The Florida Gators are coming off their first blowout win of the season against Eastern Washington by a score of 52-17. However, the Gators return to SEC play on Saturday for a noon kickoff in The Swamp for homecoming against Missouri. The Missouri game starts a tough SEC stretch for the Gators, and it will not get any easier because the Tigers have had Florida's number since joining the SEC back in 2012. Missouri comes into Saturday's game after having played Georgia to the final whistle, and I think the Tigers would have won the game if they had not kicked field goals throughout the game. The Florida and Missouri series goes back to the 1960s, with some good and bad games that many Florida fans including myself would love to forget.
1966: The 1966 Sugar Bowl was the first meeting between the Gators and the Tigers, and it featured Heisman Trophy-winning Gator quarterback Steve Spurrier. Ray Graves coached Florida, and Dan Devine coached Missouri. If you've seen Rudy, you'll know the name. Florida fell short to the Tigers 20-18, but Steve Spurrier still went on to be the MVP of the game despite the loss.
2012: Florida and Missouri would not meet again until the 2012 season. Will Muschamp coached the Gators, and things seemed to be going well for the Gators a week after losing to Georgia in Jacksonville. This was Missouri's first season in the SEC, and they were looking to come into The Swamp looking for an upset. Florida held off Missouri in a defensive struggle with a 14-7 win in Gainesville.
2013: This would be Florida's first-ever trip to Columbia, and the season was hitting rock bottom. Missouri was flying high as they were riding on top of the SEC East despite losing to Georgia. The 2013 Gators were hit hard with injuries early in the season and could not keep up with Missouri as the Tigers pulled away with a 36-17 win.
2014: Missouri came to The Swamp for a night game, and the head coach Will Muschamp was walking on eggshells already. The Tigers had set the tone for the evening after running the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, and the Gators never recovered after that. I will never forget The Swamp chanting "FIRE MUSCHAMP," and it was officially the end for Will Muschamp. Missouri won big, though, 42-13, and this is the one that I would love to forget the most in the UF-Missouri series.
2015: Jim McElwain had the Gators heading in the right direction in 2015. Florida came into the Missouri game on top of the SEC East with an undefeated record and Will Grier at quarterback. Grier had been so productive for the Gators coming into the Missouri game with breakout performances against Tennessee and Ole Miss. The Gators got the job done against the Tigers on a Saturday Night in Columbia with a 21-3 victory.
2016: Florida came into the 2016 matchup with no identity at quarterback. The Gators lost at Tennessee earlier in the season, and Luke Del Rio, who seemed to be the guy, had battled injuries. Senior transfer quarterback Austin Appleby had carried the Gators coming into the Missouri game, but Luke Del Rio started the game. Cornerbacks Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson would have pick-sixes in this game, and Antonio Callaway would recover an onside kick for a touchdown. Florida beat Missouri by a score of 40-14.
2017: The 2017 meeting between the Gators and the Tigers was not even close. Florida had hit rock bottom early in the season as Jim McElwain was fired after the loss in Jacksonville to Georgia. Randy Shannon, who was known as one of the best recruiters in the state of Florida, was hired as the Gators interim head coach. Mizzou blew out the Gators 45-16.
2018: Dan Mullen was in his first season as the head coach of the Gators. Again the Gators were coming off of a loss in Jacksonville to Georgia, and I guess it was hard for them to get up for Missouri. Felipe Franks was pulled in the second half, and Kyle Trask would give the Gators a spark, but it wasn't enough as Missouri held off the Gators 38-17.
2019: Florida came into Missouri knowing they weren't going to Atlanta as they already had two conference losses to LSU and Georgia. Kyle Trask threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns, and the Gators held off Missouri 23-6 in Columbia.
2020: The Gators brought out the vintage uniforms for the homecoming meeting against Mizzou, and this game was one to remember. A fight broke out before the half, and Dan Mullen showed up in a Darth Vader costume to the post-game. Kyle Trask threw four touchdowns for 341 yards, and Kadarius Toney scored two touchdowns, but Kyle Pitts led the Gators in receiving but no touchdowns. Florida cruised past Missouri 41-17.
2021: Florida came into the 2021 matchup trying to get bowl eligible. Dan Mullen was also coaching for his job, and it just seemed like he had already checked out before this game. Mullen had fired his longtime defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and his longtime offensive line coach John Hevesy after the embarrassing performance against South Carolina. The Gators had outplayed Missouri throughout the game, but the Tigers kept finding ways to stick around. Missouri would find a way to win in overtime after making a two-point conversion to win 24-23. Dan Mullen was fired as the Gators head coach the next day.
Florida is 0-2 in the SEC for the first time since 1986 and would want to avoid going 0-3 in the conference for the first time since that 1986 season. Missouri is a beatable football team, and after seeing what they can do against Georgia, the Gators better have their minds right. Anthony Richardson seems to have his mojo back after his performances against Tennessee and Eastern Washington. I know it was Eastern Washington, but that was a great tune-up game to get back on the winning side and for them to get back into SEC play.
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