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Florida vs. Missouri: Previewing a matchup of strength on strength

The Gators’ offense meets an aggressive Missouri defense on Saturday.

Missouri v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

A lot of plans, including those of yours truly, had to be altered last week due to Hurricane Ian. The Gators were not spared as they had to push their game back a day and play on a Sunday for only the second time in program history. While Florida waited to play their next opponent almost pulled off the upset of the season.

The Missouri Tigers took the Georgia Bulldogs to the brink last Saturday but they were unable to finish. A similar story played out for them against Auburn the previous week. Mizzou had multiple chances to win the game and couldn’t make it stick. The Tigers have another chance to pull an upset as they come into Gainesville as a double digit underdog.

Let’s see what the numbers say about this Saturday’s matchup.

Florida vs. Missouri Statistical Comparison

Team Florida Gators Missouri Tigers
Team Florida Gators Missouri Tigers
Category Number Rank Number Rank
YPP Offense 7.41 4 5.61 87
YPP Defense 5.82 97 5.02 39
Available Yards % O 55.40% 32 36.10% 107
Available Yards % D 60.10% 120 36.70% 15
Third Downs O 42.11% 53 33.33% 109
Third Downs D 50.00% 127 27.40% 12
Explosive Plays O 32 12 24 54
Explosive Plays D 24 87 21 68
Turnover Margin 0 60 -1 79
Player Average Rank Player Average Rank
Team Talent Composite 89.86 12 86.91 31

This certainly looks to be a matchup where you will see strength versus strength when the Florida offense and the Missouri defense square off. Conversely, the statistically weaker units will face off when Missouri has the ball.

Schemes We Might See

Defensively, Florida has struggled this season against mobile quarterbacks. Brady Cook is not an elite athlete, but he can make you pay with his legs. After watching him a little, I think he prefers to take off when things get cloudy rather than staying in the pocket.

Missouri has not been great throwing the ball this season, though, and I’d be really interested to see if Florida stays controlled in their rush lanes and forces Cook to win from the pocket on standard downs. On passing downs, especially third and longs, I think Florida can bring some pressure and get Cook to pull his eyes down, resulting in sacks or minimal gains.

On the offensive side of the ball, Florida must plan for Missouri’s aggressive defense. The Tigers have been somewhat boom-or-bust this season, and that may be by design. Above you can see that they have allowed 21 plays of 20+ yards this season. However, they are seventh in the country in percentage of opponents’ drives that go for zero or negative yards.

The aggressiveness cuts both ways.

If the Gators can hit some screens, some man-beating crossers, or other quick passing concepts they may be able to generate a lot of explosives. Also, the Florida offensive line will likely have to do a better job at picking up twists and exotic pressures than they did against Kentucky earlier this season.

To get a quick overview of Missouri’s offensive and defensive schemes, check out the video below.

Looking at the numbers, this seems like it’s going to be a tight game. However, the line has been climbing this week. Florida will have the homecoming crowd behind them and Missouri may be in for an emotional letdown after two straight heart breakers. If Florida plays clean, they should win the game.