0 with win over Missouri Tigers
find n savekudzuauto tradervalpakpalm beach daily newsideabar digital servicesWill Grier 7 of the Florida Gators drops back for a pass against the Missouri Tigers in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
But it’s becoming more than a mantra just six games into the McElwain era. It’s becoming a reality.
The No. 11 Gators took another step forward in their attempt to “restore the order” with a 21 3 road victory over Missouri (4 2, 1 2 SEC) on Saturday, earning revenge against a Tigers team that outscored them 78 30 over the past two seasons.
The win over the back to back SEC East champs moves Florida to 6 0 for the first time since 2012 and just the second time since 2010.cheap nfl jerseys
Running back Kelvin Taylor 21 of the Florida Gators is lifted into the air after scoring a touchdown against the Missouri Tigers in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
“I would think you’d be kind of excited writing about how good we are right now,” McElwain said in his post game press conference. “That’s pretty cool, isn’t it? I mean what the heck? Let’s have a little fun.”
Florida, which has not played in the SEC championship game since 2009, is also now in control of the SEC East as the only undefeated team left in the division. Kentucky is the closest to the Gators in the standings as the only other team in the division with one conference loss, but Florida owns the tiebreaker with a win over the Wildcats earlier this season.
For the first time in a long time, the Gators’ offense started fast.
Florida began the game with a 12 play, 75 yard drive that ended with a 1 yard rushing touchdown from running back Kelvin Taylor to build a quick 7 0 lead. It marked the Gators’ first touchdown on an opening possession since Nov. 16, 2013 against South Carolina.
It was the start of a strong night for Taylor. The former Glades Day star ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
Taylor scored his second touchdown on another 1 yard run to send the Gators into halftime with a 14 3 lead.
But after totaling 245 yards in the first half, Florida’s offense slowed down. Missouri, which entered the contest with the SEC’s top defense yardage and scoring wise, held the Gators to just 92 yards over the final two quarters.
“After the first couple drives, I was like ‘OK. We’re kind of hitting it,'” McElwain said. “And then all of a sudden, we hit a quick lull. I’ve got to challenge our guys up front and we’ve got to dominate the line of scrimmage. We’ll see how it goes, but we need to get a lot better offensively.”
Constant pressure bumped quarterback Will Grier off his rhythm, as Florida’s redshirt freshman took a small step back after turning in the best performance of his collegiate career against Ole Miss last week. But Grier was still solid, as he finished 20 of 33 for 208 yards and no interceptions.
“I thought he got spooked,” McElwain said of Grier. “I thought he saw some ghosts. I didn’t think he played very good, but he played great because he didn’t throw it to their colored jerseys, and that’s important. But he’s a redshirt freshman learning how to play the game.”
As usual, the Gators’ defense was there to pick the offense up.
Missouri was limited to 257 yards and converted just 1 of 14 third down attempts in the contest.
Florida forced Missouri freshman quarterback Drew Lock into two interceptions one from cornerback Jalen Tabor and another from safety Marcus Maye. Tabor took his interception 40 yards for his second pick six of the season, increasing the Gators’ lead to 21 3 in the third quarter.