After its largest margin of victory in SEC play in more than two decades last weekend, No. 11 Florida will head to Columbia to take on a pretty good Missouri team on Saturday.
The Gators, at 8-2, are coming off a 56-0 home victory over Vanderbilt as they get ready for their final SEC contest of the year. Since a 5-1 start, Missouri has lost three straight contests, including 27-0 last week to Georgia.
Although he was not the opening day starter, Florida junior Kyle Trask has enjoyed a solid season with 22 total touchdowns compared to just six interceptions. Trask ranks behind only a pair of Heisman Trophy contenders in Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and LSU’s Joe Burrow when it comes to passer rating in the SEC.
Florida is averaging more than 33 points per game and has a nice group of skill players. Senior running back Lamical Perine is the workhorse for Florida with a team-leading 504 yards rushing. Tight end Kyle Pitts and receiver Freddie Swain lead a deep corps of pass catches. Both have five touchdown grabs on the year while Pitts leads the team with 530 yards receiving.
Defensively, Missouri and Florida rank second and third in the SEC, respectively, behind only Georgia. The Gators allow just 15 points per game while the Tigers give up just over 19 points per contest. Missouri doesn’t generate a lot of pressure, but still yields the fewest passing yards per contest in the SEC. Junior Kobie Whiteside leads the team with five sacks. Linebacker Nick Bolton leads the SEC with 82 total tackles while in the secondary, Cale Garrett has a team-high three interceptions.
Up front for Florida, Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga do an outstanding job of setting the edge for a team that leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally with 35 sacks. Senior linebacker David Reese is very good and leads the team with 77 total tackles. Cornerback C.J. Henderson is one of the nation’s best, but it’s Donovan Stiner who is tied for the SEC lead with four interceptions.
After missing last week’s loss to Georgia, quarterback Kelly Bryant is expected to be back under center this week for Missouri. The Clemson transfer has passed for nearly 1,900 yards and owns 15 total touchdowns to just five interceptions this season. Junior and leading rusher Larry Rountree III is questionable for Saturday and leads the team with 668 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. Jonathan Nance is the top receiver for Missouri while Tyler Badie is one of the SEC’s most versatile running backs.
The Tigers went into Gainesville last season and stunned Florida, 38-17. Missouri holds a 5-3 edge all-time over Florida and has won two straight in the series. Saturday’s contest in Columbia will begin at noon ET and air on CBS.
Prediction: Florida 24, Missouri 13
Alabama State (5-4) at Florida State (5-5)
Saturday, Nov. 16 at 12 p.m. ET (Raycom Sports Network)
After a thrilling win at Boston College last week, Florida State can become bowl-eligible with a victory over FCS Alabama State. The Seminoles have never lost to FCS competition.
Prediction: Florida State 52, Alabama State 10
No. 17 Cincinnati (8-1) at South Florida (4-5)
Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Cincinnati is the only team in American Athletic Conference play without a conference loss. The Bearcats can clinch the AAC’s East division on Saturday with a win over South Florida and a Temple loss to Tulane.
Prediction: Cincinnati 38, South Florida 19
Buffalo Bills (6-3) at Miami Dolphins (2-7)
Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
The Miami Dolphins have stunned a lot of people by winning two straight contests. Miami hung tough with the Buffalo Bills when the teams met in Orchard Park earlier this season.
Prediction: Buffalo 21, Miami 17
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) at Indianapolis Colts (5-4)
Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
If the Jacksonville Jaguars are to get back in the AFC South race, Sunday’s contest in Indianapolis is a must-win. Colts’ quarterback Jacoby Brissett is expecting to return this week after missing last week’s home loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Prediction: Indianapolis 19, Jacksonville 16
New Orleans Saints (7-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6)
Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended a 4-game losing streak last week with a comeback victory over the Arizona Cardinals. New Orleans lost to the NFC South bottom-feeder Atlanta Falcons and will try to avoid letting that happening again. The Saints put up 457 yards of offense in a 31-24 victory over Tampa Bay in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome earlier this season.
Prediction: New Orleans 33, Tampa Bay 24
Mike Ferguson is a contributor for The Grueling Truth, covering Florida sports and sports history. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. To keep up with all of his work, like his Facebook page.