The Florida Gators narrowly escaped with an upset win Saturday against the Missouri Tigers to keep their dreams of a BCS bowl and SEC Eastern Division crown alive.
The Tigers threatened to tie things up, driving to the Gators’ 21-yard line, but Josh Evans sealed the victory by intercepting James Franklin's fourth-down pass in the end zone with just five seconds remaining.
The Gator defense contained Franklin all day. The junior quarterback was intercepted four times and completed only 47 percent of his 51 passes.
Florida’s offense was underwhelming for most of the day, but it made plays when it had too.
The biggest play of the day by far was when Mike Gillislee took a screen pass and went 45 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
The Gators only racked up 276 total yards on offense against the Tigers. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel was only 12-of-23 for 106 yards and one touchdown and Gillislee was the teams leadings rusher with just 68 yards.
While ugly, the win keeps the Gators' dream of a BCS bowl and SEC division championship alive. Florida needs Georgia to lose one of its remaining games, against Mississippi or Auburn, to clinch a spot in the division’s title game. The two teams are tied atop the standings, but Georgia holds the head-to-head tie-breaker.
The road to the BCS crystal ball goes through the SEC—that much is obvious. Five of the Top 10 teams are from the SEC, and a victory in the championship game would surely land the winning team a spot in the 2013 BCS Championship Game on Jan. 7 in Miami.
The argument can be made that the better route for Florida would be to not win the SEC East. If the Gators do, it assures a date with Alabama—by far the best team in the nation.
If the Gators avoid that game and win against Florida State, they would almost surely land in the Sugar Bowl—the computers like them that much.
While where the Gators will ultimately end up is still uncertain, one thing has become inherently clear—the team needs to win Nov. 24 in Tallahassee against the Seminoles.