GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- GatorBait.net stops to take a closer look at what happened in Florida's 14-7 win over Missouri on the game tape. This week, we take a close look at how Florida's offense ran from shotgun as opposed to under-center as well as how each team dealt with the pass rush, along with our normal player, scheme and by the numbers observations.
Linebacker Jelani Jenkins pulls down Missouri quarterback James Franklin in Florida's 14-7 win on Saturday.
* Quarterback Jeff Driskel had another so-so outing. He did some things well that he had struggled with in the past, most notably throwing the ball away rather than taking a sack. He did it very well on one play, heaving it well out of bounds on the right side while being dragged down. However, on another, he nearly threw an interception as he rolled to his right and threw the ball at a Missouri defender on the sidelines.
* Another area Driskel seems to be struggling in of late is allowing his player to make a play on his downfield throws. Florida went downfield back-to-back in the second quarter, but twice Driskel threw out of bounds -- once out the back of the end zone on a pass intended for Jordan Reed and then out of bounds on the left sideline on a pass intended for Omarius Hines. Driskel has to put those throws in play to give his receivers a chance to make a play or draw a flag.
* Running back Mike Gillislee ran stronger up the middle than he had in weeks, in large part due to Florida's return to the outside zone run. The outside zone runs have been his most effective plays up the middle, but Florida had gone away from them in recent weeks. The Gators ran several on Saturday, and Gillislee's numbers went up. More on that in By the Numbers below.
* Fullback Hunter Joyer continues to provide at least one block per game that opens up a huge run. On Omarius Hines' 36-yard touchdown run to the right side out of the Wildcat, Joyer drove his man all the way to the sidelines to open up the outside of the hole for Hines.
* Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries struggled early on in pass protection against Missouri but was bailed out a few times by Driskel getting the ball out quickly. On the first drive, his man hit Driskel after he had completed a short pass. However, Humphries improved significantly as the game wore on, able to keep his defender out of Driskel's face for most of the day.
* Florida's offensive guards struggled to stay engaged with Missouri's interior linemen, who frequently bumped them in the chest to create space when they realized a pass was coming. This allowed the defenders to disrupt a handful of Driskel's passes in the first half by batting them down at the line of scrimmage. Both Jon Harrison and Jon Halapio had trouble staying engaged, resulting directly in passes batted down.
* The Gators struggled to keep contain in the pocket on pass plays early in the game, splitting a bit too wide and leaving too many open holes for Missouri quarterback James Franklin to run through. Florida made a conscious effort to hold the line better in the second half, resulting in good pressure and less running lanes.
* Defensive end Jonathan Bullard had his best game of the year. He was a big part of the reason Florida was so successful with a four-man pass rush (numbers on that below). On one play, he recorded a sack on a three-man rush by bulldozing his man into the backfield, then breaking off the block sideways to tackle Franklin.
* Fellow true freshman Dante Fowler showed his best awareness in the run game all season. He was the most effective end recognizing the cutback runs up the middle out of a sweep motion into the backfield that Missouri ran all day. Those runs were very effective in the game, but Fowler completely neutralized them when they were run to his side.
* Linebacker Jon Bostic, aside from recording an interception by drifting in front of a pass in underneath coverage, had an average day. He missed three tackles and wasn't quite as instinctive as he had been in previous weeks. Florida also used him less off the blitz than it had in the previous month or so.
* Conversely, linebacker Jelani Jenkins was very effective off the blitz, and the Gators were able to get him free off the edge a handful of times. He worked his way in untouched on one play, forcing an intentional grounding call and helping knock Missouri out of field position.
* Cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy put together perhaps his best game in coverage of the season as a whole, though he was beat once down the left sideline and bailed out by an overthrown pass. He played the short slants extremely well, and aside from a missed tackle on a short hitch had a very productive game.
* Meanwhile, cornerback Marcus Roberson continues to look a step behind the speed he played at as a true freshman. He has been repeatedly beaten despite committing coverage penalties, including getting beat on a 12-yard pass near the right sideline despite getting called for holding on the play. At this point, he's a clear No. 3 at the cornerback position, behind Purifoy and Jaylen Watkins.
* Safety Pop Saunders had his best game of the year. He was very good in coverage in a game that put him on the field for an extended period of time. He broke up one pass near the goal line and had extremely good coverage on a low pass over the middle that he likely would have broken up had it been on target. He also tackled well in the back end.
* Punter Kyle Christy didn't look as good punting the ball as normal, with a few more line drives than he's accustomed to and one badly shanked ball off the right side of his foot near midfield. Still, he nailed Missouri inside the 5-yard line three times in the game, giving Florida the opportunity to get great field position a handful of times.
Formation and Scheme Notes
* Missouri ran more empty sets and multiple-receiver sets than any team Florida had seen all year. The Tigers ran a two-back set just once in the game on 88 plays the team lined up for.
