GatorZone.com Senior Writer
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Florida's offensive struggles continued Saturday in a 36-17 road loss at unbeaten Missouri.
Redshirt freshman Maty Mauk, making the first start of his career, passed for 295 yards against the Southeastern Conference top-rated defense, placekicker Andrew Baggett tied a school record with five field goals and UF quarterback Tyler Murphy was punished and panicked all day as the 14th-ranked Tigers dominated the No. 22 Gators at Faurot Field.
In losing for the second straight week on the road, the Gators (4-3, 3-2) gained just 151 yards of total offense and now have scored just one touchdown the last two games. UF lost 17-6 last weekend at LSU, managing just two field goals.
Murphy was under siege the entire game, with the Gators mostly helpless in the running game (31 carries, 59 yards) and the offense providing no time in pass protection. Murphy finished 15 of 29 for 92 yards and an interception against a Missouri (7-0, 3-0) defense that was perpetual attack mode during the entire sun-splashed afternoon. Murphy was sacked six times and hit a bunch more.
Florida's best offensive output of the game came on a six-play, 70-yard drive that true freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor capped with a all-out effort 21-yard touchdown run, the first score of his career. Taylor finished with 74 yards on 12 carries. The rest of UF's rushing attack totaled 15 yards on 19 carries.
Mauk, meanwhile, completed 18 of his 36 throws, including a 20-yard touchdown on the game's second play from scrimmage. Mauk also had a 17-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
The foamer was a tone-setter for the day and came after Mauk hit wideout L'Damian Washington on the first play of the game for a 52-yard completion over true freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves. If that wasn't bad enough, UF safety Cody Riggs, who came with help on the play, was flagged for a "targeting" violation and ejected.
It was downhill from there, in Florida's first game ever in the Show Me State.
The Gators answered Mizzou's touchdown with a 23-yard field goal from Frankie Velez, thanks to a muffed punt by MU return man Marcus Murphy.
Baggett canceled out Velez's field goal with a 43-yard of his own. That score was set up after UF true freshman wideout Demarcus Robinson let a wide-open pass from Murphy skip through his arms and into the hands of MU cornerback Aarion Penton, who returned it seven yards to the UF 46.
The score was 13-3 at halftime, but UF's Solomon Patton started the second half with a 100-yard kickoff return that quickly made it a 13-10 game.
Undeterred, Mauk hit wideout Jimmie Hunt for a 52-yard completion on Mizzou's second offensive play of the half, and three plays later Josey scored on a 6-yard on third-and-5 to stake the lead back to 10.
Baggett's third field goal, a 39-yarder, pushed the margin to 23-10, but the Gators put together their best drive in two weeks: six plays, 70 yards, with Taylor dashing in from 21 yards out to make the score 23-17.
But Josey took off on a 50-yard run to set up field goal No. 4 from Baggett. His fifth came early in the fourth quarter.
If the game wasn't out of reach there, Murphy's fumble deep in his own territory did, with Mauk scoring his 17-yard run for a 36-17 lead with 6:30 to go.