Franks benched as Ga­tors go down to Tigers

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - College Football - BY ALANIS THAMES Mi­ami Her­ald Writer

Da­marea Crock­ett didn’t need much space.

The Mis­souri run­ning back took the hand­off from quar­ter­back Drew Lock and zipped past Florida’s de­fend­ers down the left side­line for a 24-yard gain. A cou­ple of plays later, he reached his des­ti­na­tion to cap a 78-yard sec­ond-quar­ter scor­ing drive that put his team up 21-3 over the No. 13 (No. 11 CFP) Florida Ga­tors.

The Tigers en­tered Satur­day’s game des­per­ate for an SEC vic­tory. No con­fer­ence wins through eight games this year — in­clud­ing a heart­break­ing loss to Ken­tucky on the last play of last week’s game — was all the fuel Mis­souri needed to take down Florida 38-17 at Ben Hill Grif­fin Sta­dium on Satur­day.

The Ga­tors had few an­swers for Mis­souri’s ef­fi­ciency.

Florida’s pass de­fense, which en­tered the game giv­ing up just 170.1 yards through the air, fell vic­tim to Lock’s ac­cu­rate arm.

He con­verted 24 of 32 passes and threw for 250 yards with three touch­downs.

The Tigers con­verted on third down 61 per­cent of the time with Lock at the helm, and they com­piled 471 yards on the day.

Florida, on the other hand, was un­able to take ad­van­tage of a Mis­souri pass de­fense that ranks 14th in the SEC. And it was largely due to a poor per­for­mance by quar­ter­back Feleipe Franks.

The red­shirt sopho­more was barely able to find or con­nect with open re­ceivers and fin­ished the game 9-for-22 pass­ing with 84 yards.

He was benched dur­ing the third quar­ter in fa­vor of red­shirt sopho­more Kyle Trask, who went 5 for 8 for 59 yards on his first drive. He marched the Ga­tors straight into the end zone on a 75-yard drive that in­cluded two fourth-down con­ver­sions — one was a slant pass to wide­out Trevon Grimes to set up a first-and-goal and the sec­ond was a pass to re­ceiver Josh Ham­mond in the end zone on fourth-and-goal.

Trask fin­ished with 118 yards on 10-of-18 pass­ing, but his ef­forts weren’t enough to keep the Ga­tors from suf­fer­ing their sec­ond straight loss.

Fur­ther­more, the way Lock and Mis­souri’s run­ning backs had their way against Florida’s de­fense was rem­i­nis­cent of the Tigers’ 45-16 rout of the Ga­tors a year ago — a game that saw Lock throw for 228 yards with three touch­downs and the Tigers amass 227 yards on the ground.

Satur­day, Crock­ett’s touch­down run was just one of three first-half scores for the Tigers. Busted cov­er­age in the sec­ond quar­ter by the Florida de­fense left Mis­souri tight end Al­bert Ok­wueg­bunam wide open for a 22-yard touch­down catch. No one dropped into cov­er­age to ac­count for the dan­ger­ous Mis­souri pass-catcher, and the Ga­tors were left scratch­ing their heads af­ter al­low­ing Ok­wueg­bunam to grab his sixth touch­down of the sea­son.

He did not play the sec­ond half be­cause ofa bruised right shoul­der.

But it proved no aid to a Ga­tors team that was out­played by Mis­souri from kick­off.

“It’s a harsh re­al­ity for us,” Ga­tors coach Dan Mullen said af­ter the game. “It’s a bit of a re­al­ity check of where we are.”

SAM GREEN­WOOD Getty Im­ages

The Tigers’ Tyler Badie car­ries the ball as Mis­souri topped Florida on Satur­day at Ben Hill Grif­fin Sta­dium.

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