COMING THIS WEEK
Florida (8-2, 5-2) probably won’t wrestle the SEC East Division out of Georgia’s grasp this year, but the Gators are back among the nationally relevant programs under Dan Mullen, whose 18 wins the last two seasons are the most of any second-year FBS head coach. Mullen, a consistent winner for nearly a decade at Mississippi State, has since turned an underachieving Florida program into an SEC contender and should have the Gators in position for another New Year’s Six bowl this season. Florida’s only losses have come against Louisiana State and Georgia. After losing to the Bulldogs in Jacksonville, Fla., two weeks ago, the Gators took out their frustrations on Vanderbilt with a 56-0 pounding on Saturday. Mullen is known for offense, but UF’s defense is among the nation’s best. The Gators rank third nationally with 21 takeaways and lead the SEC in sacks (35) and tackles for loss (69).
PLAYER TO WATCH
Kyle Trask wasn’t supposed to be the quarterback leading the Gators toward another 10-win campaign, but he’s been the steady leader of Mullen’s offense since Feleipe Franks suffered a season-ending leg injury in UF’s third game. Since taking over in the fourth quarter against Kentucky on Sept. 14, Trask has completed nearly 67% of his passes for 1,971 yards and 18 touchdowns. Trask’s 363 passing yards against Vanderbilt were the most for a Florida quarterback since Tim Tebow threw for 482 in his final college game, the 2010 Sugar Bowl.
HE SAID IT
“Missouri’s a very different team at home and on the road. I can’t tell you why. I’m sure you have to ask Barry (Odom) why maybe that is. But we’re playing them at their place and we have to to deal with the good side of things. They’re averaging over 40 points a game at home. They’re undefeated at home and I think they’ve just about blown out everybody that’s come in there to play at their place.” — Mullen on Missouri
For Florida, defensive end Jabari Zuniga (ankle) and right guard Brett Heggie (headaches) both missed last week’s game against Vanderbilt but could return Saturday. Safety Brad Stewart Jr. (knee) left the Vandy game with an injury but is expected to return. Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant (hamstring) is expected to start, but slot receiver Jonathan Johnson (shoulder) is considered day to day.
Missouri has won four of the last six meetings with the Gators and leads the all-time series 5-3. The Tigers stunned Mullen’s team 38-17 last year in Gainesville, Fla., and hammered the Gators two years ago in Columbia 45-16. Mizzou is 2-1 against Florida at home, including 36-17 win in 2013. The only meeting between the two teams outside of the SEC was the 1966 Sugar Bowl, a 20-18 Mizzou victory.