* Florida ran an extra tackle on the field on nine out of 58 plays the team lined up for. The Gators had two extra tackles on the field for six of those nine plays, and the team averaged 8.0 yards per play on those, including a 36-yard touchdown run by Hines out of a Wildcat sweep that had an extra tackle to the play side.
* The Gators ran out of the Pistol formation twice in the game, once with Matt Jones early in the game and then a little later with Mike Gillislee. The team also ran only two Wildcat plays, but it averaged 22.0 yards per play with Burton taking the direct snap.
* Florida averaged 4.67 yards per play out of 21 personnel (two-back, one-tight-end sets) against Missouri, powering the ball on the ground with Hunter Joyer as a lead blocker. The team was more effective running up the middle than it had been in the last three games, more on that in By the Numbers below.
* The Gators lined up under center on 27 plays, while lining up in the shotgun on 28 plays. Florida ran on 85.2 percent of its under-center snaps, while passing on 71.4 percent of its snaps out of the shotgun. Of the eight runs out of the shotgun, two were out of the Pistol formation, one was out of the Wildcat and one was on a scramble on a called pass play.
* On 55 pass plays, Florida affected the quarterback 18 times. The Gators hurried the quarterback nine times and hit him nine times. The team had the most success pressuring with a four-man front.
* Florida rushed three on pass plays five times, recording one hurry and one hit on the quarterback. The Gators rushed four 40 times in the game, racking up five hurries and six hits on the quarterback. Florida also blitzed five 10 times, getting three hurries and two hits on the quarterback.
* Missouri had a good amount of success blitzing. The Tigers blitzed five men nine times and had two hurries and three hits on the quarterback. Missouri also blitzed six men twice and had one hit on the quarterback.
* Overall, though, Florida's offensive line did fairly well against Missouri's pass rush. The Tigers totaled just three hurries and five hits on the quarterback on 24 called pass plays. The Gators allowed just one hurry and one hit on 13 four-man rushes.
By the Numbers
* After its worst two weeks running the ball, Florida finally rebounded against Missouri. The Gators had averaged just 2.9 and 3.4 yards per carry against South Carolina and Georgia respectively before rushing for 5.4 against Missouri.
* The Gators averaged 1.4 yards after contact against Missouri, tied for the second-lowest total of the year. However, Florida rushed for more than 2.8 yards per carry up the middle for the first time in four games, averaging 3.8 yards on runs up the middle against the Tigers.
* Florida failed to complete a pass thrown more than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage for just the second time all year (previously LSU). The Gators only threw three passes more than 10 yards downfield, the second-fewest in a game all year (LSU, 2).
* Missouri ran the ball better against Florida than any team except Kentucky, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, which tied Texas A&M for the second-highest total this season (Kentucky averaged 5.0).
* The Tigers became the third straight team to rush for at least 4.0 yards per carry on runs up the middle at the Gators, hitting right at the 4.0 mark on Saturday. On the season, Florida has given up 3.7 yards per carry on runs up the middle.
* On the year, the Gators have given up 3.9 yards per carry in the run game (factoring out sacks and kneel-downs), while allowing opponents to average 1.6 yards per carry in the run game after initial contact.
* Florida had its best day of the year defending downfield passes, holding Missouri to 0-8 on passes thrown more than 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. The Gators have not given up a completion on a pass thrown that far downfield in the past three games, holding opponents to 0-19.
* On the season, teams are completing just 26.5 percent of their passes thrown more than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage against Florida.
* Teams have really slowed Driskel down in the running game the past three weeks. He has averaged just 4.6 yards per carry on 20 rushes after averaging 11.3 yards per carry through the first six games of the season.
* Gillislee had his best game running the football since the LSU game, rushing for 4.3 yards per carry on 16 touches. He averaged 1.4 yards per carry after initial contact.
* The senior running back also averaged more than 4.0 yards per carry on runs up the middle for just the third time this season -- and the first time since the Kentucky game. He finished the game averaging 4.8 yards per carry on runs up the middle, second only to his 5.0 yards per carry up the middle against Tennessee.
* Gillislee has been targeted in the passing game twice in each of the past four weeks after being targeted just twice in the first five games. He is averaging 15.4 yards after the reception, highlighting his effectiveness in the screen game.
* Jordan Reed leads the team in targets in the passing game with 43. Frankie Hammond Jr. is second with 31, while Quinton Dunbar is third with 28. Both Hammond and Dunbar have already passed their target totals from 2011 (26 and 24, respectively).
* Behind Gillislee, Hammond leads the team in yards after the catch, averaging 9.7 on 15 catches.
* Florida missed a season-high 13 tackles in the game against Missouri by GatorBait.net's count, with three of those missed tackles coming on special teams returns.
* According to GatorBait.net's tracking, Gillislee leads the team with 28 broken tackles. Driskel checks in at No. 2 with nine, while backup running back Matt Jones has three.
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