Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
<p>Quincy Wilson (6) stiff-arms a Missouri defender after intercepting a pass during Florida's 40-14 homecoming win over Missouri on Oct. 15, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.</p>

Quincy Wilson (6) stiff-arms a Missouri defender after intercepting a pass during Florida's 40-14 homecoming win over Missouri on Oct. 15, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Quincy Wilson knows where Florida stands in its quest to return to the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

And the junior cornerback said if the Gators sustain their stride from this weekend, they have the chance to make a return trip to Atlanta a reality.

With a 40-14 win over Missouri on Saturday, Florida is now 3-1 halfway through its conference slate. It is the No. 15 team in the country and in full control of the SEC East. And after Tennessee fell 49-10 to top-ranked Alabama, the Gators are the only team in the seven-team division with less than two losses in SEC play.

“We’re back on top,” Wilson said, “and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.”

But for UF to stay on top, it has to endure the grueling second half of its SEC schedule.

After its bye this week, Florida’s final four conference games are against Georgia in Jacksonville, No. 17 Arkansas in Fayetteville, South Carolina in Gainesville and No. 25 LSU in Baton Rouge.

Should Florida emerge from that stretch unscathed or with less conference losses than Tennessee (currently 2-2 in SEC play), the Gators will return to Atlanta for the SEC Championship for the second-straight season. It’s a feat Florida hasn’t accomplished since the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

“We can’t get complacent,” said sophomore running back Jordan Scarlett. “We can’t get comfortable. We’ve got to go out every game.”

That starts with getting more production out of the offense.

Even with 523 yards of offense on Saturday, the group manufactured just 19 of Florida’s 40 points. The rest came from a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns and an onside kick return for a touchdown from Antonio Callaway in the waning minutes of the game.

Luke Del Rio was erratic in his first start back from injury, completing 18 of his 38 pass attempts and throwing three interceptions within a span of eight passes in the middle of the game.

The offense was also penalized with eight false starts, including one on a two-point conversion attempt.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

“We did some really good things,” UF coach Jim McElwain said, “and then you shoot yourself in the foot. It’s hard to limp back.”

The defense, on the other hand, churned out another solid outing.

Florida held Missouri to 363 yards of offense, 160 of which came on its final two drives after the game was already out of reach. Quarterback Drew Lock, who led the SEC in passing yards heading into the game (336.5 yards/game), completed just four passes and was pulled from the game late in the fourth quarter. Florida’s defense had more total yards from interception returns (117) than Missouri had total passing yards (98).

“That just shows me and everybody else how much this team has matured,” defensive lineman CeCe Jefferson said, “and that we’re on a mission to wreck everything in our way.”

Of the Tigers’ 16 drives, nine ended in three and outs. Three ended in turnovers.

The Gators have an off week to work out the kinks before returning to action against Georgia, a team that has lost 17-16 to Vanderbilt on Saturday and three of its past four games.

Florida will evaluate its performance up to this point in the season and prepare for what’s to come.

“We’re a young team, but it’s part of growing up,” Del Rio said. “I think I need to do a better job at leading guys and maintaining positivity even when things do go wrong, and it’s not easy. But this is the reality of it.”

Contact Jordan McPherson at jmcpherson@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @J_McPherson1126.

Quincy Wilson (6) stiff-arms a Missouri defender after intercepting a pass during Florida's 40-14 homecoming win over Missouri on Oct. 15, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.