They say it's "great to be a Florida Gator!" That's true right now as UF is the only SEC East team without a loss. No.11 Florida is a 5.5-point NCAAF odds favorite for Saturday's game at Missouri.
Grier Shines Despite Flu
I know a lot of University of Florida graduates and fans. And let me tell you that most weren't all that happy when the school hired Colorado State's Jim McElwain as the team's head coach to replace Will Muschamp. But it's working out pretty well so far.
The Gators opened the season unranked but skyrocketed up to No. 11 this week following a thoroughly impressive 38-10 win over visiting and No. 3 Ole Miss on Saturday. It was the Gators' first win over a team ranked in the top three since a victory over Cincinnati in the 2010 Sugar Bowl. Florida’s 38 points were its most vs. a top three opponent since the Gators tallied 41 against No. 1 Ohio State in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game.
Redshirt freshman Will Grier, playing through the flu, was terrific in the win, completing 24 of 29 passes for 271 yards and four first-half touchdowns. His pass efficiency rating of 206.8 was the best against Ole Miss of any opposing quarterback since 2012. Grier was so sick on Thursday that McElwain started thinking he might have to start backup Treon Harris. Grier’s 10 touchdown passes are the most for a UF quarterback since Jeff Driskel threw 12 in 2012.
Florida forced four turnovers (three fumbles, one interception), which led directly to 17 points. Star linebacker Antonio Morrison was everywhere against the Rebels, finishing with 16 tackles, including 3.5 for loss and a half sacks. He was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. The Gators sacked Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly four times, the fourth consecutive game UF has recorded three or more sacks. The Gators had not done that since a five-game stretch six years ago.
Coupled with the Georgia loss Saturday to Alabama, Florida is now 5-0 and sitting atop the SEC East. That jump of 14 spots in the Associated Press poll ties for the third-largest move in one week during the history of the poll, which began in 1936. Michigan State rose 17 spots in 1950. Arizona and TCU each moved 16 spots last season. It is the Gators' highest ranking since Week 1 of 2013. Until last week, Florida had been unranked by the AP for 25 weeks during the regular season, the longest stretch for the program since a 32-week drought that stretched from Nov. 5, 1977 to Oct. 4, 1980.
Florida is 4-1 against the spread this season on college football odds and 3-2 'over/under.'
Freshman Gets Call Again For Tigers
Missouri, the two-time defending East Division champion, bounced back from a surprising loss at Kentucky with a 24-10 win over South Carolina on Saturday. Starting quarterback Maty Mauk was suspended for that game. True freshman Drew Lock got the start and Lock completed 21 of 28 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Lock was the first freshman quarterback to start for Missouri since Corby Jones in 1995. The Tigers totaled a season-high 163 yards on the ground, including a career-best 98 yards from sophomore Ish Witter.
And it appears the job could be Lock's going forward as Mauk will remain suspended for at least this game. The only thing that has been said is that Mauk violated team rules. He won't even suit up for the homecoming matchup. The Tigers are 21-5 when the junior quarterback starts in his career. Mauk had been inconsistent in his four starts this season, completing 51.8 percent of his passes for 654 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Tigers are 1-4 ATS on college football picks and 0-5 O/U.
Missouri won in Gainesville 42-13 last year in a really odd game. The Tigers had only seven first downs and 119 yards of total offense. Mauk was 6-for-18 for 20 yards with a pick. But Mizzou scored on a kickoff return, a punt return, a fumble return and an interception return. The higher-ranked squad has won each game in the series history (five games), except last season when neither school was ranked.
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