Trask, stingy defense lead Florida over Missouri

Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney, right, is unable to catch a pass in the end zone as Missouri safety Ronnell Perkins defends during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Columbia, Mo. Florida won 23-6. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Kyle Trask threw two touchdown passes after a sluggish first half by No. 11 Florida and the Gators beat Missouri 23-6 on Saturday.

Trask completed 23 of 35 passes for 282 yards. That was plenty of offense for Florida (9-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference), which held Missouri to 204 total yards. Linebacker Jon Greenard spent most of the day in the Tigers’ backfield, finishing with two sacks and five tackles for loss.

The Tigers (5-5, 2-4) have lost four straight games and haven’t scored a touchdown in the last two.

Florida led 6-3 after a first half in which the teams combined for 10 punts. The Gators struggled up front offensively in the first half, allowing four sacks to a team that had only 14 sacks on the season entering the game. They gained just 29 yards on the ground before intermission and finished with 56 rushing yards.

It was a similar story for Missouri, which welcomed Kelly Bryant back at quarterback after he missed last week’s game at Georgia with a hamstring injury. Bryant repeatedly slipped out of the arms of blitzers to extend plays, but the Tigers struggled to put drives together without any help from its running game. Bryant completed 25 of 38 passes for 204 yards and one interception. Missouri’s only scores came on two Tucker McCann field goals.

The Gators finally got going in the third quarter when Trask connected with Josh Hammond for a 34-yard touchdown pass and hit Lamical Perine for a 15-yard TD. Van Jefferson finished with six catches for 82 yards, and Trevon Grimes had three catches for 66 yards.

BIG PICTURE

Florida: The Gators stayed in the hunt for a 10-win season, a New Year’s Six bowl berth for the second year in a row and an SEC East title if Georgia losses two more conference games. Second-year coach Dan Mullen is 19-5 at the school, putting Florida’s program on its firmest footing since the end of the Urban Meyer era in 2010.

Missouri: The Tigers had been two different teams this season based on the location of the game. Entering Saturday’s game, they averaged 40.4 points in five home victories and 13 points in four road losses. The performance against the Gators showed Missouri’s offense has bigger problems than location.

UP NEXT

Missouri: The Tigers will play Tennessee on Saturday in their home finale.

Florida: The Gators have a week off before finishing the regular season on Nov. 30 at home against Florida State.

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