Defense gave up yards, not points, to Mizzou

Florida allowed James Franklin and the Missouri offense to put up 335 yards, with 236 coming through the air. The yardage was disappointing for the defense, but the Gators held Missouri to just seven points on the game. The number of yards was helped by the 86 offensive snaps the Tigers ran, but the Florida defense played well whenever Missouri was close to scoring.

"We gave up a little more yards than we wanted to in some spots, especially in the first half," Will Muschamp said. "(James Franklin's) legs hurt us. We went to more zone in the second half and were able to get more eyes on the ball and do a better job with our four-man rush. I think we wore them down a little bit as far as our up front."

Sharrif Floyd was an important part of wearing down the Missouri offensive line. He did it from the interior while leading the Gators with three tackles for a loss and adding a quarterback hurry. It's becoming a habit for Floyd. After moving back to his natural position at defensive tackle, he's having a strong junior year.

Floyd and safety Josh Evans split the defensive player of the game honors.

"Sharrif was very difficult to block inside in this ball game, and has been for most part of the season," Muschamp said. "He's playing his natural position inside. He's having a fantastic year."

Evans is putting together a strong year, too. After playing inconsistent throughout the 2011 season, the senior safety has become a trusted component against the run and the pass. He led the Gators with 12 tackles on Saturday against Missouri and added an interception on the final defensive play of the game to seal the victory.

His toughness and tackling ability are the two areas that have stuck out to Muschamp this season.

"He's playing really well," Muschamp said. "He's a guy that's improved his main coverage skills, his command of what we're doing and how we're doing. He's worked extremely hard in the offseason. He's really displayed good ball skills on the back end as far as playing the ball in the deep part of the field.

"I think he's tackled extremely well this year. We're going back and having a hard time finding where he's missed one, and generally when those guys missed one it's a big one. I think he's played really well. He's tackled well. Josh is a tough young man. He's a guy that will throw his eyes in there all the time."

It wasn't a strong day for the Florida offense. The Gators totaled 276 yards of offense and struggled to throw for just 106 yards of offense.

The Florida offense looked like it hit an explosive play in the passing game when Jeff Driskel threw a 43-yard touchdown to Frankie Hammond, but it was called back on a holding penalty. Two plays later, Hammond threw a key block on a screen play that scored Mike Gillislee from 45 yards out.

That's a big reason why Muschamp named him co-offensive player of the game.

Hunter Joyer was the other recipient for his blocking. Neither of the honorees were directly involved in the big plays, but they were both important. Joyer continues to have a strong sophomore season at fullback.

"Hunter Joyer is a guy that's had an outstanding year — very unsung, but blocks extremely well," Muschamp said. "A lot of the runs were springing because of him. He made a great block for Omarius (Hines on his touchdown run). But really, this is a season award for him. He had a really good game Saturday, but he's played consistently well all season for us.

Guard Jon Halapio and center Jonotthan Harrison split the scrap iron award that is given to the top blocker on the team.

The special teams player of the game award went to gunner Loucheiz Purifoy and Pop Saunders, who filled in as the punt returner with Andre Debose out.

INJURY REPORT: Backup running back Mack Brown (ankle) is questionable for the game on Saturday. Of all the players that were injured against Missouri or were held out of the game, Muschamp said he expected to have them all back.

It's a lengthy list that should return. Wide receiver Andre Debose (knee), kicker Caleb Sturgis (ankle), offensive lineman James Wilson (knee), offensive lineman Xavier Nixon (knee), linebacker Lerentee McCray (ankle), offensive lineman Jon Halapio (ankle) and safety Matt Elam (groin) are all expected back.

"They will be in the training room today," Muschamp said. "They are all expected to practice tomorrow based on the information I had today. Some of it will be full practice, some may not be as much, but I expect all of those guys to be back on the practice field tomorrow and we'll see how much they can do as we move forward in the week."

LOOKING AT LOUISIANA: The Gators are now preparing for homecoming week in Gainesville as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns come to town. It's an important weekend for the program, as Muschamp plans to have former Florida players speak to the team throughout the week.

On the field, there will be a bigger challenge than a normal homecoming matchup. The Ragin' Cajuns are 5-3 with a 3-2 record in Sun Belt play this season.

Mark Hudspeth, who has become a hot name in coaching circle, leads Louisiana. When Muschamp was the defensive coordinator at Valdosta State, he went up against Hudspeth, who was the offensive coordinator at Delta State.

"He does a great job offensively," Muschamp said. "They're averaging 35 points a game and 435 yards. It's a spread offense. They do a good job of the quarterback as far as some of the gun runs that they employ and they got a lot of speed at the skill positions. They've moved the ball vs. everybody they've played."

On defense, Louisiana is giving up 28.2 points and 433.2 yards per game. They've forced 12 turnovers in eight games this season.

"Greg Stewart is the defensive coordinator," Muschamp said. "He's a really good friend of mine and a guy that does an outstanding job. He was at Jacksonville State for a lot of years and has been with Mark the last two years down in Lafayette."

Now Playing
Scout 100 WR Copeland Returns to UF
1:21
Scout 100 WR Jerry Jeudy to Announce Thursday
East ScoutCast: Upcoming Commits, Team Views
0:42
Florida Is a 'Top' Option for Judge Culpepper
0:44
Scout 300 CB Enjoys UF Visit; Set to Decide

Fightin Gators Top Stories