Two teams with identical 5-5 records meet on Saturday in Columbia, MO, as the Florida Gators travel to face the Missouri Tigers. Here are the three keys for the Tigers.
By Steve Wright
1 – Tyler Badie is on fire
The Mizzou running game has been hit or miss this season, but lead-back Tyler Badie is ripping teams to pieces when he is on. He has rushed for over 200 yards in three of his last five games – the outliers being the outstanding run defense of Georgia and Texas A&M. Florida is not an elite run defense. They aren’t even a good run defense as they are 78th in the country giving up 157 yards per game. South Carolina has a better run defense than Florida and Badie ripped them for 209 yards and a touchdown at 6.1 yards per carry. Establish Badie early and ride him to a win.
2 – Keep the run D improvement
There was a point in the season where anyone could roll up and expect to hit 250 yards rushing on the ground against Mizzou. That, however, has changed over the last few weeks. Georgia didn’t see any of their backs hit 100 yards as the Tigers played stubborn defense, while a South Carolina running game that is – on paper at least – as good as any in the league, went for just 57 yards last time out. Florida averages 227 yards on the ground per game, Mizzou has to hold them to the 175 range to have a shot.
3 – Win on third down
This is going to be a shootout. Both teams will score plenty of points – even with quarterback Connor Bazelak a little banged up – and both will be prepared during the week for this to be a track meet. Florida may have given up 56 points to Samford, but the offense in the second half was lights out good as the Gators hit 70. This game will come down to a few third-down situations and Mizzou has to win more of those than it loses.