Gators look for payback against visiting Tigers
Missouri (4-4, 0-4 SEC) lost a heartbreaker to Kentucky 15-14 when the Wildcats scored on the last play to win the game. Meanwhile, after Florida (6-2, 4-2) drew within a point in the third quarter, the Georgia Bulldogs pulled away for a 36-17 victory in Jacksonville.
Missouri holds a 4-3 advantage in the series over Florida. In last year's matchup, the Tigers destroyed the Gators 45-16 in Columbia.
Missouri at Florida
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Spread: Florida -6
Three Things to Watch
1. Feleipe Franks
Franks was having a very good season entering the Florida-Georgia game. However, he had a rough outing against the Bulldogs last Saturday, accounting for two of the Gators' three turnovers with an interception and a fumble.
Franks also missed a wide-open Van Jefferson on a flea-flicker, which could have been the Gators' first touchdown.
"We've seen it in flashes with him in how he grows," Gators head coach Dan Mullen said. "I think he's grown with learning how to prepare within a game."
Franks is still having a decent season despite last weekend's hiccup against Georgia. He has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 16-to-6. He will definitely need to bounce back against Missouri.
2. Drew Lock
Last week, Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm picked apart Florida's defense, which is considered one of the best units in the country. Lock, who is a possible first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, hopes to do the same thing.
Lock has 16 touchdown passes in eight games, but only one during SEC play, that one coming in the Tigers' 39-10 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. He is lagging well behind last year's pace, when he threw 44 touchdown passes.
In last year's game against the Gators, Lock threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns in Missouri's 45-16 victory. Florida players distinctly remember the blowout loss, so they will be looking for revenge.
3. Gators' defense
Florida's defense led the way in the 27-19 win over LSU last month. However, it was that same defense that gave up 429 yards and 36 points to Georgia last week.
Despite the loss, the Gators still rank 20th nationally in scoring defense and 12th in pass defense, allowing just 170.1 passing yards per game. But the Florida defense will have its hands full against Lock and the Missouri offense. Don't be surprised to see the Gators try to generate pressure on Lock to force him to make mistakes.
Missouri is looking for its first SEC win of the 2018 season. After the game with the Gators on Saturday, it is likely that the search will continue.
While Florida's offense had a setback last weekend against Georgia, it is a much-improved unit over a season ago, when the Gators were destroyed by Missouri. While Drew Lock will likely throw for plenty of yards, the Florida's defense has enough playmakers to force a few turnovers.
The 2018 meeting between Missouri and Florida should be much different than the '17 game.
Prediction: Florida 31, Missouri 20
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.