Florida Gators Suffer Fourth-Straight Loss After Getting Throttled By Missouri 45-16
By Chris Harry, Senior Writer, Florida Gators // November 4, 2017
COLUMBIA, MISSOURI (Florida Gators) – Florida arrived here in search of a new beginning after an 0-3 October and the departure of ex-head coach Jim McElwain.
Instead, November started the way October ended for the Gators: with a lopsided loss.
Missouri (4-5, 1-4) ran out to an early lead and never looked back on the way to a 45-16 victory at Memorial Stadium. The Gators (3-5, 3-4) dropped their fourth consecutive Southeastern Conference game as the Tigers rolled to 455 total yards.
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WHAT IT MEANS: The season has spiraled out of control and looks more and more like 2013 when injuries decimated the program and the Gators dropped their final seven regular-season games to finish with a losing record for the first time in 34 years. The Gators lost starting left guard Brett Heggie to a left knee injury in the first half Saturday, the latest blow to a team that can’t afford any more punches to the gut. Florida has lost four consecutive games and is in danger of missing out on a bowl game for the second time in five seasons.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire made his first start for the Gators. Zaire made some plays, missed some plays, but it was Missouri’s offense and Florida’s lack of defense that was the story of this game. Zaire finished 13 of 19 for 158 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Zaire’s best throw of the game was a 43-yard touchdown pass to Tyrie Cleveland that was negated due to a holding penalty on Martez Ivey.
STAGGERING STATISTIC: The Gators have been outscored 87-23 the past two weeks, losing 42-7 to Georgia and 45-16 to Missouri. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the back-to-back losses mark the first time since the 1917 season the Gators have allowed 42 or more points in consecutive games. (Three straight from Nov. 3-29, 1917).
SUBPLOT: Midseason coaching changes are always difficult, but some teams respond positively and play with a renewed sense of purpose. That was not the case Saturday for the Gators in their first game under interim head coach Randy Shannon. The Gators fell behind 14-0 early and never threatened Missouri’s lead, mustering only three field goals from Eddy Pineiro until Lamical Perine caught a 16-yard touchdown from Feleipe Franks with 5 minutes, 34 seconds left in the game.
UP NEXT: The Gators are back in Columbia next weekend, but this time the one in South Carolina. Florida travels to face the Gamecocks in their final SEC game of the season.
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