completions represent the fewest completions in any game under Pinkel.
In the last two games, Missouri has completed 15 passes.
The Tigers’ offense only completed fewer than 15 passes in a single game twice last season and both were games Mauk started in place of James Franklin (10 vs. South Carolina; 12 vs. Tennessee).
It only happened twice in 2012 for that matter (14 vs. Vanderbilt; 12 vs. Alabama).
The good news: Missouri is now 1-6 all-time under Pinkel when generated fewer than 200 yards of total offense.
“I think there was a little frustration from our offensive players, because they want to fire it downfield and I think we need to do more of that,” Pinkel said. “I’m taking the responsibility for that. We were ultraconservative and that was because of me.”
Pinkel was adamant that much of the offense’s struggles stemmed from his decision to shut things down with special teams and the defense scoring four touchdowns and turnovers setting up another 10 points.
There’s some validity to that.
Missouri ran 13 plays — two of them incomplete passes and another a kneel down to end the game — in the second half.
Still, Missouri only had 99 yards at halftime and Mauk finished six of 18 for only 20 yards with no completions in the second half.
It’s been 15 years since the Tigers had six completions in a game and 17 seasons since being limited to 20 passing yards or less.
The only thing for the offense to hang its hat on was an 18-play, 55-yard drive in the first half that netted a field, but it’s better than nothing.
“This was an unbelievable win, but there’s certain things you need to fix and focus on,” senior left tackle Mitch Morse said. “That’s what we’re going to do this week, especially as an offense. … There were parts of the game where our offense was clicking and there’s definitely things we need to fix. We’re not going to be complacent at all as an offensive unit.”