The Missouri Tigers (4-2 overall, 1-1 in Southeastern Conference play) hit the road for a Saturday showdown in the Swamp, as they head to Gainesville, Fla., where they’ll take on the Florida Gators (3-2, 2-2). Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. (central time), with the game televised on ESPN2.
Mizzou is looking to bounce back from a tough outing, as the 13th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs came to Columbia, Mo. last Saturday and dealt the then 23rd-ranked Tigers a 34-0 loss. As the score would indicate, nothing much went Mizzou’s way in the ballgame, as MU was shutout for only the second time in Gary Pinkel’s tenure (2002 vs. Kansas State was the other). The Tigers turned the ball over five times (the most under Gary Pinkel), which hampered a respectable performance by Mizzou’s defense. Georgia had only 379 yards of offense, and had only one play from scrimmage over 15 yards all day long (an 18-yard run) despite running 87 snaps (to only 43 for MU).
The ball clearly wasn’t bouncing MU’s way on Saturday, as two of the Bulldogs’ interceptions came on passes that went through the hands of Tiger receivers. Additionally, Georgia fumbled two times, with the loose ball both times caroming directly to another Bulldog. A third potential fumble which was recovered by Mizzou deep in Bulldog territory, was wiped off by a kick-catch interference call on a Tiger punt.
Florida is also looking to rebound from a difficult loss, as the Gators are coming off a last-second 27-24 home loss to LSU last Saturday evening. The Gators drove to tie the game with a short field with 1:49 left in the game, and got the ball back near midfield with :54 seconds left, but a deflected pass three plays later was intercepted by LSU to set up a 50-yard game-winning field goal by the Tigers with just :03 seconds remaining. Three of Florida’s four SEC games this season have been decided by one score, as they have a 36-30 overtime home win over Kentucky, as well as a 10-9 road win at Tennessee, in addition to the slim defeat against LSU.
Mizzou is looking to continue the good mojo on the road that it has enjoyed recently, as the Tigers have won seven
consecutive away games heading into Saturday’s showdown at Florida. Mizzou went a sterling 5-0 on the road in 2013 (onthe way to a 12-2 overall record), and combined with a 49-24 win at Toledo in game #2 this year, followed by a dramatic 21-20 comeback win at South Carolina (erasing a 13-point deficit with just 7:25 left to play – tying for the biggest 4th-quarter comeback win in school history), Mizzou has won seven straight road games, and hasn’t lost since ending the 2012 season at Texas A&M.
No-one ever likes losing a ballgame, but there’s an old adage about how important it is to not let one loss get you beat twice. In other words, good teams find a way to learn from a loss, put it in the rearview mirror, and get back to their winning ways.
Gary Pinkel’s Tigers have shown good resiliency in recent years after suffering setbacks. Pinkel’s teams are 11-3 overall from 2011-present in the next game after a loss, including 7-2 in that scenario since joining the SEC in 2012.
Mizzou bounced back nicely earlier this year from a loss to Indiana, when the next week, they rallied for a dramatic 21-20 road win at South Carolina. In 2013, Mizzou lost only twice during a 12-2 championship season, but the Tigers kept the damage minimal, winning the next game both times. The 2012 squad was 4-2 in bounce-back opportunities, while the 2011 team was 4-1 overall in games following a defeat.
Mizzou’s Gold Rush game annually brings an electric atmosphere to Faurot Field, and No. 22 Florida felt that energy
as visitors to Columbia last season (Oct. 19, 2013). The Tigers improved to 7-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 67,124 with a 36-17 victory.
At the time, the 36 points were the most against a Florida team in league play since Oct. 8, 2011,
when LSU scored 41 in Baton Rouge. Mizzou also snapped UF’s streak of 13 consecutive games holding an SEC opponent to 20 points or fewer.