It wasn’t pretty, but thanks to a 14-7 win over Missouri, Florida is still alive in the SEC East title chase.
For the Gators, their fate in the division could ultimately come down to what happens this afternoon when Ole Miss visits Georgia. With the ‘Dawgs holding a tiebreaker lead over the Gators, Florida needs Georgia to lose either this afternoon or next week at Auburn.
Of course, it almost didn’t matter thanks to a sloppy effort against Missouri.
Clearly hungover after last week’s disappointing loss to Georgia in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, Florida fell behind 7-0 to hopeless Missouri, a club that just won its first game as a member of the SEC against Kentucky last week. But after a disappointing first half, the Gators bounced back with 14 unanswered points to take a 14-7 lead. Their defense did the rest from there, sealing the victory.
The big play came early in the third, and came courtesy of Florida’s best player, running back Mike Gillislee. With the score tied up at 7-7 and after another touchdown had previously been called back, Gillislee put the final nail in the coffin of Missouri. On second-and-long, Gillislee caught a short Jeff Driskel pass and took it 45 yards for the score. It gave Florida a lead that it would never relinquish. From there, the Gators’ defense did the rest. Jon Bostic and Josh Evans had a pair of interceptions to seal the victory.
And now for the Gators, all they can do is sit back and hope that Georgia gets tripped up in one of its next two games. With the victory, the Gators officially ended their SEC season on Saturday at 7-1 in league play, and now will close with out of conference games against Louisiana-Lafayette, Jacksonville State and Florida State later this month. Regardless of what happens in those final three games, the only way Florida can get to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game is with a Georgia loss.
Meanwhile, it was another disappointing defeat for Missouri, which has quickly come to realize that life in the SEC isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The Tigers are now 1-5 in league play, and at 4-5 overall, they will need to win two out of their last three against Tennessee, Syracuse and Texas A&M to get bowl eligible.
Should Missouri miss out on a bowl game, it would be the first time since 2004 that they did not qualify for the postseason.