Following three straight losses, the Gators are reeling. Florida has run into a brutal five game stretch in which they have already lost to top ranked Georgia and No.15 LSU, and now get No.9 Mizzou and No.4 FSU to finish the season. Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz has been outstanding this season for Billy Napier and a great performance by the signal caller may be Florida’s only chance Saturday night.
A three-year starter for the Badgers, Mertz struggled to finish his career in Madison throwing for just over four thousand yards and 21 interceptions in his final two seasons. However, since a slow start at Utah in which Mertz did all he could in a tough situation, the Overland Park, Kansas native has been outstanding for the Gators.
Through just ten games in 2023, Mertz has easily surpassed last season’s totals, throwing for 2,720 and 18 touchdowns. The part that has been vital in Florida’s success is the two interceptions. Mertz consistently struggled with protecting the ball at Wisconsin and his ability to do so with the Gators has allowed for immense improvement.
Missouri will be a tall task for Mertz and the Florida offense. The Tigers are allowing just over 20 points per game at home including a 36-7 victory over Tennessee last Saturday. However, in games against LSU and Kansas State, Will Rogers and Jayden Daniels threw for a combined 529 yards and six touchdowns.
The Gators come into this game as 11.5-point underdogs (odds via Caesars Sportsbook) and with a red-hot Mizzou team, it is tough to blame the odds makers. I think Mertz’s experience keeps the Gators within the spread, and his accuracy and decision-making wins them the game.
I see the Gators starting hot with an early touchdown to quiet the crowd and holding on for the shocking upset in Columbia. Give me Florida over Mizzou 30-27.