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October 19, 2013

Instant Analysis: Florida drops second in a row

The slide continues, and No. 22 Florida will have an open week to think about it. The Gators (4-3, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) were more victim than opponent in a 36-17 loss to the No. 14 Missouri Tigers (7-0, 3-0 SEC). Instant Analysis takes a look.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk scrambled left, found a gaping hole in the Florida defense and gave the Tigers a three-score lead with 6:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. It capped off a strong day for Mauk in his first start. He threw for 295 yards, the highest total allowed by the Gators in nearly two years.

HE STOLE THE SHOW: Missouri defensive end Michael Sam was about as good as it gets, even if he did have the benefit of going up against Florida right tackle Tyler Moore for most of the day until Moore was benched. Sam made his home in the Gators' backfield and recorded three sacks. He now has nine on the season.

THE STAT DOESN'T LIE: Eventually, Will Muschamp is going to have to address just how putrid his offense is. The Gators' offense worked once Saturday, on a six-play, 70-yard drive that ended in a 20-yard touchdown run. Outside of that drive, the Gators ran 54 plays and averaged 1.5 yards per play. Quarterback Tyler Murphy was under pressure all day and managed just 92 yards through the air. Missouri finished the game with 500 yards of offense.

WHAT A PLAY: Solomon Patton remains the biggest bright spot on Florida's offense, but his biggest play Saturday came on special teams. Patton cut up the Missouri sideline and on a 100-yard kick return that gave the Gators their first touchdown since the Arkansas game. The brief spark to a lifeless team was followed by a Missouri touchdown to halt the momentum.

THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY: I might be able to copy and paste this one the remainder of the year. Florida's offensive line was atrocious and got completely outclassed for the second consecutive week. The Gators have devolved into one of the nation's worst pass-blocking teams, allowing six sacks and never letting the passing game get into a rhythm. With the exception of a random Kelvin Taylor surge in the third quarter, the run blocking wasn't much better.

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