In his first career start, RSF QB Maty Mauk completed his first two passes, the second of which went for his first career TD pass to put Missouri ahead to stay just 22 seconds in.
“That’s not bad,” said Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel, regarding Mauk’s debut. “He’s a great competitor. Sometimes he tries to make too many things happen. But he’ll learn through that. I couldn’t be more pleased………………………………. The people around him have to play well, and I think we did. But it’s really nice to see your back-up quarterback come in and play at that kind of a level against that kind of a team.”
Missouri dominated the line of scrimmage and the football game on both sides of the football. Missouri rolled up 500 yards on offense to just 151 yards of offense for Florida. Henry Josey rushed for 136 yards and 1 TD on 18 carries, and Mauk finished 18-36-1 for 295 yards and 1 TD passing, while spreading the ball around to 6 different Missouri receivers.
The Missouri defense shut down Florida’s run game and harassed Florida QB Tyler Murphy with constant pressure, registering 6 sacks and 8 QB hurries, and forcing Murphy into 1 interception, in addition to twice forcing him to cough up the football when he was sacked.
“We’ve got a lot of playmakers,” said Coach Pinkel with a laugh. “Everybody jumped in to make plays.”
On Missouri’s very first play from scrimmage, Mauk found L’Damian Washington down the right sideline for 41 yards. Florida safety Cody Riggs was flagged for targeting and ejected. That set up a first down at the Florida 20-yard line, and Mauk immediately connected with Bud Sasser in the left side of the end zone to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 14-38 remaining in the 1st quarter.
After the Missouri defense held Florida to a three-and-out, Marcus Murphy muffed a punt that the Gators recovered at the Missouri 24-yard line. The Gators got it down to the 6-yard line before the Missouri defense stiffened, and Florida settled for a 23-yard field goal to make it Missouri 7, Florida 3, with 11:09 remaining in the 1st quarter.
Neither team would dent the end zone again in the first half, although Missouri definitely had the better of it, as the Tigers out-gained Florida 200 yards to 61 yards of total offense in the first half.
Each team had 2 first-half turnovers, and Missouri added pair of Andrew Baggett field goals, as the Tigers went to the locker room with a 13-3 halftime lead.
In his first career start, freshman corner Aarion Penton had come up with a first-half interception, and Missouri had registered 3 sacks before halftime.
After all the talk about Florida’s vaunted defense, it was the Missouri defense that had dominated the first half, and would continue to dominate the game.
The second half got underway with a bang! Florida’s Solomon Patton brought the opening kick-off back 100 yards for a TD to cut Missouri’s lead to 13-10.
Then, Mauk and the Tigers answered with a 5-play, 75-yard drive scoring drive that was highlighted by a 52-yard pass completion from Mauk to Jimmie Hunt, and capped off by a 6-yard TD run by Henry Josey, to put Missouri ahead 20-10 with 13:24 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
In the middle of the 3rd quarter, Mauk drove the Tigers 59 yards in 7 plays for a 39-yard field goal to extend Missouri’s lead to 23-10, with 6:40 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Near the end of the 3rd quarter, Florida true freshman RB Kelvin Taylor rushed for 52 yards on 5 carries of a 6-play 70-yard drive that he capped off by scoring from 20 yards out to cut Missouri’s lead to 23-17 with 0:46 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
But, Missouri responded, and really just owned the 4th quarter, as the Tigers outscored Florida 13-0 to close out the win. With Missouri up 29-17, Shane Ray sacked Murphy, and forced a fumble that was recovered by Harold Brantley at the Florida 7-yard line. After a holding penalty moved Missouri back 10 yards, Mauk scored on a scramble to put the final nail in the Gators’ coffin, as Missouri led 36-17, with 6:30 remaining in the game.
“What I’m excited about is that (this team) is just so driven,” said Coach Pinkel, speaking about his 7-0 Tigers. “And, they play so hard and compete so well. You know, guys that compete like that and bring it every single Saturday, boy, you’ve got a chance to be really good!”