Interim Florida head coach Randy Shannon made numerous questionable decisions on fourth down against Missouri. Down 14-0 with 7:32 left in the second quarter Shannon opted out of going for a fourth-and-1 at the Missouri 21-yard line, and instead settled for an Eddy Pineiro 38-yard field goal.
“My mind-set was if we can get points, if we can come out and get points,” Shannon said. “I know we had the ball to start the second half so the score was 28-9, so if we come back and get seven points and that’s 16 and we’re within eight. It was all about points in the first half, trying to get points and the second half was an opportunity to come back.”
Shannon again sent out his field goal unit instead of attempting to convert a fourth-and-goal at the Missouri 4-yard line at the 7:40 mark of the third quarter down 28-6. Pineiro drilled the 21-yard field goal to cut the Missouri lead to 28-9. The play capped off a 14-play, 68-yard drive for the Gators.
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Florida’s only timeout used in the first half was with two seconds left in the second quarter to set up a Pineiro 36-yard field goal. All three second-half timeouts were burned in the third quarter by the offense; the first was used 45 seconds into the half.
“Didn’t want to lose yards,” Shannon said of the timeout. “It was a situation that was third-and-15 instead of third-and-9 and eventually we got a first down. It was all about keeping the yardage when we needed it.”
Quarterback Malik Zaire threw his arms up in confusion on the Missouri 6-yard line as Florida burned its second timeout as the play clock was again about to expire. The final time out was burned prior to a third-and-2 play with 5:11 left in the quarter.
INJURIES IN TRENCHES
A trio of linemen went down with injuries and did not return. Offensive lineman Brett Heggie’s left knee buckled while planting to make a block in the first quarter and immediately fell to the turf clutching his leg. Heggie remained down as the training staff tended to him and was taken off the field on a cart.
Fellow offensive lineman T.J. McCoy was injured in the fourth quarter with an apparant lower-body injury, and defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga also sustained a lower-body injury in the second quarter. Both walked off the field under their own power and neither were included in Shannon’s postgame injury report.
Florida committed 10 penalties for 74 yards, and perhaps the costliest one occurred late in the first half.
Zaire hit receiver Tyrie Cleveland in stride along the left sideline, who scored what would have been a 50-yard touchdown to make the score 28-9. Yet the play was wiped out thanks to a Martez Ivy holding call. Florida had to settle for a field goal on the drive.
“A couple killer penalties, and a couple of those guys were taken out of the game because it was all mental,” Shannon said. “Mental are illegal procedures like that, you have to get those guys out and play the next guy.”
A false-start penalty also pushed Florida from a third-and-goal at the Missouri 6-yard line to the 11, and again the Gators had to settle for a field goal.