GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida's defense intercepted a season-high four of Missouri quarterback James Franklin's passes and the Gators managed to scrounge up just enough offense to hold off the upset-minded Tigers, 14-7, on Saturday. The tense game wasn't decided until the final seconds. Missouri (4-5, 1-5 SEC) actually shut Florida out for a half, extending UF's streak to six quarters without a touchdown. Florida (8-1, 7-1) had a pair of big offensive plays to take the lead and Matt Elam and Jon Bostic killed a couple of late drive attempts by the Tigers. The Gators' Brad Phillips, kicking in place of injured Caleb Sturgis, kept things interesting by missing a 24-yard field goal that would have locked the game up with less than 2 minutes to play. Mistakes, once again, caused Florida fits. Missouri linebacker Donovan Bonner forced the ball loose from Gators running back Mike Gillislee and Tigers defensive back E.J. Gaines recovered at the Florida 27 in the second quarter. It was the 27th straight game in which Missouri has forced a turnover. It was also the continuation of UF's turnover woes, giving the ball away six times in last week's 17-9 loss to Georgia in a game that could have clinched the SEC East for the Gators. Franklin completed passes of 13 and 9 yards to get the ball to the Florida 6. Kendial Lawrence then carried the ball three straight times, the last for a 1-yard TD. It was the first touchdown the Gators' have allowed at home against an SEC opponent in four games this season. The Gators could have taken the lead first but Sturgis's 47-yard field goal try was blocked by Missouri's Sheldon Richardson. It was his third miss in 18 attempts this season for Sturgis. Missouri's 7-0 halftime lead was just the second time this season Florida failed to score in the first half. LSU led the Gators 6-0 on Oct. 6. It also ran UF's streak of not scoring a touchdown to six quarters. Florida had another poor opening half trying to move the football with just 111 offensive yards, 54 rushing. But the Gators finally found a little bit of offense in the third quarter. After punter Kyle Christy pinned Missouri at its 3, the Tigers had to punt from there. The Gators got the ball at the Missouri 40. On second down, UF went into the Wildcat formation and Omarius Hines took the ball on an end around and scored from 36 yards out. Florida also had a go-ahead score wiped away when Jeff Driskel's 45-yard touchdown pass to Frankie Hammond on the second play of the fourth quarter was called back on a holding call. But the Gators came back with another big play. Driskel hit Gilislee on the short pass that he turned into a 45-yard score. It was Gilislee's first touchdown reception of the season. Florida then fought off Franklin and Missouri for the rest of the game. The Tigers got the ball to the Florida 21 with 16 seconds left. Franklin threw incomplete in the end zone on third down and was picked off in the end zone by Josh Evans with 5 seconds to play. Notes: Linebacker Lerentee McCray (ankle), receiver/return man Andre Debose (leg) and offensive tackle Xaiver Knee (knee) did not dress for Saturday's game. ... The game was nowhere near a sellout with thousands of empty seats. UF announces tickets distributed, not actual in-house attendance. ... Jaylen Watkins had his team-best third interception of the season in the second quarter. ... Missouri offensive lineman Justin Britt left the game in the first half with a knee sprain.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football