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Three takeaways at halftime as Florida trails Missouri by a field goal


Florida’s defense has been the story of the game so far despite the Gators trailing at halftime against Missouri, 6-9.

After horrible defensive performances against South Carolina and Samford from Florida, many expected the Southeastern Conference’s best running back, Tyler Badie, to run all over the Gators. That hasn’t been the case through two quarters of play, but Florida’s offense hasn’t done much either.

A fumble stalled the Gators’ first offensive drive and the team never really got things going until the final drive of the half. Emory Jones found Jacob Copeland for a 49-yard game but the clock reached 0:00 by the time he got out of bounds.

The defense has done its job and then some this week, so it’s up to offensive guru Dan Mullen to turn things around after the half.

The defense has a plan for Tyler Badie

Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

No one could have predicted it with the way Florida’s defense has played the past two weeks, but the Gators are shutting down the conference’s best running back through one half of play against Missouri. Tyler Badie has just 19 yards on eight carries at halftime.

Badie leads the SEC in rushing yards and is second in the conference in rushing touchdowns. Many expected him to run over the Gators’ porous defense after seeing Samford put up 52 points a week ago, but Badie has not had much luck.

Florida has a ton of problems still on defense, but finally stopping the run is a great sign for the future of Gator football.

Getting the ball to Jacob Copeland is a priority this week

Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

Florida’s expected top receiver Jacob Copeland hasn’t seen the volume of targets he thought he would this year with the Gators running the ball more often and the emergence of Justin Shorter. Five of Emory Jones’ seven first-quarter passes were thrown in Copeland’s direction, marking a turnaround in his production.

Copeland brought in the first three passes that came his way for a combined 33 yards, but he couldn’t bring the next three in. Jones found Copeland again later in the second quarter for a first down, but No. 1 came up lame on the play. A replay revealed a hit to his knee as the culprit, but Copeland managed to pop up and limp off the field.

He returned for the final play of the half where Jones found him on a short pass that Copeland took for 49 yards as time expired. Close, but no cigar just yet for the wideout.

This isn’t going to be the high scoring game everyone expected

Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

Both of these teams came into the game with poor defensive reputations, but the score at halftime is anything but the shootout many expected it to be. Neither running game has gotten things going the way they are used to, and no one has reached the end zone yet.

A fumble stalled Florida’s first drive, and then a good punt pinned the Gators on the next one. From there, Florida couldn’t get much going aside from a last-minute 49-yard pass before halftime.

Penalties stalled a few drives for the Gators, and it looks like this one could be decided by a mistake or two.

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