Lock burns No. 13 Florida again, Miz­zou wins 38-17 in Swamp

The Bradenton Herald (Sunday) - - Sports - BY MARK LONG

Florida’s lone bright spot af­ter an­other lop­sided loss to Mis­souri: It won’t have to face Drew Lock again.

Lock picked apart Florida’s de­fense for the sec­ond straight year, throw­ing three touch­down passes to lead the Tigers to a 38-17 vic­tory against the 13thranked Ga­tors on Satur­day

Lock com­pleted 24 of 32 pas- ses for 250 yards, with scor­ing throws to Al­bert Ok­wueg­bunam, Kam Scott and Emanuel Hall that stunned the Swamp. His best per­for­mance in league play this sea­son came a week af­ter a heartbreaking loss on the fi­nal play against Ken­tucky.

“These sit­u­a­tions a lot of time in sports mir­ror how your life can go,” said coach Barry Odom. “You’re go­ing to be faced with ad­ver­sity. You’re go­ing to be faced with hard times. This game was de­cided long be­fore the ball was kicked off.”

Lock, a se­nior and pro­jected first-round draft pick, was equally ef­fec­tive against Florida in a 45-16 vic­tory last year. He will head to the NFL with six touch­down passes and an in­ter­cep­tion in his fi­nal two games against the Ga­tors.

“This feels re­ally good,” Lock said. “It’s hard to put into words. It was a dif­fer­ent week for us. You kind of had that feel­ing there’s no way you lose that foot­ball game (to Ken­tucky). I think af­ter a loss like that, there’s no way you can go in and lose a game.

“There’s no way I can feel any worse than I did last Satur­day, so I wasn’t go­ing to let that hap­pen again. And none of these guys were go­ing to let that hap­pen. That was our mind­set

com­ing in this week.”

Florida also was hop­ing to re­bound af­ter a 36-17 loss to Ge­or­gia elim­i­nated it from con­tention in the SEC East. But the Ga­tors came out flat and didn’t find a spark un­til it was too late.

Coach Dan Mullen benched start­ing quar­ter­back Feleipe Franks late in the third quar­ter – the home crowd cheered wildly – and backup Kyle Trask promptly di­rected a 75yard touch­down drive in which he con­verted two fourth downs. Trask found Josh Ham­mond in the end zone on the sec­ond one for a 7-yard score that made it 35-17.

Af­ter the game, Mullen sounded like he would stick with Franks mov­ing for­ward.

“Ev­ery­body’s go­ing to have some good days and bad days,” Mullen said. “I’m cer­tainly not here point­ing the fin­ger that he was ter­ri­ble. And we didn’t pull him be­cause he was ter­ri­ble. We pulled him ’cause the of­fense wasn’t mov­ing and we wanted to see if some­body else could get it done and put Kyle put in, not be­cause of his in­di­vid­ual, per­sonal per­for­mance.”

Franks com­pleted 7 of 22 passes for 84 yards. Trask was 10 of 18 for 126 yards.

The Tigers (5-4, 1-4) led 21-10 at half­time and sealed their first SEC win in 2018 with three con­sec­u­tive scor­ing drives in the third quar­ter.

Mullen called the backto-back losses by a com­bined 40 points a “re­al­ity check.”

“It’s a lit­tle bit of a re­al­ity check of where we are with the guys,” Mullen said, point­ing to con­sec­u­tive wins against Mis­sis­sippi State and LSU. “If we come out and play re­ally well as a team in all three phases, we’re good enough to play with any­body out there. If we don’t, we’re not.”

THE TAKE­AWAY

Mis­souri: The Tigers beat Florida for the fourth time in the last six meet­ings, in­clud­ing twice on homecoming. All six have been blowouts, with Florida’s 21-3 vic­tory in 2015 be­ing the clos­est con­test. Florida: The Ga­tors opened a three-game home­s­tand with a dud and looked lost on both sides of the ball, end­ing with the worst loss in Mullen’s first year.

LOCK’S BEST

Lock showed why he’s con­sid­ered a top NFL tal­ent. His 41-yard throw to Hall down the side­line was per­fect, set­ting up a touch­down run in which Lock held the de­fen­sive end be­fore pitch­ing the ball. And his TD throw to Ok­wueg­bunam came af­ter a pre-snap read and ad­just­ment.

He’s been at his best against Florida. He com­pleted 15 of 20 passes for 228 yards and three TDs in last year’s rout.

He hadn’t been nearly as sharp against the SEC this sea­son, com­plet­ing 50 per­cent of his passes for 732 yards, with one touch­down and five in­ter­cep­tions against Ge­or­gia, South Carolina, Alabama and Ken­tucky. Get­ting Hall back was a big boost. He missed the last four games with hip and groin in­juries.

POLL IM­PLI­CA­TIONS

Florida could drop out of the Top 25 poll af­ter backto-back lop­sided losses to Ge­or­gia and Mis­souri.

UP NEXT

Mis­souri: Hosts Van­der­bilt with a chance to be­come bowl el­i­gi­ble. Florida: Con­tin­ues a three-game home stretch against South Carolina.

PHE­LAN M. EBENHACK AP

Florida tight end C’yon­tai Lewis is stopped for a loss by Mis­souri de­fen­sive line­men Wal­ter Pal­more (99) and Chris Turner dur­ing Satur­day’s sec­ond half in Gainesville, Fla.

Drew Lock

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